The Clarkdale Core i5-661 is the first dual-core processor from Intel's 32nm Westmere version of the Nehalem architecture that we have encountered and hence, we can only compare it to older dual-cores like the Core 2 Duo E8500 (3.16GHz) and recent, Lynnfield quad-cores like the Core i5-750. Since the Core i5-750 is retailing for around US$195, it would be a direct competitor if one excludes the integrated graphics on the 661. We have also thrown in scores from the Core i7-860, since it represents the next step up for the Lynnfield family of processors.
For the comparison, we have added in an quad-core, the Core 2 Quad Q9550 and the slowest Nehalem Core i7, the Core i7-920. From AMD, we have the fastest Phenom II currently, the Phenom II X4 965 'Black Edition', which at US$185 is also in the same price region as the i5-661. As we are concerned with the raw processor performance at the moment, we will be using the Core i5-661 with a discrete graphics card. There will be a section later in the review if you're only interested in the integrated graphics performance.
We have quite a few different platforms in our benchmarks but common to all are the following components (exceptions will be listed for each test setup):
Intel Core i5 (Clarkdale) Test Configuration
Intel Core i5/i7 (Lynnfield) Test Configuration
Intel Core i7 Test Configuration
Intel Core 2 (LGA775) Test Configuration
AMD Phenom II X4 Test Configuration
The following benchmarks were used in this review: