Two months ago AMD released a bunch of new CPUs priced between $70 - $120. For the past couple of years AMD has been enjoying the fact that Intel's newest architectures start out at the higher price points, and take their sweet time to trickle down to the common man's socket. With Clarkdale, everything changed.

The cheapest Core i3 is the 530, selling for $113 in 1K unit quantities and around $120 on the street (keepin it real). To paraphrase a short, wise, green man - there is another, even cheaper Clarkdale that you can buy though - the Pentium G6950:

This is a LGA-1156 part based on the Clarkdale core, just like the rest of the Core i3 and dual-core Core i5 line. The chip runs at 2.80GHz, has no turbo support, no AES-NI, no VT-d, no Intel TXT and no Hyper Threading.

Processor Core Un-core GPU Max Mem Clock Cores / Threads L3 Cache Max Turbo TDP Price
Intel Core i5-670 3.46GHz 2.40GHz 733MHz 1333MHz 2 / 4 4MB 3.76GHz 73W $284
Intel Core i5-661 3.33GHz 2.40GHz 900MHz 1333MHz 2 / 4 4MB 3.60GHz 87W $196
Intel Core i5-660 3.33GHz 2.40GHz 733MHz 1333MHz 2 / 4 4MB 3.60GHz 73W $196
Intel Core i5-650 3.20GHz 2.40GHz 733MHz 1333MHz 2 / 4 4MB 3.46GHz 73W $176
Intel Core i3-540 3.06GHz 2.13GHz 733MHz 1333MHz 2 / 4 4MB N/A 73W $133
Intel Core i3-530 2.93GHz 2.13GHz 733MHz 1333MHz 2 / 4 4MB N/A 73W $113
Intel Pentium G9650 2.80GHz 2.00GHz 533MHz 1066MHz 2 / 2 3MB N/A 73W $87


Intel also disables a portion of the L3 cache, there's only 3MB active on the G6950. The on-package memory controller is also limited to only 1066MHz, while the Core i3s and i5s support up to 1333MHz. Finally its on-package GPU only runs at 533MHz. At a high level, the Pentium G6950 doesn't look too good.

Then again, it lists for $87. Newegg sells it for $96.

The Rest of the Story

To date we’ve only looked at the Core i3 530, 540 and Core i5 661. Since we’re tying up loose ends today we’ll also include results from the rest of the Clarkdale lineup: the Core i5 670, 660 and 650.

The Core i5 660 is just like the 661 we reviewed in January but with a 733MHz GPU clock instead of 900MHz. The 650 is the cheapest i5 Intel offers at $176.

The Core i5 670 is the highest native clocked CPU that Intel ships today at 3.46GHz. It's GPU still only runs at 733MHz though, only the 661 has a 900MHz GPU clock. It's also the most expensive dual core i5 Intel makes at $284. You can get a Core i5 750 for less or a Core i7 860 for the same price. This is clearly a chip for a very specific niche market that needs excellent performance out of two cores and integrated graphics.

Integrated Graphics Performance
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  • know of fence - Friday, April 9, 2010 - link

    Unlike to the apologists above, it should be obvious to most readers that testing power consumption with discrete graphics further dilutes results, especially regarding power savings.

    Even if Anandtech absolutely cannot do those tests (because of bench), at least a mention of the EVGA Graphics card's idle power consumption (~ 25W ?) in the description would be really helpful. So readers who care about absolute watt power could then subtract it from benched measurements, to get a meaningful power consumption estimate for a non-gaming- PC.
  • ReaM - Thursday, March 25, 2010 - link

    Qimonda DDR3-1066 4 x 1GB (7-7-7-20)
    Corsair DDR3-1333 4 x 1GB (7-7-7-20)
    Patriot Viper DDR3-1333 2 x 2GB (7-7-7-20)

    Which one is used for O'Clocking?

    I need a good OC ram! :P I dont know which company

    Thank you!
  • Calin - Thursday, March 25, 2010 - link

    Try to post in the forums, you might be luckier
  • ReaM - Thursday, March 25, 2010 - link

    yeah, but these were used here in that test setup
  • ekul - Thursday, March 25, 2010 - link

    I don't think anyone is going to buy this chip at their local computer shop. Even for a cheap HTPC you'd be much better off to get a full clarkdale for the hyperthreading and turbo mode.

    This chip was built so OEMs like Dell and HP can keep the base price of their H55-based systems low to entice buyers. It's also as much CPU as any CSR or assistant is going to need in the corporate world.
  • arnd - Thursday, March 25, 2010 - link

    It appears that there are two more Clarkdale processors, the Celeron G1101 (with just 2 MB L3 cache) and the Xeon L3406 (with 30 W TDP but graphics disabled).
  • xpax - Thursday, March 25, 2010 - link

    Good job, Anand, as usual.

    I don't keep up on the hardware front as much as I used to, and having just built a new i5-750 system I was concerned for a moment as I hadn't heard about these new chips before doing my build.

    After seeing the numbers though, I'm 100% sure I made the right choice.
  • iwodo - Wednesday, March 24, 2010 - link

    I want SandyBridge, i dont know why i never liked this generation architecture. I still have the perception ( no matter how much benchmark i read ) that it simple doesn't offer any performance improvement over C2D or those previous cheap Core2 Quad.

    Spending $100+ ( or $200+ since you need to upgrade your MB ) simple doesn't make sense. I would rather buy a Fermi / 58xx or Sandforce Based SSD.
  • kaleun - Wednesday, March 24, 2010 - link

    As a C2D owner I also don't see much reason to upgrade to an i3. but if I needed more performance, the i5/i7 would be worthwhile. and many people might upgrade from something older than C2D. If I started a PC from scratch, the i3 for $ 120 is really really good compared to everything else in that price range if one considers power consumption and overclocking.

    Obviously, someone who buys an i3/i5/i7 today won't see much reason to upgrade to Sandy Bridge either. But starting from an older platform (even C2Q), Sandy Bridge will be worthwhile. I almost think, unless you are power user, one always is best off skipping every other CPU generation.

    the thing I wonder, for someone who builds a new platform today, why would anyone buy a new C2D is beyond me. My E7400 still costs $ 120 like over a year ago when I bought it. No way I'd buy that over an i3.
  • Calin - Thursday, March 25, 2010 - link

    You could buy an C2D for common installed base (with similar mainboards as other PCs you have installed). Or you might buy one for the perfect last-generation board you buy for a new computer.
    There might be other reasons, but I don't have one of them right away

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