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Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge CPU E-mail
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Written by Hank Tolman   
Monday, 03 January 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge CPU
Features and Specifications
Closer Look: Core i5-2500K
CPU Testing and Results
AIDA64 Benchmark Tests
Passmark PerformanceTest
PCMark Vantage Benchmark Tests
SiSoftware Sandra Tests
Cinebench R11.5 Benchmarks
Street Fighter IV Benchmark
x264Bench HD 3.0 Test
Sandy Bridge Final Thoughts
Intel Core i5-2500K Conclusion

AIDA64 Extreme Edition Benchmark Tests

In November, 2010, FinalWire acquired and discontinued Lavalys EVEREST, updated it, and released it as AIDA64. AIDA64 is an industry leading system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiasts PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. During system optimizations and tweaking it provides essential system and overclock information, advanced hardware monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to check the effects of the applied settings. CPU, FPU and memory benchmarks are available to measure the actual system performance and compare it to previous states or other systems. Furthermore, complete software, operating system and security information makes AIDA64 a comprehensive system diagnostics tool that offers a total of 100 pages of information about your PC.

All of the benchmarks used in our test bed rely on basic x86 instructions and consume very low system memory while also being aware of HyperThreading, multi-processors, and multi-core processors. While the AIDA64 CPU tests really only compare the processor performance more than it measures platforms, it still offers a glimpse into what kind of power each platform possesses.

Queen and Photoworxx tests are synthetic benchmarks that operate the function many times and over-exaggerate by several magnitudes what the real-world performance would be like. The Queen benchmark focuses on the branch prediction capabilities and misprediction penalties of the CPU. It does this by finding possible solutions to the classic queen problem on a chessboard. At the same clock speed theoretically the processor with the shorter pipeline and smaller misprediction penalties will attain higher benchmark scores.


The Intel Core i5-2500K comes out swinging in our AIDA64 Queen Test suite, topping the charts. Not only does the show a 22% better performance than the similarly priced AMD Phenom-II X4-975BE, but it also narrowly edges out the aging Core i7-920 Nehalem processor. The gains over the i7-920 are only just over 1%, so it's ok to say that the two are on par here.

Like the Queen benchmark, the Photoworxx tests for penalties against pipeline architecture. The synthetic Photoworxx benchmark stresses the integer arithmetic and multiplication execution units of the CPU and also the memory subsystem. Due to the fact that this test performs high memory read/write traffic, it cannot effectively scale in situations where more than two processing threads are used. The AIDA64 Photoworxx benchmark performs the following tasks on a very large RGB image:

  • Fill
  • Flip
  • Rotate90R (rotate 90 degrees CW)
  • Rotate90L (rotate 90 degrees CCW)
  • Random (fill the image with random colored pixels)
  • RGB2BW (color to black & white conversion)
  • Difference
  • Crop

I have noticed over time that the Photoworxx test, unlike most of the other AIDA64 tests, depends a lot on the L3 cache. As you can see from the AMD CPU results, the CPUs without an L3 cache perform worse than those with an L3 cache. Still, while pulling ahead strongly in the Queen tests, the Core i5-2500K falls behind here in the Photoworxx tests. Seeing as how Intel is marketing the Sandy Bridge lineup as media-centric, a lack of performance here is disappointing. The Core i5-2500K falls behind the i7-920 by over 34.5% and behind the Phenom-II X4-975BE by almost 9%.

The Zip Library test measures combined CPU and memory subsystem performance through the public ZLib compression library. ZLib is designed as a free lossless data compression library for use on virtually any computer hardware and operating system. The ZLib data format is itself portable across platforms and has a footprint independent of input data that can be reduced at some cost in compression.


Compression is an area in which newer Intel CPUs have been benefitting from new design techniques. Although AES has been the major boost, zip functions have been improved as well. We can see this clearly from the results as the Core i5-2500K beats the Phenom-II X4-975BE by about 5% and the i7-920 by about 8%.

The AES integer benchmark measures CPU performance using AES data encryption. It utilizes Vincent Rijmen, Antoon Bosselaers and Paulo Barreto's public domain C code in ECB mode and consumes 48 MB of memory.


While I normally like to put both of the Everest integer performance tests on one graph, the Core i5-2500K made that impossible this time. With the new Sandy Bridge and Clarkdale/Arrandale series of processors, Intel made some major changes to the way their CPUs handle AES compression. This new processing is a boon to webmasters everywhere, as well as anyone who deals with compressed files on a regular basis. With that in mind, the Core i5 processor completely destroys the competition in the AES test, boasting gains of 281% over the Phenom-II X4-975BE and 339% over the i7-920.


The floating point tests show us a very strong performance from the Core i5-2500K as well. All three tests, the 32-bit, 64-bit, and 128-bit keep almost exactly the same level of increase over the i7-920, lending validity to the tests. All three floating point numbers are increased between 21% and 23% when using the new Sandy Bridge CPU over the i7-920. Similar gains are seen when compared to the Phenom-II X4-975BE, with 24% gains in the 32-bit Julia tests and 19% gains in the 64-bit Mandel tests. When moving into the 128-bit floating point SinJulia tests, the Core i5-2500K realizes a 100% gain in performance over the Phenom-II X4-975BE.



# GamerKyle 2011-01-06 20:39
I agree with the that every new line of processors comes with new motherboards. To me this is quite silly and I wish that they would not do as such. It is also a fault when Intel is placing quite the restriction on overclocking even with the K models.

Either way I am most likely going to get the i5 2500k since it is very strong. Also the price is rather cheap at $211 when currently the i5 750 is $200 and the i5 760 is about $209 dollars. Since I did not upgrade following the first i series I would need to get a new motherboard anyway.Integrated graphics means little to me since as a gamer I would get a higher end GPU regardless. I just have to make sure the motherboard is p67 not H67 for overclocking and such.

Anyway nice read, thanks for the article.
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# MrJMG 2011-02-23 14:57
If the p67 motherboards do not use the GPU on these new chips does that mean the GPU potential goes to waste I.e. If it were to make use of it, then in a standard system would you have, in effect, two graphics cards (with the intel HD GPU plus whatever other dedicated graphics card you use working together)?
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# RE: MrOlin Coles 2011-02-23 15:12
Only H67-Express motherboards can utilize Sandy Bridge integrated graphics, because only those motherboards have the DVI/D-SUB/HDMI output ports built-in. NVIDIA is already working with Intel on this very solution. Using Optimus technology, paired with Lucid Logic 'GPU Virtualization' software (yet unannounced), the Sandy Bridge CPU will be able to enable QuickSync + GPU.
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# mrzikkun 2012-03-24 11:35
nahh. actually h61 also have dvi, hdmi ports, dont know about d-sub(need it?). so actually use h61 and run this cpu is could be cheap, than buy a h67 or whatever that expensive twice
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