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Intel 2nd Generation Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge Desktop Processor

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Intel Core i7-2600K Review
Image Courtesy Intel

Feb 6 2011 - The Intel Core i7-2600K is a 2nd generation Core i processor with a fully unlocked CPU and GPU making it an excellent chip for overclocking. While the launch of the new Sandy Bridge microarchitecture was recently tarnished with Intel's announcement of a flaw in the design of the Cougar Point chipset, the unaffected Sandy Bridge Core i7-2600K is still an excellent value and will make a great chip for gamers when revised boards arrive in April.


  • Extremely Overclockable
  • Fast
  • Decent GPU on Same Chip as CPU


  • No Compatible Motherboards Available At the Moment


  • 3.4GHz Processor (Max Turbo 3.7GHz)
  • Four Cores, Eight Threads
  • 32nm Sandy Bridge Technology
  • Socket LGA-1155
  • 1333MHz DDR3
  • 8MB L3 Cache
  • Intel HD 3000 Graphics with 12 EU and 850MHz Core Clock
  • 95W TDP

Review - Intel 2nd Generation Core i7-2600K Desktop Processor

Intel Core i7-2600K Processor Review

2nd Generation Intel Core i7 Processor.

Image Courtesy Intel

It was one month ago that the 2nd generation Intel Core i processors made their way to the public. And while the recent announcement of a flaw in the Intel 6 Series Cougar Point chipset has made headlines, the Sandy Bridge processors themselves are not affected. Today's review is of the high-performance Intel Sandy Bridge Core i7-2600K. While you may not find one on the shelves until April due to the chipset debacle, I was able to put the chip to the test.

The Intel Core i7-2600K features four cores with a max of eight threads, as well as 8MB of L3 cache. And of course, since the 2600K is a Sandy Bridge chip, the Intel HD 3000 graphics are on the same die. This is great for video editing, but most gamers running this high-end processor are out for performance so a dedicated graphics card is best for anything more than casual gaming. However, you can run non-intensive games, such as World of Warcraft, Starcraft II, or The Sims with ease.

Base speed on the Intel Core i7-2600K is 3.4GHz, but the "K" designation at the end of the model name means it is fully unlocked for supreme overclocking. I was able to run benchmarks at 5.0GHz, but that required added voltage, so it is best to take it down a notch to preserve the longevity of the chip.

Below you can find the benchmarks achieved using the Intel Core i7-2600K with an ASUS P8P67 Evo motherboard compared to the Intel Core i5-2500K with a Bearup Lake motherboard. As you can see the Intel Core i7-2600K slaughtered the Core i5-2500K in performance, but that is to be expected with a much higher-end configuration.

Intel Core i7-2600K (Overclocked to 5.0GHz) AIDA 64 Benchmarks

  • Memory Read Test: 24115 MB/s
  • Write: 24952 MB/s
  • Copy: 29562 MB/s
  • Memory Latency: 38.7ns
  • CPU Queen: 61347
  • CPU PhotoWorkxx: 77801
  • CPU ZLib: 380.1 MB/s
  • CPU AES: 531089
  • CPU Hash: 2890 MB/s
  • FPU VP8: 4780
  • FPU Julia: 15507
  • FPU Mandel: 8218
  • FPU SinJulia: 6539

To compare, the following benchmarks were achieved using the same AIDA utility.

Intel Core i5-2500K (3.3GHz) Sandy Bridge AIDA 64 Benchmarks

  • Memory Read Test: 16098 MB/s
  • Write: 18129 MB/s
  • Copy: 17332 MB/s
  • Memory Latency: 53.7ns
  • CPU Queen: 32101
  • CPU PhotoWorkxx 51676
  • CPU ZLib: 196.9 MB/s
  • CPU AES: 369057
  • CPU Hash: 1946 MB/s
  • FPU VP8: 3218
  • FPU Julia: 10588
  • FPU Mandel: 5663
  • FPU SinJulia: 2986

Overall, the Intel Core i7-2600K is an excellent value thanks to its fully unlocked CPU and GPU. It's an overclocker's dream for the price. Unfortunately, what looked to be an exceptionally successful launch is now marred by the Intel Series 6 "Cougar Point" chipset flaw. Once customers have access to updated boards, though, the Intel Core i7-2600K will be a definite homerun.

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