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Intel Clarkdale and Intel H55 chipset information
Bluetooth 3 Jan 2010

Introduction

Intel Clarkdale processor and Intel H55 chipset information

In Jan 2010, Intel will officially announce the new Clarkdale series of processors. In some reports found online, it seems that the new 32nm Clarkdale with integrated graphics core overclocks pretty well. In fact, it overclocks as good as itís Lynnfield counterparts.

Today with the new processor, Intel will also have a new chipset Intel H55. Intel H55 chipset includes FDI; display core is known as GMA HD

In order to take advantage of the graphics core in the Clarkdale processor, the CPU must be paired up with H55 chipset. Basically H55 is similar to P55, bridging the interconnecting devices using 2Gb/s DMI connect.

H55 includes FDI (Flexible Display Interface), allowing direct connection between the CPU and the Graphics core. This allows the display information to be sent back to the H55 chipset for output.

In fact, the graphics core inside the Clarkdale processor is known as GMA HD. In comparison with G45 GMA X4500HD, the difference is the number of Unified shaders. It is increased from 10 to 12. It only supports DX10 (not DX10.1,DX11) and SM 4.0.

A mid range 3.3GHz Clarkdale can easily be overclocked to 4.4GHz on AIR without much voltage bump. That is quite a good start for this new processor.

Below is a table showing the TDP and the Cache of the different cores under the Clarkdale stable :

Clarkdale processors are sold under both the Intel Core and Pentium brand names, with Pentium models having a smaller L3 cache.
Brand Name Model (list) L3 Cache size Thermal Design Power
Pentium G6xxx 3 MB 73 W
Core i3 i3-5xx 4 MB 73 W
Core i5 i5-6xx 4 MB 73-87 W

Pricing

Here are pricing information of the new processors

Core i5-670 = $284
Core i5-661 = $196
Core i5-660 = $196
Core i5-650 = $176
Core i3-540 = $133
Core i3-530 = $113

Many manufacturers have already announced their boards that support the new processor.

In some test reports, it is shown that the upcoming Clarkdale processor paired with Intel H55 chipset has surpassed the performance level of the AMD 785G integrated graphics chipset. Of course, this would depend on the kind of Intel Core i3 or i5 processor paired with the board.

From the usual sources of information, it is been confirmed that Intel Clarkdale processor Core i5-661 performance surpasses AMD 785G with Phenom II X3 processor clocked at ~3.3GHz. This is probably the first time we see Intelís integrated graphics surpassing the AMD camp.

Internal Graphics Core

The processorís internal GPU can be overclocked too. For example, the model Core i5-661 (3.3GHz) has itís default GPU clock set at 900MHz. This can be tuned up to 1.5GHz without any issues.

With this increase, it would boost 3DMark06 score by around 14%. The processor is also capable of hardware acceleration of the H.264 1080p playback in PowerDVD and Windows 7 Media Player. In terms of CPU utilisation, it is lower than the AMD 785G equipped with a similarly clocked processor. Even with dual 1080p streams playing back at the same time, the Intel Clarkdale does a good job too.


Total Cost of Ownership

So far, the mainboard pricing is around 110 ~ 140 USD depending on the brand. The processor price ranges from 113 USD ~ 284 USD for the highest end. For the AMD 785G, the pricing of a mainboard ranges from USD 67 ~ USD 99. AMD Phenom II Price ranges from USD 96 ~ USD 160. As both uses DDR3 memory, we can assume that the price is quite the same unless you want to choose to run the cheaper DDR3-1066 on it.

There is no doubt that it would be cheaper to get an AMD based solution. For those who prefers a higher clocked system, the Intel Clarkdale will never disappoint as it can easily do 4.5GHz on AIR with it's new 32nm core.

The choice is yours.

For a more detail benchmark comparison between the platforms and review of the mainboards. Here are 3 reviews for your reading.

ASRock H55M Pro
ASUS P7H55-M Pro
ECS H55H-CM


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