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Review: Intel Core i5-3570K (22nm Ivy Bridge)

by Tarinder Sandhu on 26 April 2012, 08:53 4.0

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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The one to go for?

Chip giant Intel launched its 3rd Generation Core chips on Monday. Previously known by the codename of Ivy Bridge, these new processors add a touch more CPU speed and around 30 per cent extra graphics performance over that exhibited by price-comparable 2nd Generation Core models hewn from Sandy Bridge silicon.

While manufacturing concerns don't mean a great deal to the average consumer, Intel is using a 22nm, Tri-Gate process for these new chips. This should mean they're cheaper to produce and consume less power than 2nd Generation Core processors. We reviewed the top-of-the-range Core i7-3770K on launch day, though you shan't be able to purchase one until Monday 30th April, such is Intel's wont.

The Daddy chip's retail pricing is set to be around £230 and, while relatively inexpensive in the grand scheme of Intel processors, the bulk of 3rd Generation Core sales are sure to occur at lower price points. Going back a generation we reckoned that the four-core, four-threaded Core i5-2500K was a good bet, priced at around £160, as it provided solid performance for both everyday tasks and gaming. The equivalent 3rd Generation Core chip is the Core i5-3570K, due to be available for the same sort of money, so it's well worth a good look.

Where does it fit in?

Model
Cores /
Threads
CPU Clock
(MHz)
Turbo Boost
(MHz)
Process
Die Size
Cache
IGP
IGP Clock
(MHz)
DDR3 Support
TDP
Price
(US 1ku)
Ivy Bridge Core Processor Family (3rd Generation, LGA1155)
Core i7-3770K
4 / 8
3.50
3.90
22nm
160mm²
8MB
HD 4000
1,150
Dual 1,600
77W
$313
Core i7-3770
4 / 8
3.40
3.90
22nm
160mm²
8MB
HD 4000
1,150
Dual 1,600
77W
$278
Core i7-3770S
4 / 8
3.10
3.90
22nm
160mm²
8MB
HD 4000
1,150
Dual 1,600
65W
$278
Core i7-3770T
4 / 8
2.50
3.70
22nm
160mm²
8MB
HD 4000
1,150
Dual 1,600
45W
$278
Core i5-3570K
4 / 4
3.40
3.80
22nm
160mm²
6MB
HD 4000
1,150
Dual 1,600
77W
$212
Core i5-3550
4 / 4
3.30
3.70
22nm
160mm²
6MB
HD 2500
1,150
Dual 1,600
77W
$194
Core i5-3550S
4 / 4
3.00
3.70
22nm
160mm²
6MB
HD 2500
1,150
Dual 1,600
65W
$194
Core i5-3450
4 / 4
3.10
3.50
22nm
160mm²
6MB
HD 2500
1,100
Dual 1,600
77W
$174
Core i5-3450S
4 / 4
2.80
3.50
22nm
160mm²
6MB
HD 2500
1,100
Dual 1,600
65W
$174
Sandy Bridge Extreme Core Processor Family (2nd Generation, LGA2011)
Core i7-3960X
6 / 12
3.30
3.90
32nm
434mm²
15MB
N/A
N/A
Quad 1,600
130W
$999
Core i7-3930K
6 / 12
3.20
3.80
32nm
434mm²
15MB
N/A
N/A
Quad 1,600
130W
$583
Core i7-3820
4 / 8
3.60
3.90
32nm
294mm²
10MB
N/A
N/A
Quad 1,066
130W
$294
Sandy Bridge Core Processor Family (2nd Generation, LGA1155)
Core i7-2700K
4 / 8
3.50
3.90
32nm
216mm²
8MB
HD 3000
1,350
Dual 1,333
95W
$332
Core i7-2600K
4 / 8
3.40
3.80
32nm
216mm²
8MB
HD 3000
1,350
Dual 1,333
95W
$317
Core i7-2600
4 / 8
3.40
3.80
32nm
216mm²
8MB
HD 2000
1,350
Dual 1,333
95W
$294
Core i7-2600S
4 / 8
2.80
3.80
32nm
216mm²
8MB
HD 2000
1,350
Dual 1,333
65W
$294
Core i5-2500K
4 / 4
3.30
3.70
32nm
216mm²
6MB
HD 3000
1,100
Dual 1,333
95W
$216
Core i5-2500
4 / 4
3.30
3.70
32nm
216mm²
6MB
HD 2000
1,100
Dual 1,333
95W
$205
Core i5-2500S
4 / 4
2.70
3.70
32nm
216mm²
6MB
HD 2000
1,100
Dual 1,333
65W
$205
Core i5-2500T
4 / 4
2.30
3.30
32nm
216mm²
6MB
HD 2000
1,250
Dual 1,333
45W
$205

Shamelessly ripping off the table in the original review, we can discern at least three differences between the mid-pack Core chips of the two Intel families. Priced within a few dollars of each other, the 3570K is clocked in a little higher, both in term of base and Turbo Boost speeds, has the same-clocked graphics as the top-line part - Core i5-2500K's are clocked in lower than 2700K's - and 3570K ships with a lower TDP than its Sandy Bridge counterpart. These factors alone make it, on paper, a better buy than its predecessor. Do be aware that Intel has quietly slipped in the Core i5-2550K, which is clocked in at the same speeds as the Core i5-3570K, albeit without the goodness of integrated graphics. And we thought Intel had simplified its line-up!

The Core i5-3570K is arguably a more-important chip than the Core i7-3770K, mainly because its lower price point makes it more attractive to enthusiasts on a (relative) budget and to system integrators (SIs) looking to hit the all-important £999 price point for a well-specified base unit. The K nature of the processor means that it's multiplier-unlocked, enabling simple overclocking by increasing the CPU ratio (multiplier), and it's by this method that SIs release pre-overclocked machines.

The two questions we need to answer in this review go something like this: how much better is the Core i5-3570K than the much-used, popular Core i5-2500K, and is the gap large enough to persuade owners of relatively new systems to jump ship and opt for the shiniest technology Intel has to offer? Let's find out.