Review Price £156.19
Intel Core i5 661 - Intel Core i5 661
On top of this, Intel has released a new range of laptop CPUs, which complicates things further. Rather than a similar or proportional scaling down of technology through the range, as there is on the desktop side, the laptop range has no clear-cut difference between the overall mobile Core i7 and Core i5 lines bar the amount of L3 cache, which is a relatively minor difference. Meanwhile, Core i3 is again differentiated by its lack of Turbo Boost. So, all mobile Core i7, i5, and i3 chips have two cores and support SMT, use a dual-channel memory controller and work on the same chipsets.
We won't be looking at the mobile chips in detail in this article but we have already reviewed several notebooks that use the new chips, including the HP Envy 15-1060ea and Asus G60J that both use the new 720QM, and performance has been very impressive.
If you want to take advantage of the Clarkdale CPU's inbuilt graphics, they can be used with motherboards based on the new H55, H57, and Q57 chipsets. Through the new Flexible Display Interface (FDI), these chipsets allow display connections on the motherboard to receive a video output from the CPU/GPU, something that P55 cannot do. Meanwhile Q57 is the same as H57 but also incorporates Intel's vPro remote PC management system. With any combination of P55, H55, H57, or Q57, and Clarkdale CPUs you can add your own separate graphics instead and the integrated graphics will simply be ignored.
As to the specifics of the integrated graphics, it's based on Intel's existing integrated (on the motherboard, that is) solutions and is called GMA HD. It features 10 unified shaders running at 733 or 900MHz and supports DirectX 10. This isn't exactly barn storming stuff and chipsets with integrated graphics from both nVidia and AMD have significantly more oomph but it should be enough for some casual gaming and general PC work. It also has Intel's ClearVideo HD technology that provides hardware acceleration for video playback and improves video quality through such things as de-interlacing and inverse telecine, potentially making Clarkdale CPUs a great choice for home theatre PCs.
Getting back to the CPU we're looking at today, the Intel Core i5 661 is rated to run at a fairly high 3.33GHz with a maximum Turbo Boost speed of 3.6GHz. This Turbo Boost increase is a little lower than we were hoping given the Core i5 750 starts at 2.66GHz and goes all the way up to 3.2GHz – nearly twice the performance increase but considering the high starting speed, it's understandable. As for the graphics, they run at 900MHz. Like the rest of the Clarkdale range it also features a dual-channel memory controller which in this instance is rated to work with memory up to 1,333MHz. It also has 4MB L3 cache shared across both cores while each core gets 32KB+32KB (data + instruction) L1 cache, and 256KB L2 cache.
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