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Intel’s Latest 32nm Clarkdale Platform - Core i5 661 With BIOSTAR H55 OC 5G On Air

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In the past six months, we often saw a lot of news about Intel 32nm CPU on the internet;

more information was about Core i7-980X, also LGA 1366 6 physical cores + 6 virtual HT cores (12 Threading).


The orientation of 32nm CPU belongs to Intel future highest-level LGA 1366 platform,

which most consumers show less interest in because of higher price.


Now take a look at Intel LGA 1156 platform.

About this new product line, there will be some 32nm CPU products put on sale,

including Core i5 6XX and Core i3 5XX series, and named Clarkdale.


The market orientation of these two series is different from previous Intel CPU.

The main reason is that Intel defines new CPU structure, not putting GPU into chipset like before but into CPU directly.

Intel’s such new design will affect PC market style “All in One MB” is becoming the future.


On chipset side, Intel releases H55/H57 to support new CPU design, and main difference is with or without RAID function.

Same as P55 chipset, a single-chip is adopted in the new chipset;

I assume Micro-ATX form factor will be the main design for H55/H57 motherboards.

Of course, some manufacturers also released ATX form factor for higher-level H57, seeming to direct compete with AMD 785G/790GX.

Especially, Micro-ATX products of AMD hold a special attraction for consumers for a quiet sometime now.

Therefore, Intel wants to increase his market share counting on this new product line this time.




This time I used BIOSTAR T-Series TH55XE as my MB platform,

which using Intel H55 chipset without RAID function, and its street price is around US$115 (about NT$3750).


Firstly, we can see the black is the main colour for the package.

I think the matching colour is exactly moderate, and package design is very special.



Product manual, driver CD, related cables and IO panel are attached.








Intel latest LGA 1156 32nm CPU front/reverse side

The CPU in the picture is Core i5 661, 2 physical cores + 2 virtual HT cores (4 Threading).

CPU clock: 133 X 25 = 3.33GHz; built-in GPU clock = 900MHz




Lower-left of the motherboard

1 X PCI-E X16

1 X PCI-E X4


LAN chipset: Realtek 8111DL

Audio chipset: Realtek ALC888,7.1 channels and supports HD Audio



Lower-right of the motherboard

5 x yellow SATAII,H55 provides SATA2 specification

Power、Reset buttons、debug indicators



Upper-right of the motherboard

4 x DIMM DDR3, supports 800/1066/1333/1600(OC)/2000(OC), maximum capacity of DDR3 is 16GB。

1 X IDE, by JMB368

With 24-PIN power connector



Upper-left of the motherboard

LGA 1156 location, adopting CPU 4+ VTT 2+GPU 1 phases power supply

BIOSTAR adopts IR DirectFET phase design for power supply,

with higher cost and better quality than common material.


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4 X USB 2.0

1 X RJ-45

1 X eSATA/USB 2.0

1 X S/PDIF Out

1 X IEEE 1394



Under heatsink of TSERIES is H55



Mosfet uses a smaller heatsink



LAN chipset Realtek 8111DL



Audio chipset Realtek ALC888, surrounded by Japanese solid capacitors



Boot logo



Main page of adjusting frequency, voltage



Page of voltage

CPU Vocre -0.080~+1.260V

CPU VTT Voltage 1.150~2.080V

CPU PLL Voltage 1.800~2.730V

DRAM Voltage 1.300~2.545V

PCH PLL Voltage 1.100~2.030V

PCH Voltage 1.10~1.25V

IGD Voltage 1.18~1.78V



Intel PPM Configuration, many C-STATE can be selected from here



DDR3 Timing Configuration

Users can adjust arguments according to their DRAM quality.


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BIOSTAR’s G.P.U Phase Control

CPU Load Line option is also put in this page.



Built-in GPU option, named IGD Graphics

32/64/128MB can be selected to share RAM.



Main page of CPU technology options

Common C1E, HT, VT, etc technology all can be set enabled or disabled from here.



When built-in GPU is used, all of these options will appear

They can be overclocked with built-in GPU, with range from 133 ~ 2000MHz



For BIOS setting, I set steady configuration according to the ratio of CPU to DDR3 is 200 to 2000.

When external CPU clock is set over 166 ~ 175MHz, built-in GPU becomes unsteady.

So, if you want to overclock CPU over 200MHz, external VGA is suggested.

I find this special situation when I use Clarkdale;

one possible reason is that GPU is built in CPU, so the design affects overclocking capability indirectly.


Testing platform:

CPU: Intel Core i5-661 ES



VGA: Intel Clarkdale 900MHz


POWER: be quiet E7 Cable Management 480W

Cooler: Mega Shadow(Deluxe Edition)

OS: Windows7 Ultimate 64bit



BIOSTAR’s exclusive software

TOverclocker, multifunctional OS software,

allows user adjust external clock, voltage, and performance modes from this programme directly.



Hardware Monitor



The upper software allows user to change boot logo directly; FOXCONN also had similar software before.

G.P.U Energy-saving software: it is suggested to disable this utility when overclocking to remain system steady.



BIOSTAR now provides more and more software and professional functions as a big manufacturer should have.

From software user aspects, I believe Biostar team should improve and make it more user friendly.


Below is the test result of Intel new 32nm platform.

CPU uses Intel Core i5-661, 4 Threading, clock is 3.33GHz, L3 Cache 4MB

GPU is 900Mhz, 87W, official price is US$196


Default performance:

CPU 133 X 25 => 3333MHz

DRAM DDR3 1333 CL9 9-9-24 1T

GPU 900MHz 128mb


Hyper 4 X PI 32M=> 18m 00.891s

CPUMARK 99=> 550



Nuclearus Multi Core => 13523

Fritz Chess Benchmark => 13.07/6273


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CrystalMark 2004R3 => 155768




1 CPU=> 4832

x CPU=> 10794



PCMark Vantage => 10706



CPU voltage is only 0.948V when system is standby; the voltage rises to 1.128V when CPU is in full loading.

Moreover about TurboBoost, when the system is standby, only single core is used, and CPU clock also rises to 3.6GHz.

When dual cores are in process, CPU clock will change to 3.46GHz.

In other words, under the condition of single core, CPU multiplier can be plus X2; of dual cores, plus X1.


The default CPU clock of Core i5 661 is very high, and the performance of the CPU is also great,

suitable for non-conversion or drawing software.

For most software that do not support multitasking, CPU clock at this moment is more important.


3DVANTAGE => 486



StreetFighter IV Benchmark

1024 X 768 => 7011



Clarkdale shows similar performance in 3DMARK2006 and 3D like 785G.

However, H55, without overclocking, gets higher scores in 3DVANTAGE than 785G. StreetFighter IV also shows high performance;

of course, built-in GPU products are what we use to compare.

The result also means Intel has made great progress in GPU design.


PSU is quiet in latest series E7 Cable Management, watt is 480W



Module design makes it easier to place cables in order.



When H55 platform is used as word-processing, 350W PSU is enough to support the system.

But if running at higher-performance VGA or hard drives will be added in the future, 400W ~ 500W PSU are recommended.


Test of power consumption

Standby: - 34~39W

When CPUZ displays 3600MHz, this condition means single core is being used.



Full speed: - 79~89W

When CPUZ displays 3466MHz, this condition means 2 physical core + 2 virtual HT cores are being used.



The combination of Intel Core i5 661 and H55MB saves more power;

when the system is in standby mode, the lowest power consumption is only 34W.

And, the range of power consumption is 79 ~ 89W when CPU is at the full speed 3.46GHz;

hence, 32nm platform can save more power than ever.

But I also find that different PSUs bring dissimilar results: when the system is standby,

the power consumption is mostly 38 ~ 42W for common 400W PSUs; and, 34 ~ 36W for 480W PSU (80 PLUS also help save energy).


OC performance

CPU 200 X 23 => 4600MHz

DRAM DDR3 2000 CL8 8-8-24 1T

GPU 900MHz 128mb


Hyper 4 X PI 32M=> 12m 49.813s

CPUMARK 99=> 709


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Nuclearus Multi Core => 17945

Fritz Chess Benchmark => 17.69/8489



CrystalMark 2004R3 => 219569




1 CPU=> 6371

x CPU=> 14569



PCMark Vantage => 15076



When Core i5 661 is overclocked to 4.6GHz, 1.3V voltage can make the system steady.

32nm design makes dual-core CPU total clock raised 300 ~ 500MHz further.


H55 does not provide RAID function, so I used a SDD to test transfer rate.

CORSAIR CMFSSD-64GB2D, specification is 220/120 MB/s



From the test of SDD with high transfer rate, I find read/write performance of H55 is less 5 ~ 10MB/s than ICH10R.

I think the possible reason is deviation value, or the performance of single chipset could be lower.

As result, H55 shows fine performance on HDD.


GPU OC 1167MHz 128mb

3DVANTAGE => 563



StreetFighter IV Benchmark

1024 X 768 => 7455



Users can overclock built-in GPU by BIOS options.

The GPU performance can be raised 15 ~ 20% after overclocked.



DRAM performance test

CPU 133 X 25 => 3333MHz

DRAM DDR3 1333 CL9 9-9-24 1T

Sandra Memory Bandwidth - 11709 MB/s


EVEREST Memory Read - 9259 MB/s



CPU 200 X 23 => 4600MHz

DRAM DDR3 2000 CL8 8-8-24 1T

Sandra Memory Bandwidth - 17848 MB/s

EVEREST Memory Read - 13613 MB/s



About DDR3 2000, BIOS setting is CL8, but CPUZ shows CL9, EVEREST CL10.

I’m not sure why they are different; probably something related to BIOS setting.

Concerning DDR3 bandwidth performance, I thought Clarkdale can show great result like P55 dual-channel/ X58 tri-channel.

The design that Intel makes Memory Controller built-in can make the bandwidth of these new platforms 150~250% faster than LGA 775.

It's pity not able to take advantage on its high bandwidth infrastructure due to GPU engine integrated inside Clarkdule Core i5 processor.

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Finally, add CPU voltage, challenge high clock “5GHz” by air cooling



CPUZ certification

Intel Core i5 661 OC 5G / windwithme


About 1.476~1.488V, this range can provide enough voltage for 5GHz into OS.

If you want to use Super PI and same level software, I think adding voltage up to 1.52 ~ 1.56V for CPU is necessary.

E8400~E8600 also can make CPU run at 4.8~4.9GHz, but voltage and temperature of 32nm are lower.

In the future, if Intel makes 32nm better, overclocking dual-core CPU to 5GHz will not be just a dream.





1. The design of package makes the product look high quality.

2. The range of BIOS voltage setting is wide; external clock and other options are also plentiful.

3. Power consumption of H55 chipset is very low.

4. Overclocking can make CPU/DDR3 reach 200/2000 steady level.

5. CPU power supply material is applied by better phase design.



1. The price of all H55 MB is still too high now.

2. Due to Intel’s structural design, i5 CPU built-in GPU can not show good performance on DDR3.





Material: ★★★★★★★★☆☆





Price of most H55 MB is about NT$4200 (about US$130).

Although the price of BIOSTAR T-Series TH55XE is about US$117, it is a cheaper choice.

But I think the price of H55 chipset is still too high; if its price can be reduced to US$100, the product must be more popular.


About Clarkdale CPU, there will be both Core i5 6XX and Core i3 5XX series,

and the main difference is supporting TurboBoost or not.

I find some quotations about this kind of CPU from other websites:

Core i5 6XX: US$176~284

Core i3 530/540: US$113/133 respectively; and the price of Intel Pentium G9650 without HT technology is US$87.


My personal thinking of “All in One MB” platform, at the initial stage the price of the CPU product that consumers can accept is about US$90 ~ 110.

Therefore, Core i3 530 and Pentium G9650 are the products that can fit in with most consumers’ budget.


My experience about testing Clarkdale platform this time

Supported by 32nm new technology, the CPU,

compared with 45nm, has higher clock, lower temperature and power consumption, all of which make a great impression on me.

But now owing too high price, Intel still leaves something to be desired to make its products accepted by more consumers.

I feel very happy that besides AMD platform, Intel also releases higher performance All in One chipset.

Although current Clarkdale C/P value is not high, anyway Intel finally makes great progress on this product field in 2010.

I also expect the parity of this new platform is coming soon.


The release of Clarkdale provides one more choice in the market,

and makes the performance of Intel All in One chipset greater in the future.




By the way, I'm also enjoyed the world of DSLR;

I actually already had 4 of them since last year, including my latest one - a CANON KISS X3 Kit (500D).




In the coming February, I'm going to share my experience of the CANON KISS X3

And again, I truly appreciated for all your support, feedbacks, or even one simple comment;

that gives me the power and encourages to continue my sharing. Thank you :)

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