by   April 12 2012   
Here's a simple guide that will show you how to compare processors of the same class. If you have not used the Intel site before this might seem a bit overwhelming but once you start reading and understanding how to use the Intel website for information you'll be telling your friends. That's if you didn't already know.

Let's browse on over to Intel and do some comparisons on CPUs.

Let's browse on over to Intel and do some comparisons on CPUs.

Starting off easy and staying within our budget we want to look at i5 and i7 core 2nd Generation processors.

The i5 Core offers 2 processors in our group.

2g-ci5_78x59.pngIntel® Boxed Core i5-2400 6M Cache 3.10Ghz FC-LGA10

      • 4 cores 4 threads
      • 3.40 Ghz Max Turbo Power Boost
      • 95 watt
      • Price range: $190.00 (Suggested)

 

2g-ci5_78x59.pngIntel Boxed Core i5-2500 6M Cache, 3.30Ghz FC-LGA10

      • 4 cores 4 threads
      • 3.70 Ghz Max Turbo Power Boost
      • 95 watt
      • Price range: 195.00 (Suggested)

You can use the compare to see the slight differences. Compare Link.

Here's the starting point link for the above processors: i5 Starting Link.

When you compare the two CPUs you might not notice much of a difference. And the old Hyper Threading Technology is not included with these. I have to post my findings which were back around the 2002 mark when I tested P4 hyper threading with non hyper threading Xeon processors. It was interesting to see the systems ran better without the threading. But that's for another post.

Basically the two processors are designed the same with only processing frequency differences. So now that we have the basics let’s take a look at both of these in a little more detail. Look at the bottom for the more details link on the Intel page.

This should take you to the marketing pages so we have one more link to see full detailed specifications.

Now this is the page I normally start from but I thought we needed to get an idea of prices before this. THe Intel (registered trademark) Core i5-2500 Processor details page.

Now that we know a few things about the processors listed above let's look to see if they will offer just what we need for our new custom built desktop.

Don't focus on the Max Turbo Frequency look at the cores that match threads and the DMI.

Next we need to see how much memory the processor can handle. Many think it's a board issue which it is also but we need to see the maximum amount of memory we can install with this CPU so we get the correct motherboard later in our buying guide.

Memory channels will match with our memory. We see DDR2 and DDR3 which basically matches the 2 channel and 3 channel CPUs. Bandwidth of the memory is also important to match. In this case we are looking at 21GB/s. ECC is not supported and I'll get into what that does in the workstation and server builds.

Now, because we are building a desktop for normal computing we will end up saving money by using onboard graphics. This processor supports HD Graphics, video sync, 3D and dual displays. This information helps when we start looking at motherboards.

PCI Express versions are just as important so we have options of upgrades. The number of slots or ports.

Now, for those that live in the colder regions the following information might not be needed but because most of the equipment we run has internal air temps of 92 and exhaust of 98 to 120 we need to make sure our max temp ratings can fall into our zone of no more than 160 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll see listings in Celsius only which needs to be multiplied by 2.2 to match Fahrenheit. In this case 72.6 or 73x2.2 = 160.6 which will work just fine when the AC goes out and all you have is a fan in the room in mid-July. The temps are max and are very good listings. It doesn't take long for a CPU to fail due to heat. A fan may fail, the cat might crawl inside the case etc. The idea is to have something that could handle more heat than the rooms max temp plus 20. I have tested many laptops in the real world field environments and only found a few that can handle 8 hour days in a hot car. I've measured 140's on the keyboard and 160's from exhaust ports without failure on a couple of laptops. (Not i5 cores but I will test this summer again.)

The socket is the pin pattern so all motherboards will list LGA1155 that work with this CPU.

Now for the fun stuff. The Advanced Technologies. This is very important and if you are a "K" buyer you might notice many of the advanced features are not available. This is what I mean by thinking ahead to what you really want your computer to do. Over clocking is a sport like car racing, you might build and build then one day burn it up. I like to see things last rather than burn up and I know some of the advanced features really help when you start using your computer for more than speed tests.

THe vPro technology needs to be matched with other components and I'll get into that. I see it as a networked office computer option but for most it's not going to be used.

Virtualization Technology is going to be used by everyone very soon. It offers some great advantages when you need to run multiple desktops on one computer.

You can see from the list that only Hyper threading was not built into the unit.

Now let's look at the i5-2400 Processor for a minute.

Everything seems to be about the same. Now let's drill down and really look at the processor line. So far we have been reading the general overview of the i5-2500 and i5-2400.

i5-2400 Processor i5-2500 Processor

When you visit the page look in the right corner for Add to Compare. This is going to come in very handy when we start looking at different classes of processors and matching motherboards. Go ahead and add the compare.

Click on the Compare Now. Here's where you can become even geekier than your kids or your neighbors kids. If you look up the code name you can actually find the develops team blogs or profiles. Then you get an idea of the engineers that are behind this complicated mess. I mean these great products.

The first things I look for after the team is the launched date. I know if it was last month I should wait and these are Q1-2011 so I'm good to go research and development has been paid.

Embedded Options should be the first thing other than CPU Frequency differences. I'll skip the embedded options section but will say if you have special applications like medical imaging systems that use embedded applications it's good to know.

Now that we see it's only a price difference I'll tell you know I run the i5-2500 core on the matching DZ68DB motherboard with a few other technologies and it's fast enough to do a serious workload. But that's my design, this is yours. If we need to budget the difference in CPU power may not be enough to make a difference and the savings (if any) will help purchase other components.

Ok, I'm glad you made it this far. It's not easy selecting a processor and it's only going to get tougher when I mix in the i7 core and Xeon processors (E family). But now that you know what we are looking for you can select matching memory and motherboards better.

It is the reverse from years ago when we started at the motherboard and then matched everything to that. Today if you did that I would bet you end up with an i7 Extreme board which is about 1/6th the price of the CPU you will need on it. This is building a computer on a budget but not a discount budget.

 

 

Here's a simple guide that will show you how to compare processors of the same class. If you have not used the Intel site before this might seem a bit overwhelming but once you start reading and understanding how to use the Intel website for information you'll be telling your friends. That's if you didn't already know.