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 Post subject: Intel Core i5-661: A 32nm CPU with Integrated Graphics
PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:45 pm 
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Intel Core i5-661: A 32nm CPU with Integrated Graphics

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:20 am 
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very thorough review of a very interesting product.

I'm looking forward to seeing power consumption and total power usage figures with a motherboard that allows undervolting. I'd wager a guess that it'll produce figures that trounce all competitors regarding performance/watt.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:25 am 
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Hi,

An interesting CPU -- I wonder if the graphics will support the GPU Folding@Home client? I am also curious -- the PS/2 port has split colors green and purple? I would guess that you can plug a keyboard OR a mouse into it?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:08 am 
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Another awesome review.

Does anyone know if Intel intends to release an Xeon version of this chip? I.e., one that supports ECC memory? Looks like another potential fileserver/NAS platform.

It also looks like a potential HTPC platform. Sure, not as good as e.g. NVidia 9300 or AMD 785G, but good enough. In particular, I'm thinking about MythTV. NVidia is generally regarded as the current champ for MythTV, due to their Linux support. More recent chipsets also support VDPAU, which is supported in the development version of MythTV (and also a fork of the current version). But a number of people are still anti-NVidia given that their drivers are closed source. I would assume the drivers for this Intel integrated GPU will be open source.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:23 am 
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NeilBlanchard wrote:
Hi,

An interesting CPU -- I wonder if the graphics will support the GPU Folding@Home client? I am also curious -- the PS/2 port has split colors green and purple? I would guess that you can plug a keyboard OR a mouse into it?


This might answer the Folding@Home question:

http://techreport.com/articles.x/18216/14

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:20 am 
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One thing I'm always thinking about is our office PCs. We don't need a whole lot of CPU power. (but it doesn't hurt) And we run dual monitors (at least). The i3 especially sounds like an awesome low-powered office PC. It sounds like it supports two displays at the same time. Can you verify that you could use the DVI and HDMI for dual digital displays? Also, can the IGP be used in parallel with a PCIe graphics card for additional displays?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:13 am 
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As the article briefly mention, I am a bit sceptical to the usefullness of this CPU compared to the i750 for the average user. The turbo-mode makes the i750 pretty snappy in workloads that are not very multithreaded, so you get the best of both words in a way. If you need the IGP the i661 looks a bit better however. I waited for theese CPUs for my HTPC-build, i think I will get a i750 (or maybe a i3)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:06 am 
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With any luck, the price of the i5-750 will go down a little bit once these new processors find their way to retail. I think pairing the 750 with it's true 4 cores and 20% turbo-boost with one of the upcoming lower-end HD 5xxx cards will still be an attractive option for many mid-range system builders.

Has there been any word on when we'll see 4-core 32nm CPUs from Intel?


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 Post subject: power consumption
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:32 am 
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Nice power consumption, know someone how it will react with external gtx260 in pcie? If it can be turned off while only surfing and then switched on while 3d gamming?

I'm looking for these features, because i want more power saving system.
Now my C2D based system with gtx260 takes 100W (250W on load)
- i'm crazy from this idle consumption


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:05 pm 
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i'd be surprised if you can switch off power to the video card slot with software, but win7 allows you to choose which video card to use(????)

nice review... probably don't want to get the intel board, because it's not very overclockable, but with an aftermarket mb, these chips are going to rock!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:16 pm 
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nice review. Yours shows much lower power consumption that on some of the other sites. Thank you for focusing on that aspect of the system.

Can't wait to see more tests as they come out on the i3 and H series MB's with on die CPU + GPU, with True-HD and DTS-MA bitstreaming built in. that with even lower yet consumption would be sweet.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:25 pm 
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does the hdmi port support audio over it?

also does the intel chipset / driver support Protected Audio Path (so it can output full dts hd sound to a reciever over the hdmi, or is it converted and seperated out to 7.1 first?)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:35 pm 
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wickchucker wrote:
nice review. Yours shows much lower power consumption that on some of the other sites. Thank you for focusing on that aspect of the system.

Most sites used the Asus P7H57DV-EVO which consumes a lot more power than the Intel H55 board that SPCR used – TechReport.
It’ll be interesting to see what a decent low power H5x board can achieve when over-clocking or under-volting.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:46 pm 
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Article wrote:
To get an idea of how much power the CPU actually requires, we measured the current flowing directly ATX12V connector as well as the voltage with the system in various load states.
*page 5

Technically not a complete sentence.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
In that quote above, did you use a wrap-around current meter? (for lack of a better name)

Doesn't this platform seem great for a higher end HTPC? I wouldn't know first hand cause I've never gotten to research and build one. Maybe it's overkill though...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:15 pm 
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RoGuE wrote:
Article wrote:
To get an idea of how much power the CPU actually requires, we measured the current flowing directly ATX12V connector as well as the voltage with the system in various load states.
*page 5

Technically not a complete sentence.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
In that quote above, did you use a wrap-around current meter? (for lack of a better name)

Changed to:
Quote:
To get an idea of how much power the CPU actually requires, we measured the current (through a 0.01 ohm shunt resistor) and voltage at the ATX12V connector in various CPU load states. This allows us to calculate the power demanded by the CPU and the board's VRM (DC-DC converter).

A high precision multimeter was used.

Quote:
Doesn't this platform seem great for a higher end HTPC? I wouldn't know first hand cause I've never gotten to research and build one. Maybe it's overkill though...

Yup, it's an obvious application. Much lower performance plaforms work fine, but browsing through large libraries of media files can be tedious with a slow PC.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:50 pm 
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For just playing back content the i5-661 is more than is needed. However, most folks with HTPCs rip DVDs, BluRay disks, transcode files and for that the CPU not over kill at all.

Regarding a question above; the HDMI supports audio with a protected audio path the same way that the 5XXX series ATI cards do.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:34 pm 
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Any chance for an i3-5x1 in the very near future?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:43 am 
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I agree with t' Nut, the i3 cpu seems would of more interest here. Also most other sites seem to think the i5 processors are overpriced for what you are getting.

Way to go Boise State Broncos!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:52 am 
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b_rubenstein wrote:
However, most folks with HTPCs rip DVDs, BluRay disks, transcode files and for that the CPU not over kill at all.


I doubt most people do that. Ripping, maybe... but that isn't CPU intensive.


The mobile version of this CPU can throttle back the graphics to save power even more. Damn you Intel for disabling it for the desktop.


I am wondering how the core i3 will compare to AMD's Athlon II 235e and 240e. They are 45w chips. Not as fast as i3 I'm sure, but fast enough. Even for gaming they will be very competent. I expect the AMD setup will be a good chunk of money cheaper. Once you add up the extra for CPU, motherboard, upgradability, and probably a new cooler (damn you Intel, what's wrong with LGA 775 mounting holes???). But I'm interested to know which will have lower power consumption.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:26 am 
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DAve_M wrote:
I am wondering how the core i3 will compare to AMD's Athlon II 235e and 240e. They are 45w chips. Not as fast as i3 I'm sure, but fast enough. Even for gaming they will be very competent. I expect the AMD setup will be a good chunk of money cheaper. Once you add up the extra for CPU, motherboard, upgradability, and probably a new cooler (damn you Intel, what's wrong with LGA 775 mounting holes???). But I'm interested to know which will have lower power consumption.

A post I made elsewhere recently:

Components:-
  • AMD AthlonII X2 240e (dualcore 2.8 ghz, 2mb cache - 45W TDP)
  • MSI 785GN-E65 motherboard
  • 4gb DDR3-1333 (2 sticks)
  • Seagate 500gb Momentus 5400rpm
  • Samsung DVD/CD writer
  • Zalman 7000cu heatsink/fan set to <5V
  • Antec NSK1480 w/ its own PSU (80+ but not very efficient at these low power levels), modded w/ quieter fan.
Between the CPU and the motherboard, the price is probably at least $150 cheaper than i5-661 platform. All BIOS settings are pretty much on auto or default; no voltage tweaking at all. Of course it is running CoolnQuiet, on Windows 7 ultimate - 64bit. The system is just barely audible from watching chair 8' away, but totally broadband, no tonality. As soon as TV sound is turned on, the PC is inaudible.

AC power:-
  • 35-36W idle w/ screen off (I don't use a screensaver)
  • 40-41W idle w/ screen on
  • 50-55W playing 1080p video
  • 55-60W extreme multitasking - playing 1080p video, running utorrent, winrar & Avira antivirus, streaming music via ethernet -- and amazingly, the video remains perfectly viewable >99% of the time.

Occasional peaks to around 65-70W are seen mostly when starting programs, but these are very short term. 50W is the typical in-use power when watching video. Probably could get 5W lower with more efficient power supply.

EDIT: Keep in mind when comparing that my system power figures are AC while the i5-661 numbers in Larry's article are DC. You'd have to adjust the above numbers down by ~30% or more to compensate for the losses in the PSU. When that is done, my 240e system and the test i5-661 system are very close in power..

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Last edited by MikeC on Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:57 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:11 am 
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DAve_M wrote:
I doubt most people do that. Ripping, maybe... but that isn't CPU intensive.


Have you actually ever ripped a DVD to mp4?
Using Handbrake (which is multi threaded) I ripped a typical full length movie to the HD and all 4 cores of the Q9550, running at 3.2 Ghz, were pegged at 100% for an hour.

From what I've seen lots of people do do it. This way they can store movies in a central repository so they can be watched on any computer on the network.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:37 am 
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b_rubenstein wrote:
DAve_M wrote:
I doubt most people do that. Ripping, maybe... but that isn't CPU intensive.


Have you actually ever ripped a DVD to mp4?
Using Handbrake (which is multi threaded) I ripped a typical full length movie to the HD and all 4 cores of the Q9550, running at 3.2 Ghz, were pegged at 100% for an hour.


Depends on what you mean by "rip". Personally, I consider "rip" to mean simply the process of copying the data from the CD/DVD/BD to the computer. This process is almost an entirely I/O-bound (i.e. requires virtually no CPU).

Encoding and other format conversions, on the other hand, are very CPU intensive.

The handbrake case mentioned above is "ripping" that includes both processes (data copy plus encoding). The original poster may have been suggesting "ripping" with only the data copy portion.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:49 am 
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Mike, those numbers don't look too shabby. If AMD could get their own power gating tech like Intel uses to near turn off the idle CPU cores, then that would make a mighty fine CPU.


b_rubenstein wrote:
Have you actually ever ripped a DVD to mp4?

Yep I have. But I would call that transcoding. When I say rip I to mean a lossless pulling of data off the disk. Makes it possible to play without skipping and without DVD drive spinning up. Once you're done watching it I guess it should be deleted otherwise it will take up too much space.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:05 am 
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DAve_M wrote:
Mike, those numbers don't look too shabby. If AMD could get their own power gating tech like Intel uses to near turn off the idle CPU cores, then that would make a mighty fine CPU.

I think AMD is already totally competitive with Intel -- or superior -- for idle power. I checked the power at the 12Vx2 socket for this 240e some weeks ago and measured idle power at ~5W (iirc). This result is mirrored by Lost Circuits, who measured 4.4W with more accurate tools and estimated actual CPU power to be 3~3.5W. On the next page (of that LC article), the 240e was measured at just 26.8W under load.

As for transcoding of movies, I just can't see that many people doing it. I may be a minority, but once I've seen a movie, I have virtually no interest in seeing it again (at least until I've completely forgotten the story -- say 30 years or longer) and certainly would not waste 2 hours of computing power to save it to the HDD, esp. If I already have the bluray disc.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:22 pm 
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b_rubenstein wrote:
Have you actually ever ripped a DVD to mp4?
Using Handbrake (which is multi threaded) I ripped a typical full length movie to the HD and all 4 cores of the Q9550, running at 3.2 Ghz, were pegged at 100% for an hour.

The new version of handbrake seems to have improved on the performance. I can generally transcode a full movie on my AII 245 at 50-60fps which is only a little over an hour a piece. A 3.2GHz quad should be able to do that in a half hour.

b_rubenstein wrote:
From what I've seen lots of people do do it. This way they can store movies in a central repository so they can be watched on any computer on the network.

I do exactly this. But I use my desktop to do it, not my HTPC. My HTPC's only job is playing the media.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:05 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
I think AMD is already totally competitive with Intel -- or superior -- for idle power. I checked the power at the 12Vx2 socket for this 240e some weeks ago and measured idle power at ~5W (iirc). This result is mirrored by Lost Circuits, who measured 4.4W with more accurate tools and estimated actual CPU power to be 3~3.5W. On the next page (of that LC article), the 240e was measured at just 26.8W under load.


I didn't know they were already that good. I thought system power consumption would be a bit lower in that case. Like <20W if the computer isn't doing anything. After all, laptops can get under 10W with the screen on! I wonder if it is the 450W+ ATX power supply to blame? You seem to have to go out of your way to get a lower spec PSU than that these days.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:31 pm 
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@b_rubenstein

thanks! that's exactly the info i needed.... guess this is going to be the basis of my next HTPC!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:39 pm 
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DAve_M wrote:
I didn't know they were already that good. I thought system power consumption would be a bit lower in that case. Like <20W if the computer isn't doing anything. After all, laptops can get under 10W with the screen on! I wonder if it is the 450W+ ATX power supply to blame? You seem to have to go out of your way to get a lower spec PSU than that these days.

Keep in mind when comparing that my system power figures are AC while the i5-661 numbers in Larry's article are DC. You'd have to adjust the above numbers down by ~30% or more to compensate for the losses in the PSU. When that is done, my 240e system and the test i5-661 system are very close in power.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:53 pm 
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does anyone know if the embedded graphics is capable of being used to accelerate flash?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:05 pm 
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For the life of me, I don't understand this obsession with CPU idle power consumption. It's somewhere on the order of only 15% of the power draw of the system at idle (with a low power system). Furthermore, your getting all hot and bothered about 2 - 3w; that's like $0.25 worth of electricity in a year.


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