At the end of January I published my initial Core i3 7100 Linux benchmarks while for those still on older Sandy Bridge hardware and thinking of upgrading to a Core i3 Kabylake, here are some interesting comparative benchmarks. For these weekend tests are raw performance and performance-per-Watt metrics for the Core i3 2100 Sandy Bridge to the Core i3 7100 Kabylake processors.
Running out of spare 2U/4U cases, when figuring out where to run the Core i3 7100 I bought last month for $120 USD, I noticed the Core i3 2100 "Sandy Bridge" system was still chugging along. To re-use that 2U chassis, I decided to phase out that system and replace it with the Core i3 7100. Thus in the process it made for a fun direct performance comparison.
As a reminder, the Core i3 7100 is a dual-core processor with Hyper Threading, has a 3.9GHz base frequency (no Turbo Boost), 3MB Cache, HD Graphics 630 @ 1.1GHz, and a 51 Watt TDP. The Core i3 2100 from the start of 2011 was a dual-core with Hyper Threading too and a 3MB cache but only a 3.1GHz clock frequency and HD Graphics 2000 running @ 1.1GHz. The i3-2100 CPU had a 65 Watt TDP for this 32nm CPU compared to the i3-7100 being on a 14nm process and TDP of just 51 Watts.
Other interesting differences between the i3-2100 and i3-7100 for these low-end i3 models evolving over the past six years include AVX2 support on the i3-7100, 5 GT/s DMI vs. 8 GT/s DMI3 bus, DDR3-1066/1033 vs. DDR4-2133/2400, up to three display support for the HD Graphics 630, VT-d support, and other improvements over the past half-decade. Both of these CPUs launched at their respective times for about $120 USD.
The Core i3 2100 test system's configuration was the CPU running at stock speeds, 2 x 2GB DDR3-1333MHz memory, MSI H61M-P31 motherboard, HD Graphics 2000, and a Western Digital Blue 250GB SSD.
The Core i3 7100 test system used the same Western Digital Blue 250GB SSD and was also running at stock speeds while using the Gigabyte B250M-DS3H-CF motherboard, 2 x 4GB DDR4-2400MHz memory, and the HD Graphics 630 (GT2).
Both systems were benchmarked running Antergos Linux 17.2-Rolling with the Xfce 4.12 desktop, xf86-video-intel DDX, Mesa 13.0.4, the Linux 4.9 kernel, and an EXT4 file-system.
A variety of benchmarks were run on both the Core i3 2100 and i3 7100 configurations. In addition to monitoring the raw performance, the Phoronix Test Suite was monitoring the CPU temperature, the system power consumption, and generating the performance-per-Watt metrics too. The power consumption was polled via a USB-based WattsUp Pro AC power meter.