Intel Sandy Bridge desktop reviews preview

An early glimpse at our test results for Sandy Bridge-equipped gaming desktops.

We're still cranking away on the performance testing on a handful of desktops using Intel's new Sandy Bridge chips. Look for the full reviews next week, but in the meantime, we thought we'd share our CineBench 11 scores for a few systems, given that's what Intel used today in its own press conference demo .

The charts below feature five recent performance gaming desktops. The Maingear F131 and the Digital Storm Special Ops systems both use older, overclocked Intel Core i7 950 CPUs. The Falcon Northwest Mach V and the Origin Genesis all use new Sandy Bridge Core i7 2600K chips, all overclocked from 3.4GHz to 4.6GHz and 4.7GHz, respectively. The Maingear Vybe uses a Sandy Bridge Core i5 2500K overclocked from 3.3GHz to 4.7GHz. Expect to see the occasional overclocked Sandy Bridge chip hit 5.0GHz or higher. Full specs for each system are listed at the end of this post.

Cinebench 11
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  

What we found most interesting about these charts is the fact that the Falcon Northwest and Origin systems use the same chip Core i7 2600K with the same overclock settings, but the Falcon system costs $5,000, while the Origin only comes in at $2,499. The Falcon has more to offer in terms of graphics performance because it has two graphics cards to the Origin's one (which will play out in our gaming test), but in terms of multicore performance the two are basically identical.

Equally interesting, the Maingear Vybe system, which costs $1,899, comes with the Sandy Bridge Core i5 2500K chip overclocked to 4.6GHz, and posts the same performance as a $2,499 Maingear F131 using the older Core i7 CPU (the F131 and Digital Storm systems both offer Sandy Bridge CPUs now, of course, but we refer to these older reviews scores for comparison with old chips and price points). That's a truly impressive price-performance gain.

We'll have more commentary on the chip performance and our recommendations on the various systems once we wrap up the reviews, but the short of it is that both through its price and its overclockability, the new Intel Sandy Bridge Core i7 and Core i5 CPUs do indeed seem to offer multithreaded performance gains over the older Core i7s. As much as we're excited to see the full performance picture at the high-end, though, we're also eager to see how Sandy Bridge impacts mainstream and even budget PCs. If Intel's promises of gaming and HD video sans discrete graphics card are fulfilled, we can expect to see some surprisingly powerful and affordable computers hit the market in the coming months.

System specs

Digital Storm Special Ops
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 3.07GHz Intel Core i7 950; 6GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; (2)1GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 graphics cards; 80GB Corsair Drive Force solid-state hard drive; 1TB 7,200rpm Western Digital Caviar Black hard drive

Falcon Northwest Mach V (Intel Core i7 2600K)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 4.6GHz Intel Core i7 2600K (overclocked); 16GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; (2)1.5GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 graphics cards; 128GB solid-state hard drive; 1TB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive

Maingear F131Maingear F131
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit; 3.87GHz (overclocked) Intel Core i7 960; 6GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; (2) 1GB ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics cards; 80GB Intel X25-M solid-state hard drive; 1.5TB 5,400rpm Western Digital hard drive

Origin Genesis (Intel Core i7 2600K)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 4.7GHz Intel Core i7 2600K (overclocked); 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1.5GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 graphics card (overclocked); 80GB solid-state hard drive; 1TB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive

Maingear Vybe (Intel Core i5 2500K)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 4.6GHz Intel Core i5 2500K (overclocked); 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; (2)1.5GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 graphics cards; 64GB solid-state hard drive; 1TB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
Tech industry's high-flying 2014
Uber's tumultuous ups and downs in 2014 (pictures)
The best and worst quotes of 2014 (pictures)
A roomy range from LG (pictures)
This plain GE range has all of the essentials (pictures)
Sony's 'Interview' heard 'round the world (pictures)