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Intel Core i5-2390T Processor

The fastest dual-core CPU, or just a good processor with an inappropriate model name?

May 25, 2011



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As we have already mentioned, Intel didn't bother to put its processor naming policy in order, when it released 2nd Generation Intel Core CPUs. This looks especially sad in company's mobile series that offers not only dual-core Core i3 and Core i5 processors but also Core i7 ones. Desktop lineups are in slightly better order. In fact, at first it seemed desktop processors were sorted much better: all Core i5 and i7 CPUs were quad-core and differed only by having or not having Hyper-Threading support, and all Core i3 CPUs were dual-core. However, Intel decided otherwise and rolled out the dual-core Core i5-2390T. How was it different from a Core i3? Same as in the previous generation: by supporting Turbo Boost and being capable of speeding up to 3.5 GHz versus the 3.3 GHz of Core i3-2120. Not quite a step-up to attach it to a different family, right? But that's not all. The "T" suffix means Core i5-2390T has the max TDP of 35 W — something previously found only in mobile CPUs. Which means the direct rival of Core i5-2390T is Core i3-2100T working at 2.5 GHz. Compared with this, the 2.7-3.5 GHz frequency range looks impressive enough. However, not all users pay attention to suffixes. Some will expect Core i5-2390T to be faster than Core i5-2300 and slower than Core i5-2400. And being priced accordingly, when it's, in fact, more expensive than the latter.

All that made us want to test this processor and see how it actually performs. This should also give some idea about the performance of mobile processors like Core i5-2540M and Core i7-2620M. Because they look somewhat similar: Core i5-2540M works at 2.6-3.3 GHz, Core i7-2620M works at 2.7-3.4 GHz, and they also have the same TDP of 35 W. Of course, these two mobile processors have different built-in graphics: GMA HD 3000 instead of GMA HD 1000 of Core i5-2390T. And Core i7-2620M also has an extra 1MB of L3 cache. But qualitatively their processor performance should be similar.

Testbeds

CPU Core i3-2100 Core i5-2300 Core i5-2390T
Core Sandy Bridge DC Sandy Bridge QC Sandy Bridge DC
Process technology 32 nm 32 nm 32 nm
Core clock rate (std/max) 3.1 GHz 2.8/3.1 GHz 2.7/3.5 GHz
Initial multiplier 31 28 27
Turbo Boost scheme - 3-2-2-1 ?-?
Cores/threads 2/4 4/4 2/4
L1 cache, I/D 32/32 KB 32/32 KB 32/32 KB
L2 cache 2x256 KB 4x256 KB 2x256 KB
L3 cache 3 MB 6 MB 3 MB
RAM 2xDDR3-1333 2xDDR3-1333 2xDDR3-1333
Socket LGA1155 LGA1155 LGA1155
TDP 65 W 95 W 35 W

We decided this would be a sort of express testing and compared Core i5-2390T with Core i3-2100 (similar technically) and Core i5-2300 (similarly named). No other CPUs were necessary this time, but you can always browse the table with complete results, or just wait until we publish the final material dedicated to this version of our test method.

  Motherboard RAM
Core i3-2100,
Core i5-2300
Gigabyte P67A-UD5 (P67) Kingston KVR1333D3N9K3/6G
(2xDRR3-1333; 9-9-9-24)
Core i5-2390T Biostar TH67XE (H67) Kingston KVR1333D3N9K3/6G
(2xDRR3-1333; 9-9-9-24)

Note: We had to change the motherboard for reasons over which we had no control, but that had no noticeable effect on test results.


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Article navigation:

Page 1: Introduction, testbeds

Page 2: Tests, conclusions



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