On Wednesday we published our first compute performance numbers for the Core i3 2100, Intel's lowest-end "Sandy Bridge" processor at this point. This ~$125 USD processor was a step-up from the previous generation Clarkdale CPUs (roughly the Core i3 530), but obviously the Core i5 2500K was still a great deal faster. How's the Sandy Bridge graphics performance though with this low-end CPU? That is the focus of today's tests.
The Intel Core i3 2100's graphics performance was compared to an Intel Core i5 2500K. This was done on the Intel "Bearkup Lake" H67 motherboard that does not exhibit our earlier problems with the ASUS motherboard. The two Sandy Bridge CPUs were tested on this motherboard in conjunction with 2GB of DDR3 system memory and a 60GB OCZ Vertex 2 SSD.
Ubuntu 10.10 x86_64 was used, but of course, we had to manually upgrade the entire graphics stack. The Linux 2.6.38 vanilla kernel was used while Mesa, libdrm, xf86-video-intel, and libva were pulled from their mainline Git repositories on 23 March 2011. This provides Mesa 7.11-devel and xf86-video-intel 2.14.901 as the key user-space driver components worth mentioning.
The Intel Core i3 2100 is a dual-core CPU with Hyper Threading and has a 3.1GHz clock frequency and 3MB of Smart Cache. The Intel Core i5 2500K is a true quad-core part without Hyper Threading and has a 3.3GHz clock frequency with 3.7GHz Turbo Boost and 6MB of Smart Cache.
Tests included Nexuiz, OpenArena, World of Padman, Urban Terror, Warsow, VDrift, Lightsmark, and 1080p H.264 video playback in MPlayer. This was, of course, conducted using the Phoronix Test Suite and OpenBenchmarking.org.