Intel Core i7-870 Lynnfield Processor

Introduction

Introduction
 
Today is a big day indeed, not only for those with unhealthy fascinations for dates with identical or symmetrical strings of numbers but also for the masses. To be more precise, it’s an important time for those with more conservative budgets and those who consider value for money as their #1 priority when looking into upgrading, building or buying a computer. Socket T (LGA775), launched in 2004 has been through a lot over the years, featuring a vast number of processors, some of which are incredibly famous for all the right reasons and some for all the wrong reasons but from today, this popular platform will be steadily discontinued. Perhaps it seems a little odd to some that the socket is already being pushed aside as after all, even the best of the Core 2 Quad lineup continue to hold their own in the wide majority of mainstream applications but regardless, stagnation in a market such as this is never a good idea and on that bomb shell we bid LGA775 a farewell and a warm welcome to LGA1156 and it’s new range of Core i5 and i7 processors. Today, we will be testing the leader of the Lynnfield clan… Meet the Core i7 870 processor.
 
First and foremost, it should be acknowledged that this is not a LGA1366/Intel X58 compatible processor and as of today, the Core i7 exists on two different sockets. One way to spot the difference is to consider the model number, where i7 8xx’s are LGA1156 while i7 9xx’s are LGA1366. So what exactly differentiates the processors on LGA1156 with those on LGA1366?
 
The first two significant changes are that the Core i5/i7 range on the new socket only supports functionality of memory in Dual Channel mode and the i5’s do not feature Hyperthreading Technology. The new processors also sport integrated PCI-Express controllers, completely ousting the requirement for a separate Northbridge/Southbridge pairing but rather a single chip controller on the motherboard (dubbed P55) which handles the link between Motherboard/CPU as well as I/O devices by means of USB/SATA and so on. So what exactly is the point of this release? The end result is meant to be a platform that offers many of the perks of the exclusive X58 / Core i7 platform but with lower ownership costs thanks to cheaper motherboards and dual channel memory.
 
This may all seem quite confusing and I would forgive anyone who feels this way. Why Intel did not rename the LGA1156 i7 to i6 perhaps, in order to separate the two CPU's I cannot tell but it is certainly a confusing way of rebranding their lineup. Just when you thought Intel couldn’t baffle their prospective customers any further, Intel will also be releasing two energy efficient version of the i5 and i7 range with the i7-860s and i5-750s. These two processors will be clocked the same as their forbears but will have a lower TDP of 82W instead of the 95w of the earlier models. Expect these CPU's to be released around Q1 2010.
 
At the top of the pile will be the much anticipated flagship 'Gulftown' i9 processor. Rumors are suggesting that this processor will be compatible with Socket 1366 so everyone who has spent £250+ on an X58 motherboard can breath a huge sigh of relief because thankfully there is still life left in the X58 we all rushed out to buy. Even better is the news that Gulftown will be a 6 core monster with a total thread count of 12 processing two threads simultaneously. With an increase in L3 Cache to a stonking 12MB, the Gulftown will certainly a performance CPU to be reckoned with. Just as AMD seem to be bridging the gap, Intel release what appears to be yet another range of CPU's capable of moving the goal posts once more.
 
Looking further into the future, Intels 32nm lineup will come in six flavors, all of which will initially be dual core processors with an integrated DX 10 GPU, DDR3 memory controller and a TDP of 73W. The six CPU's will be spread across the Intel range with 2 models found in the i3 range, 3 in the i5 and the final version being part of the now aging Pentium family. Interesting times indeed.
 
Today, we will be concentrating on the Intel Core i7 - 870 which Intel have kindly supplied for this review.
 
 
Specifications
 
NameCore i7-920
Core i7-870
Core i7-860
Core i7-860s
Core i5-750
Core i5-750s
Clock2.66GHz2.93GHz2.8GHz2.53GHz2.66GHz2.4GHz
Cache8MB L38MB L38MB L38MB L38MB L38MB L3
Core444444
Threads888844
IMCYesYesYesYesYesYes
Memory SupportDDR3 1600/1333/1066DDR3 1333/1066DDR3 1333/1066DDR3 1333/1066DDR3 1333/1066DDR3 1333/1066
Max Supported
24GB
Triple Channel
16GB
Dual Channel
16GB
Dual Channel
16GB
Dual Channel
16GB
Dual Channel
16GB
Dual Channel
Turbo Boost3.2GHz3.6GHz3.46GHz3.46GHz 3.2GHz 3.2GHz
Socket
LGA 1366LGA 1156LGA 1156LGA 1156 LGA 1156 LGA 1156
Launch Date Present 8-Sept-09 8-Sept-09 Q1 2010 8-Sept-09 Q1 2010
 
As you can see from the specification above, the i7-870 is higher clocked at stock than the i7-920 but forfeits the triple channel memory controller compared to it's bigger brother. On paper, the i5 simply appear to be lower clocked i7 (1156) CPU's so it remains to be seen if that is the case which will no doubt please overclockers who may well go for the cheaper i5 and increase the clockspeed manually to save a few bucks.
 
Alas, with a Core i5 test bed cleared for takeoff we can finally invite you to turn over the page to see what Intel’s range topping i7 870 has to offer!
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Most Recent Comments

08-09-2009, 03:15:58

JN
"i7 for socket 1156? How can this be? More importantly, how does it perform? With the NDA now lifted we can reveal Intels new 8 series range topper. Find out how it gets on in our latest review..." - by w3bbo

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...113104875s.jpg

Intel Core i7-870 Lynnfield Processor

08-09-2009, 04:40:38

MeltedDuron
wow Jimbo thats obscenely fast! It's a shame about the dual channel but I guess they had to cut costs somewhere.. You gonna be playing with some i5's any time soon?

08-09-2009, 08:12:45

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='MeltedDuron'
wow Jimbo thats obscenely fast! It's a shame about the dual channel but I guess they had to cut costs somewhere.. You gonna be playing with some i5's any time soon?
The ASUS review launched today is on the i5 platform if ya wanna have a butchers at those benches

08-09-2009, 08:33:19

Rastalovich
It's all very impressive stuff, looking from the aspect of purchasing a batch of components for a new build.

Personally I'm very unimpressed. Perhaps even to the extent of missing out on the i-series of components altogether.

Perhaps it's the aftermath of purchasing a x9650, and that it's costing is proving itself (even tho I got it cheap), but I look at this review alongside a review some time ago that included x9650 figures, and I draw my conclusions.

(I would have liked to see the best of the 775 figures run alongside this to show more clearly what I'm thinking)

More than the crop of components Intel are coming out with, it would be the upgrade of tech for i/o that I think will govern my next thought of buying a new stuff.

For sure, if there is a need or a question posed by some1 "what do I get", I have to say these or AMD's offering - but this would be more for the fact that they're the new kids on the block and cos the sockets have changed.

Personally I'm gonna skip this generation. Bring on the cheap 775 stuff imo. The benefits just aren't there. Put all ur cash into the best GPU and whatever with the rest of ur money.

Great review tho.

08-09-2009, 13:32:29

VonBlade
As I'm sure you'll be reviewing a load of the new architecture in future days/weeks, is there any chance we could have a clockspeed like-for-like? It's fine to see the 920 nearly holding on, but really the pricepoint comparison should be a 950. Or at least bump the 920 to the 870 speed. Then we could really see if the 1156 is worthwhile for those not on the i7 bandwagon already.

Personally, looking at the price and performance I can't see who'd buy 1156 based kit. The 920 is only 30 or so more than the 860, a good P55 motherboard isn't far off a P6TD and the memory is cheaper, but the price per stick is about the same so that's moot.

The only benefit I can see is the 95w TDP instead of 130w. Hmmmm. Hugely disappointing really. If they could have brought it in at AMD price points then maybe. Unless people buy a P55 UD3 and the i5 750. But then you lose hyperthreading which is a boon for those of us who use certain apps. Curses.

I was really hoping this would be the bang-for-buck bargain to beat them all. I'll stick with dreaming of a 920 and a P6TD.

Although I can't fault the quality of the review as per usual W3bbo

08-09-2009, 19:11:55

Bungral
No games to compare how much the memory really alters things? I mean we know it's going to make a big difference on the memory intensive benchmarks and not so much on the cpu intensive benchmarks, but gaming is what I wanna see.

I want to know how much the dual over the triple controller with lose compared to the gains from the increased clock speed.

I'm not sure about this flagship Lynnfield with dual controller costing more than the lower end 920 with tripple channel. Surely with each model up the price and performance should increase. Hmmmm

Nice first touch on the platform though Rich.. Looking forward to more

09-09-2009, 03:05:59

Zoot
Great Review.

Looking at the reviews of Lynnfield around the place now, I'm sort of glad I went the AMD route with the Phenom II. I'd be pretty annoyed if I rushed out to buy an i7 about now. Plus I hate what Intel has done now with 3 different sockets on the market.

Plus there's still no tangible difference really with gaming which if i'm honest is all I really do on my rig, so my current rig should do me for hopefully another couple of years. I'd still be on a 1.5 year old Yorkfield platform if that stupid Rampage Formula didn't give up a few months ago. I think my next upgrade will be 32nm processors.

09-09-2009, 07:59:06

Mul.
These processors are certainly holding their own. I do genuinely feel however that the P55 motherboards are simply priced too high. I also don't particularly understand the point of the i7 870 and with retail prices above 400 across the web, one would have to be a fool to buy one. The bang per buck lies with the Core i5 750 and this will be the processor that most will buy. Without Hyperthreading it doesn't push too far ahead of the Phenom II's and it's main redeeming factor is that it definitely overclocks better than the X4 955 and 965. In the long term I'd like to see the i5 750 settle towards 135 with a reasonable choice of motherboards from 80-100 as this is where LGA1156 could kick Socket AM3 where it hurts.

13-09-2009, 07:06:10

w3bbo
The top 8 series CPU that we tested is always going to attract a premium, as do all the flagship CPU's. Whether you deem this worth it or not will depend on your budget and the amount of value you place on such premium products. Before we dismiss such products I think it would be wise to see if lesser CPU's from the range can attract the same clockspeeds. Hopefully they can but if not I think the price may well be justified.

Thanks for the comments guys.

17-09-2009, 02:56:33

chritonnun
I really hope you like this new challenge! Best of luck, everyone!
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