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Friday, September 25, 2009
Intel Benchmarks Clarkdale CPU

Intel disclosed some benchmark data for its upcoming Clarkdale processor at IDF, which will essentialy be the dual-core version of the Nehalem CPUs for desktop.

Let's see some facts about the new Clarkdale processor first.

Clarkdale and Lynfield CPUs will be the 'heart' of Intel's Piketon/Kings Creek platforms for the mainstream/perorfmance desktop PCs (see Intel's CPU roadmap). The Clarkdale CPU will be based on the 32nm Nehalem microarchitecture (Westmere) and will exclusively feature Intel Turbo Boost and Hyper-Treading technologies. The CPU will have up to 4MB of Intel Smart Chache, integrated memory controller (2ch DDR3, up to 1333), and 45nm integrated graphics (discrete graphics also suppported).

Clarkdale will be drop-in compatible with Intel's Core i7-800 and i5-700 processors series, which are using the LGA1156 socket. However, to run the integrated graphics via what's termed Flexible Display Interface (FDI), Intel is bringing two new chipsets to market, H57 and Q57 ( Intel 5 series chipset).

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) acceleration is also supported by the dual-core version of the Westmere CPUs (Clarkdale), offering native support for fast decoding of data encrypted with AES.

The CPU is scheduled for production in the first half of 2010.

The benchmark

Intel disclosed some benchmark results for the Clarkdalke CPU for the first time at IDF 2009. The company used the popular 3DMark Vantage, SiSoft Sandra and PCMark Vantage benchmarks for this test. Intel had already disclosed some results of the Clarkdale CPU using the SPEC int_rate2008 and SPEC fp_2008 in the first day of the IDF show.

The company compared a 3.33GHz Clarkdale CPU with a Core2 Quad Q9400 (2.66GHz) and a Core 2 Duo E8500 (3.16GHz) CPU:

Clarkdale 3.33GHz
Core2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz
Core2 Duo E8500 3.16GHz
Micron DDR3-1333/4GB
Kingston DDR2-800/4GB
Seagate 1TB

Benchmark configuration:

In the first 3DMark Vantage benchmark, it is clear that the integrated graphics of the Clarkdale CPU (45nm Ironlake) is does a grate job in the 3D environment. On the other hand, the Clarkdale CPU lags behind the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 CPU in the CPU text of the 3DMark Vantage benchmark, due to its fewer cores. in any case, the 3D drawing performance of 45nm Ironlake graphics of the Clarkdale CPU seems to have been greatly improved compared to the previouse 65nm G45 graphics.

The second test was related to the memory bandwidth of each CPU. The SiSoft Sandra results were encouraging for the Clarkdale CPU, which gave the highest marks in both integer and arithmetic benchmarks. However, the use of a dual channel of DDR3-1333 as well as the QPI of the Clarkdale system should have contributed to these high performance here, compared to the G45 is DDR2-800 platform used for the Q9400 and E8500 CPUs.

Finally, at the PCMark Vantage benchmark, the Clarkdale CPU is clearly faster than the Q9400 and E8500 processors.

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