TAIPEI: INTEL ANNOUNCED an update to its 5th generation Core family of chips at Computex earlier this week, adding 10 more powerful processors with Iris Pro graphics to the line-up to increase performance in high-end systems.
The updated Core family, previously codenamed Broadwell-H, consists of offerings for desktop and mobile and is based on the same 14nm architecture as the 5th-gen Core family announced at CES in January, codenamed Broadwell-U.
They were originally intended for mobile systems such as mid- to high-performing laptops, but have been scaled up for desktops thanks to an upgrade from 15W Intel HD graphics 6000 to 47W Iris Pro graphics 6200, which Intel claims offers double compute and 3D gaming performance over the 15W Intel HD graphics.
The new Core processors also have a 65W TDP to enable sleeker all-in-one and mini PC designs, as well as a socket scalable with 4th-gen Haswell processors.
However, because the chips were initially intended for mobile systems over desktop, this has been met with criticism from enthusiasts since the announcement on Tuesday.
How can a processor that was intended for lower-spec systems be tweaked with upgraded VRAM to deal with the demands of higher end desktop systems, such as those made for gaming?
Well, we got some hands-on benchmarking time with the desktop version of the processor to find out, sampling it with some of the latest PC games.
The processor we benchmarked was the Core i7 5775C, running four cores with eight threads at 3.3GHz on Windows 8 64-bit, with the help of integrated Intel Pro Graphics 6200.
We ran four popular PC games through 3DMark 11, each demanding varying levels of compute from the system.
These benchmarks consisted of graphics, physics and combined scores of the following games: Ice Storm, which is aimed at low-cost smartphone and tablet gamers; Cloud Gate, aimed at basic notebooks and home PCs; Sky Diver, for gaming laptops and mid-range PCs; and Fire Strike, for high-performing gaming PCs.
The 3DMark scores with the Broadwell-H Core i7 CPU were as follows:
Ice Storm: 105,716
Cloud Gate: 12,920
Sky Diver: 6,646
Fire Strike: 1,702
These scores are double those with the previous Core i7-5650U with Intel HD graphics 6000, and sometimes almost triple across the field.
By comparison, the previous 5th-gen Core i7 Broadwell-U, scored:
Ice Storm: 39,175
Cloud Gate: 5,003
Sky Diver: 2,262
Fire Strike: 951
We also ran a general Cinebench R15 test and the processor scored 765, over half the score of Intel's server chip, the Xeon X5650 CPU, which has six cores and 12 threads and scored 1,279. That's quite impressive, even if the Xeon is four years old.
As you can see, the firm's promise that the updated chips deliver "smoother gaming experiences at double the performance" rings true.
The Core i5 chips with Iris Pro 6200 graphics prices start at $244 with four cores and four threads, while Core i7 prices start at $348 with four cores and eight threads. µ
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