Performance and Overclockability

I have pretty much made the case already but it bears repeating: the default performance of the new Core i7-875K and Core i5-655K fall right in line with the competing parts currently existing in Intel’s own product lineup. The Lynnfield and Clarkdale cores continue to show why Intel is dominate in the consumer market

Obviously the big new feature here is that the K-series of parts are now fully unlocked for overclocking. That means users will be able to easily adjust not only the base clock but also the multipliers for the core frequency and Turbo Modes (both UP and down!) in addition to changing the memory controller multiplier and increasing voltages. And while we did our first tests with Intel’s DP55KG motherboard, and we have some great success, motherboard vendors like ASUS and MSI have already started integrating identical features in to previous P55 BIOS to support these new chips.

Pricing and Availability

Pricing is another big positive for consumers regarding these two new processors. With the Core i7-875 priced to sell at only $342, it’s a relative steal compared to the currently selling Core i7-860 ($284) and Core i7-870 ($500+). How long that price gap will remain is in question but it looks like enthusiasts are going to be getting the better deal by looking for that part when they are released. The Core i5-655K will run you $216, in the range for other Clarkdale parts but this is likely the only one that will reach 4.8 GHz this easily. 

While it is a valid discussion to debate a dual-core processor at this price, other existing Core i5 Clarkdale CPUs are already selling for upwards of $300.  In terms of the lowest cost options, there is little to change the advantages AMD has there with the Phenom II X2 and Athlon II X2 lineup.

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The only problem is that you are going to have to wait a while for these processors – they aren’t going to be available until sometime in June but Intel wanted to get a preview of the new features and performance before Computex started next week in Taipei (which we are covering of course).

Price/Performance Metrics

Now that you know where the two new processors fit in terms of cost, who do they compare in that all important cost-to-performance metric?

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While neither the Core i7-875K or the i5-655K break any new records in our table they both do very well.  You will notice that the Core i7-875K is a HUGE jump over the Core i7-870 (12.15 in POV-Ray versus 7.17) thanks to the much lower price of the K-series part over the current i7-870 in the channel. 

Closing Thoughts

Intel is coming out swinging again at what some considered AMD’s last standing enthusiast market base with the release of low-cost completely unlocked Core i5/i7 processors. They are obviously aimed at the “Black Edition” parts that AMD has been touting for a couple of years and the question is whether overclockers will flock to the new K-series parts. Based on my novice overclocking abilities and the ability to hit 4.8 GHz on pretty standard air cooling, it’s hard not see the migration happen.

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Intel Core i5-655K Processors


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