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Friday, January 7, 2011

Efficiency Comparison between Sandy Bridge vs Intel And AMD CPUs

Efficiency Comparison between Sandy Bridge vs Intel And AMD CPUs

The second-generation Core processors arrived with a bang, but what sort of progress can you expect in the performance per watt department? We compare Core i5/i7-2x00 to AMD's Phenom with four and six cores, as well as previous-gen parts from Intel.

Intel’s next-generation desktop platform, code-named Sandy Bridge, has finally arrived.

Lower power consumption levels are no longer just nice to have, but in fact we’re observing that power consumption and power management are turning into features that ultimately also help maximizing performance in many popular load scenarios. This is even more important, as Intel designed Sandy Bridge to be modular, so that it can scale from entry-level Core i3 to the high-end Xeons. Effectively, the majority of Intel’s mainstream processor portfolio will be based on Sandy Bridge, which makes an additional efficiency analysis worthwhile.

Sandy Bridge will be deployed all the way down to the entry level. It was largely anticipated that Sandy Bridge would be capable of delivering more performance than Nehalem, and that it might use less power while delivering it. Architectural improvements are at the heart of this speed-up. An efficient ring bus, a decoded µop cache, improved branch prediction, larger buffers, widened floating point throughput and improved memory availability all add up to notable clock-for-clock gains.

Intel is moving more firepower and more features into existing segments. Although the LGA 1155 platform maintains the 95 W power envelope common in the company's mid-range portfolio, Sandy Bridge processors are designed to radically shut off functional units when they aren’t needed. Remember that the processors feature a power control unit and three separate voltage and frequency domains. These facts are the main reason why LGA 1155 had to lose one pin (and backwards compatibility). The voltage regulators have to be capable of switching high currents much more responsively than before in order to properly support Sandy Bridge.

The S and T series bring thermal design power down to 65, 45, or even 35 W for low-power desktop applications by restricting clock speeds.


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