Intel’s 32nm Clarkdale – Nehalem for Everyone

by Rob Williams on January 3, 2010 in Processors

To help kick 2010 off right, Intel has filled out the rest of its current-gen processor line-up with the help of Westmere. We’re taking a look at the desktop variant here, which brings a lot to the table compared to the previous generation. For those who’ve been holding out for that next affordable PC upgrade, the wait has been worth it.

Multi-Media: ProShow Gold, Sandra Multi-Media

While TMPGEnc XPress’ purpose is to convert video formats, ProShow from Photodex helps turn your collection of photos into a fantastic-looking slide show. I can’t call myself a slide show buff, but this tool is unquestionably definitive. It offers many editing abilities and the ability to export in a variety of formats, including a standard video file, DVD video and even HD video.

Like TMPGEnc and many other video encoders, ProShow can take full advantage of a multi-core processor. It doesn’t support SSE4 however, but hopefully will in the future as it would improve encoding times considerably. Still, when a slide show application handles a multi-core processor effectively, it has to make you wonder why there is such a delay in seeing a wider-range of such applications on the marketplace.

In many of our tests up to this point, where we tested with two different scenarios, we have seen one scenario experience a larger boost than the other. Here, that’s not the case, as both our HD and DVD encodes saw close to a 34% boost in performance.

Sandra 2009 Multi-Media

This test here stresses the CPU’s ability to handle multi-media instructions and data, using both MMX and SSE2/3/4 as the instruction sets of choice. The results are divided by integer, floating point and double precision, three specific numbering formats used commonly in multi-media work.

Real-world tests are the absolute best way to gauge a processor’s worth, but synthetics play an important role as well, as we can easily see where a product excels, or lacks. This test is one good example of that, because we can see just how much the Core i5-661 excels for float computation compared to the others. It proves to be the first CPU in our entire line-up that sees float performance faster than int and double. Overall, the performance is quite good all-around, with stark increases between the CPU on the table and the older Core 2 E8600.