The Core i5 2500K is one of two Sandy Bridge chips that Intel has left unlocked and ready for overclocking.
This is music to the ears of specialist system builders like InterPro, who has boosted the CPU from 3.3GHz to 4.3GHz and in the process produced an incredibly powerful entry-level machine out of a £150 processor.
The InterPro IPW-Ci5 handled our benchmark tests with aplomb, and for pure CAD showed that it stands shoulder to shoulder alongside Core i7-based systems.
However, its lack of support for HyperThreading slowed things down a little in our 3ds Max rendering test and the smaller L3 cache was probably the cause of the slightly lower than expected results in our SolidWorks Simulation (CAE) test.
Nvidia’s new entry-level Quadro 600 graphics card delivered respectable frame rates in our SolidWorks 2010 test. Despite its entry-level credentials, InterPro is still able to pack in a generous 8GB and keep its attractive sub-£1,000 price point. A new WD SATA-3 1TB hard drive gives plenty of no-frills storage.
Even with an overclocked CPU, the machine was incredibly quiet in operation. It’s compact, well built and would be a great investment for entry-level CAD users.
However, even if you only dabble in simulation or rendering, an upgrade to the Core i7 2600K should be given serious consideration.
Meanwhile to find out more on Sandy Bridge here’s our review
Intel ‘Sandy Bridge’
» Intel Core i5 2500K (3.30GHz – overclocked to 4.3GHz) Quad Core CPU
» 8GB (2x 4GB) DDR-3 1333MHz memory
» Intel DP67BG Mainboard
» PNY Nvidia Quadro 600(1GB) graphics card
» 1TB Western Digital‘Black Edition’ – 7,200rpm SATA3 hard drive
» Windows Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
» 36 month return to base(RTB) (parts and labour) warranty
Graphics (frames per second – bigger is better)
» CAD (SolidWorks 2010) – 21
CPU (secs – smaller is better)
» CAD (SolidWorks 2010) – 249
» CAM (Delcam PowerMill 2010) – 1) 152 2) 269 3) 392
» CAE (SolidWorks Simulation 2010) – 102
» Rendering (3ds Max Design 2011) – 262
Intel Core i5 2500K (3.30GHz – overclocked to 4.3GHz) Quad Core CPU
8GB (2x 4GB) DDR-3
PNY Nvidia Quadro 600
1TB Western Digital
36 month return to base