Intel Core i5 750

A mainstream monster in every department

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Intel Core i5 750
By  Jason Saundalkar Published  October 6, 2009

Ratings Breakdown

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Key Specs

Cache memory: 256KB L1, 1MB L2, 8MB L3
Clock speed: 2.67GHz
Number of cores: 4
Power consumption: 95-Watts
Price: $199

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CPUs based on Intel's now 10-month old ‘Nehalem' architecture have thus far targeted high-performance users and enthusiasts who wanted top speed regardless of cost. As a result mainstream or even high-end, cash-strapped buyers have thus far been forced to either rely on Intel's older Core 2 processors or AMD's potent Phenom II lineup. With the launch of its ‘Lynnfield' Core i5 and Core i7 processors, Intel is targeting buyers in the mainstream market.

At the time of going to press Intel had launched three Lynnfield chips; the Core i7 870, Core i7 860 and the Core i5 750. These CPUs are essentially lower cost Nehalem processors and while this new line also features two CPUs with ‘Core i7' branding, there are differences between these newer chips and the existing, top-end Core i7 ‘Bloomfield' processors.

Lynnfield chips pack a dual-channel DDR3 memory controller (rather than a triple channel controller), feature an integrated PCI-Express graphics controller and are equipped with a Direct Media Interface, which enables the chip to interface with the motherboard's chipset. These new processors also boast improved ‘Turbo Boost' technology, which enables individual CPU cores to run overclocked under certain conditions.

The new Lynnfield Core i7 chips can be distinguished from their higher-end Bloomfield counterparts via their model numbers; whereas Lynnfield Core i7 chips feature the 800 modeling scheme (860, 870 etc), the higher-end Bloomfield Core i7 models feature a 900 numbering scheme (920, 940 etc).

Beyond the model number differences the newer Lynnfield chips also feature a different CPU socket, known as LGA 1156, and require a motherboard featuring the Intel P55 Express chipset. This means the newer Lynnfield chips are not compatible with the vast number of existing LGA 1366 socket-based Intel X58 boards. Similarly, Core i7 LGA 1366 processors are not compatible with the LGA 1156 boards and Intel P55 Express chipset. LGA 1156 is also poised to be the socket used by the forthcoming, lower cost Core i3 processors.

At a cost of US $199 the Core i5 750 competes with the Phenom II X4 955 (3.2GHz) and in our benchmarks, the i5 750 just blazed past AMD's chip. Running our gaming benchmarks the Core CPU returned figures of 307.8fps and 79fps in StreetFighter IV and World in Conflict. Despite having a clock advantage the Phenom II managed only 275.7fps and 58fps. Intel's own Bloomfield Core i7 920 CPU by comparison scored 310.4fps and 73fps in the same benchmarks, which makes the Core i5 750 amazing value for money.

In terms of application performance the i5 750 impressed us again as it needed 23-, 41- and 132-seconds to complete our MPEG to DivX encode, TMPGenc encode and LAME wave to MP3 conversion tests. The Phenom II 955 was slower here again requiring 27-, 39- and 163-seconds respectively. In our heavily threaded Cinebench 10 bechmark the Core i5 returned very strong results again, as it managed a multi-CPU benchmark score of 11,616 to the Phenom II's 10,430. All-in-all Intel's Core i5 750 offers superb performance at an attractive price in the mainstream segment.

For: Exceptional performance for the price, overclocks very well, Turbo Boost really works.
Against:

Not compatible with existing LGA 1366 boards, needs a new heatsink.

Verdict:

Excellent performance, great overclocking potential and an aggressive price make the Core i5 750 the best mainstream processors we’ve ever tested. Don’t even consider anything else.

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