The Promise of HD Graphics - Intel Core i5-661

Test Setup

Test Setup

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):

  • 2 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1333 (CAS 7-7-7-20)
  • Zotac GeForce GTX 260 (ForceWare 178.24)
  • Seagate 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive (one single NTFS partition)
  • Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2

Intel Core i5 (Clarkdale) Test Configuration

  • Intel Core i5-661 processor
  • 2 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1066 (CAS 7-7-7-20)
  • Intel DH55TC (Intel H55 Express chipset)
  • Intel INF and Intel Rapid Storage Technology

Intel Core i5/i7 (Lynnfield) Test Configuration

  • Intel Core i5-750 and Core i7-860 processors
  • Intel DP55KG (Intel P55 Express chipset)
  • Intel INF and Matrix Storage Manager

Intel Core i7 Test Configuration

  • Intel Core i7-920 processor
  • Gigabyte X58 Extreme (Intel X58 Express chipset)
  • Intel INF and Matrix Storage Manager

Intel Core 2 (LGA775) Test Configuration

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 and Core 2 Quad Q9550 processors
  • ASUS P5E3 Deluxe (Intel X38 Express chipset)
  • Intel INF and Matrix Storage Manager

AMD Phenom II X4 Test Configuration

  • AMD Phenom II X4 965 processor
  • MSI 790FX-GD70 (AMD 790FX + SB750


The following benchmarks were used in this review:

  • BAPCo SYSmark 2007 Preview (ver 1.05)
  • Futuremark PCMark 2005 Pro
  • Lightwave 3D 7.5
  • 3ds Max8 (SP2)
  • Cinebench 10
  • XMpeg 5.03 (DivX 6.8 encoding)
  • Futuremark 3DMark06 v1.1
  • AquaMark3
  • World in Conflict v1.05
  • Crysis v1.1

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