TODO alt text

Intel Core i7-2600K review

Sandy Bridge is here, and it'll blow you away

Our Verdict

If it wasn't for Intel's marketing goons, these could have been the best CPUs in history. Awesome, even so.

Product features

  • Processor Core : Quad-core (4 Core)

View full specification


  • Breathtaking performance at stock clocks
  • Massive overclocking headroom
  • Incredible new integrated video engine


  • Infuriating marketing-driven restrictions

With every new architecture comes a certain amount of intrigue. Intel's Sandy Bridge brings much higher clocks, but it's also interesting to note how performance compares on a clock-for-clock basis.

To find out, we compared the new Core i7-2600K running at 2.9GHz with Turbo disabled to the old Core i7-870, again at 2.9GHz with Turbo disabled. Also worth noting is the performance of the new video transcoding core and the integrated 3D graphics. In their own way, both are frankly staggering.

Stock clocked benchmarks

Cinebench R10 multi-thread

Intel Core i5-2500K: 39s
Intel Core i7-2600K: 35s
Intel Core i7-870: 46s
Intel Core i5-750: 59s
Intel Core i7-980X: 32s

Cinebench R10 single-thread

Intel Core i5-2500K: 2m 22s
Intel Core i7-2600K: 2m 19s
Intel Core i7-870: 2m 58s
Intel Core i5-750: 3m 17s
Intel Core i7-980X: 3m 00s

x264 HD video encode

Intel Core i5-2500K: 27fps
Intel Core i7-2600K: 35fps
Intel Core i7-870: 28fps
Intel Core i5-750: 19fps
Intel Core i7-980X: 43fps

World in Conflict

Intel Core i5-2500K: 91fps
Intel Core i7-2600K: 96fps
Intel Core i7-870: 78fps
Intel Core i5-750: 75fps
Intel Core i7-980X: 90fps

Memory Bandwith

Intel Core i5-2500K: 18.6GB/s
Intel Core i7-2600K: 18.7GB/s
Intel Core i7-870: 17.3GB/s
Intel Core i5-750: 16.9GB/s
Intel Core i7-980X: 17.8GB/s

Idle power consumption

Intel Core i5-2500K: 125W
Intel Core i7-2600K: 130W
Intel Core i7-870: 115W
Intel Core i5-750: 110W
Intel Core i7-980X: 145W

Peak power consumption

Intel Core i5-2500K: 190W
Intel Core i7-2600K: 215W
Intel Core i7-870: 210W
Intel Core i5-750: 180W
Intel Core i7-980X: 245W


Maximum overclock

Intel Core i5-2500K: 4.4GHz
Intel Core i7-2600K: 4.6GHz
Intel Core i7-870: 3.9GHz
Intel Core i5-750: 4.1GHz
Intel Core i7-980X: 4.2GHz

Cinebench R10 multi-thread

Intel Core i5-2500K: 34s
Intel Core i7-2600K: 29s
Intel Core i7-870: 30s
Intel Core i5-750: 43s
Intel Core i7-980X: 26s

x264 HD video encode

Intel Core i5-2500K: 32fps
Intel Core i7-2600K: 41fps
Intel Core i7-870: 33fps
Intel Core i5-750: 27fps
Intel Core i7-980X: 51fps

World in Conflict

Intel Core i5-2500K: 98fps
Intel Core i7-2600K: 102fps
Intel Core i7-870: 90fps
Intel Core i5-750: 89fps
Intel Core i7-980X: 94fps

Clock-for-clock comparison (Turbo disabled)

Cinebench R10 multi-thread

Intel Core i7-2600K @ 2.9GHz: 46s
Intel Core i7-870 @ 2.9GHz: 51s

Cinebench R10 single-thread

Intel Core i7-2600K @ 2.9GHz: 3m 5s
Intel Core i7-870 @ 2.9GHz: 3m 28s

x264 HD video encode

Intel Core i7-2600K @ 2.9GHz: 27fps
Intel Core i7-870 @ 2.9GHz: 25fps

World in Conflict

Intel Core i7-2600K @ 2.9GHz: 88fps
Intel Core i7-870 @ 2.9GHz: 77fps

Integrated graphics

Call of Duty 4 @ 1,280 x 800

Intel Core i7-2600K – HD Graphics 3000: 32fps
Intel Core i5-655K – HD Graphics: 14fps

World in Conflict @ 800 x 600

Intel Core i7-2600K – HD Graphics 3000: 22fps
Intel Core i5-655K – HD Graphics: 8fps

Quick Sync Video transcode engine

720p H.264 encode in software

Intel Core i7-2600K: 45s

720p H.264 encodewith Quick Sync Video

Intel Core i7-2600K: 12s

Tech Specs

Product TypeProcessor
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Thermal Design Power95 W
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Product FamilyCore i7 i7-2600
L3 Cache8 MB
Clock Speed3.40 GHz
Processor SocketSocket H2 LGA-1155
Brand NameIntel
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
64-bit ProcessingYes
Thermal Specification72.6°C
Width37.5 mm
Depth37.5 mm
L2 Cache1 MB
Product Seriesi7-2600
ManufacturerIntel Corporation
Product Modeli7-2600K
Product NameCore i7 Quad-core i7-2600K 3.4GHz Desktop Processor
Product LineCore i7
Manufacturer Part NumberCM8062300833908
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The Intel Core i7 processor delivers best-in-class performance for the most demanding applications. This quad-core processor features 8-way multitasking capability and additional L3 cache. With adaptive performance and built-in visual capabilities this 2nd generation processor brings more intelligence to your PC.

Process Technology32 nm