Lab Tested: Intel’s Sandy Bridge CPUs Deliver Blazing Speed and Energy Savings

Power Efficiency

To get an idea of the energy savings these new CPUs provide, we'll look at two sets of data. First, we'll compare our test beds with PCs that earned similar WorldBench scores. These charts feature machines we've reviewed in the past year: the MicroExpress' MicroFlex 97B, Maingear's F131, and the CyberPower Gamer Xtreme 8500. We'll look at the power consumed while the PC is idle, as compared to the machines WorldBench score.

Similar performance results, but fairly different idle power ratings. The specifications of these machines vary (Maingear's F131 is equipped with a pair of graphics cards), but they offer a general idea of the power use we expect from machines that hit these performance numbers.

For a different take, let's pit our test beds against machines that consume about as much power when idle. We'll once again be looking at machines we've reviewed in the last few months. This time, they're from V3, Gateway, and Acer.

While power consumption here is similar (and at times better) than the Sandy Bridge testbeds, performance ultimately suffers.

The Next Generation

Intel has a real winner on their hands here. The second-generation Core processors manage to outpace their predecessors, while keeping power consumption low. But more importantly, their oft-maligned integrated graphics platform has received a much-needed shot in the arm.

The processors launching over the coming weeks fall right into the middle of the road, performance-wise. We can expect second-generation Core i3 processors, and higher end Core i7 processors to arrive later on this year. With CES 2011 just a few days away, there are sure to be plenty of announcements -- stay tuned for our coverage!

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