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Gaming benchmarks: Core i5 2500 vs Core i5 6500 vs Core i3 6320

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It's time for another round of my gaming benchmarks series. This time in a relatively short time i had the chance to compare 3 processors, which people probably use in their mainstream gaming computers. There are quite many high end Core i5 processor benchmarks out there, those compare Core i5 "K" old and new generation chips, so that i felt the need to fill the space in the lower price segment, as well as include a skylake Core i3. Also, all of the skylake vs sandy bridge comparisons i've seen include DDR4 vs DDR3, which i feel is a bit unfair for old apple vs new apple comparison...

Now, there is no point arguing if you should upgrade your 4 generations older processor to a new one for anything other than gaming - the fact that each generation, whether it's tick ir tock, adds 7 - 10 % IPC performance improvement for programs is a fact, so it's up to your needs if you need the performance boost. And having in mind the improvements of the I/O of the past and present systems, that generational gap seems even more wide.

But let's just stick with gaming and similar systems.

12 games were tested using 1920x1080 resolution, no AA and custom quality/performance settings. Since this is a CPU, and not a VGA benchmark, the settings were not set to the absolute maximum, but rather to the point of maximum with playable settings, above 60 FPS.

The benchmark rig is

Core i5 2500 3.7/3.6/3.5/3.4 GHz 6 MB cache (C1E disabled, EIST enabled, turbo enabled, TT disabled)
Core i5 6500 3.6/3.5/3.4/3.3 GHz 6 MB cache (C1E disabled, EIST enabled, turbo enabled, TT disabled)
Core i3 6320 3.9/3.8 GHz 4 MB cache (C1E disabled, EIST enabled, turbo enabled, TT disabled)
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---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

VIDEO PRESENTATION


Alien Isolation




Real cores of Core i5 6500 and Core i5 2500 perform better than virtual ones of Core i3 6320, and IPC is not important here.

Arma 3 Apex Edition



While virtual cores of Core i3 6320 can not match real ones of Core i5 6500, the IPC improvements of skylake chips over sandy bridge make the difference in FPS as Core i3 6320 is slightly ahead of Core i5 2500.

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare



The game favors real cores above virtual ones, and IPC improvements also do matter as Core i3 6320 is slightly faster than Core i5 2500.

Company of Heroes 2



Again, IPC matters here, and virtual cores are being utilized almost as good as real ones.

Crysis 3



Core i3 6320 only suffers in minimal FPS when compared to Core i5 6500 and even to Core i5 2500 to a smal extent. IPC influence is relevant here.

Dying Light



IPC is not important in performance, and virtual cores of Core i3 6320 do just as good as real ones.

Doom



It's a copy cat situation of Dying Light.

Far Cry 4



Again, Core i3 6320 suffers in minimal FPS when compared to both Core i5 processors. Can not see the IPC influence here.

Metro Last Light Redux



For some unexplained reason, Core i5 6500 is far inferior to Core i5 2500. I've repeated this test so many times - even disassembled PC per new! Did tests in different days even! I've got no arguments here. The only thing relevant is that Core i3 6320 is slightly slower than Core i5 2500, which is normal.

Rainbow Six Siege



While the difference is not big between Core i5 2500 and Core i5 6500, the fact that Core i5 6500 gets beaten by Core i5 2500, which is not even "K" is bizzare to say the least.. Anyway, real cores are preferred over virtual ones here.

Rise of Tomb Raider



Virtual cores perform as good as real ones and IPC influence does not matter here.

Witcher 3 Wild Hunt



I already knew from my previous Ivy Bridge Core i3 vs Core i5 test that virtual cores perform just as good as real ones in Witcher 3, even in minimal FPS, so why should it be different with skylake? IPC influence is not relevant here.

CONCLUSIONS

1. The IPC improvements from generation to generation do matter in gaming! However, the difference is so small, that it does not affect the gameplay performance and experience!


2. While clearly Core i3 virtual cores tend to lag behind Core i5 real ones in some cases, especially in minimal FPS region, overall the same generation Core i3 delivers the same gaming experience as Core i5 in mid-range systems. This clearly would not be the same in high-end systems with extreme quality settings.

3. If you have a mid range PC (GTX970) for 1080P gaming, there is no way you should replace your sandy bridge Core i5 2500 just for the FPS sake. Unless it's for programs or hardware compatibility, the Core i5 2500 is to stay in 2017.
 
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Here's hoping Ryzen is as good as the rumors are saying so Intel will get off their asses and actually produce a CPU worth upgrading my 3930k with.
 

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So my 2500k is still pretty viable. I'm using a R9 290 4gb gpu though.
 
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So my 2500k is still pretty viable. I'm using a R9 290 4gb gpu though.
Still viable up to the point of using reasonably high graphical settings on 1080P in modern games with mid-range video cards like yours. There are plenty of tests in youtube which confirm that Core I5 2500K overclocked at 4.5 GHz is equal to stock Core i5 4690K and to stock Core i5 6600K paired with DDR3 in modern games.
 
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In games like Fallout 4 and Skyrim I was clearly hitting a wall with the IPC of an i5-2400. Dying Light was nearing 100% CPU usage, but ran fine, goes to around mid 80's if I change the multipliers on it through BIOS. Otherwise the CPU ran great, it was a nice change of pace from an unlocked Phenom II 960T X6 at 4.0GHz.

Anyway nice benchmarks, you've only confirmed that optimized games still run great on previous gen.
 
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I've seen the same benches being done on Skylake with DDR4 (2400) instead of DDR3 VS sandy bridge, and I have to say the DDR4 had some impact. I don't see why anyone should buy a Skylake and combine it with DDR3 either so it's kinda unrealistic what you did here. Not completely disregarding what you did here, but DDR4 is the way to go for Skylake not DDR3, whether it's "unfair" or not is pretty irrelevant too.

The only way to do it "fair" then, which is still a strange word talking about PC hardware, would be to use same clocks on DDR3 VS DDR4 which would be 2400 then. I didn't find such a bench on Web, but I think that solution would be the best of both worlds and "fair" too. I also know that SB and IB and also HSW scale very well with higher ram clocks now (it wasn't really like that in the past, games didn't need it) so it's a relevant approach to use higher clocked DDR3.

You could do another round of testing with what I suggested, just a idea.
 
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Still viable up to the point of using reasonably high graphical settings on 1080P in modern games with mid-range video cards like yours. There are plenty of tests in youtube which confirm that Core I5 2500K overclocked at 4.5 GHz is equal to stock Core i5 4690K and to stock Core i5 6600K paired with DDR3 in modern games.
Yeah I did a CPUZ benchmark of my 2500K at 4.8Ghz is it's nearly identical to the 6600k stock reference.

With my overclocked 1070 I have found quite a few instances where my 2500K was the limiting factor on 1080p though.
 
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Using fast DDR4 would paint a different picture.
 
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Using fast DDR4 would paint a different picture.
Yes, it's already been proven that high frequency RAM improves performance in games, where CPU is threaded to the maximum. Here is one example:



That's is why i did not bother to prove something that was proven already in many benchmarks. My point was to compare the processors at the same RAM settings 1600 MHz, 9-9-9-24, 1.5 volts.

DDR3 is still relevant for Skylake low-end and mid-range builds, and if i was to bench skylake chips with DDR4 2400 MHz RAM, i'd do the same for sandy bridge - i would use 2400 MHz DDR3, so that both processors could show their maximum performance potential.
 
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Ahh yes, the titan x tested on a 2500k shows performance increases in a title or couple from memory. A 2011 processor and a 2015 card. It's like testing for cpu performance differences but lowering the res to 800x600 to do it.... who plays there?!!!!

I have deja vu... just went over why that is in another thread. A bit frustrated of seeing unrealistic situations to prove points. Like a 2500k and a titan x. 2500k ipc holds the thing back too. I'm sure you saw that from stock to overclocked testing with leaving the memory the same.

Regarding your memory at 2400..you will need to significantly raise the ddr3 CAS rating to match ddr4 (ddr3 is at 10/11 while ddr4 is 14+ typically). Then it's running a lot slower than it could as well...

Anyways as always, thanks for the testing!
 
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Nice comparison, although for Arma 3 you should have used very popular YAAB as it shows a bit more realistic performance than playing single player mission. Thanks.
How do i launch that? I've placed the file in my "MPMissions" folder. What's next? If i go to multi player, LAN, i do not see this benchmark option!

Ahh yes, the titan x tested on a 2500k shows performance increases in a title or couple from memory. A 2011 processor and a 2015 card. It's like testing for cpu performance differences but lowering the res to 800x600 to do it.... who plays there?!!!!
Yes, exactly earthdog! What's why i did this bench in a real life scenario - people will not buy GTX1070 video cards and Z170 motherboards for Core i3 6320. A GTX970 or GTX1060 with a H110 or B150 motherboard will be the most likely scenario. Also graphic settings will be set to the maximum point of simply keeping FPS just above 60 FPS, not to the absolute maximum, not to the medium, but to the sweet spot!
 
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How do i launch that? I've placed the file in my "MPMissions" folder. What's next? If i go to multi player, LAN, i do not see this benchmark option!
Place it into SPMissions folder, then in game: single player > scenarios.
 
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If you agree, artas, I don't understand why you would post that testing (video with titan x)...

As far as ddr3 2400 and ddr4 2400...you going to be able to match timings? What about secondary and tertiary timings?



Good to know what gpus were used in your testing. Did I miss it in the text in the first post? If so, apologies...if not, that's needed info man.. :)
 
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If you agree, artas, I don't understand why you would post that testing (video with titan x)...
Just to agree with Kanan, that high frequency DDR4 does improve CPU performance, even though it takes an almost absurd video card to conform it (Titan X), just as we noticed it.

As far as ddr3 2400 and ddr4 2400...you going to be able to match timings? What about secondary and tertiary timings?
No, and that is the most important thing that some people miss.

I had the chance to recently test Crucial Ballistix Tactical 2X8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 {8-8-8-24} VS Corsair Vengeance Pro Gold 2X8 GB 2400 MHz DDR3 {11-13-13-31} on my Z97, Core i7 5775C 4 GHz, GTX980 Ti computer. I've tested all the games that i currently use for benchmarks, and there was no difference in performance! I think the RAM performed equally, because the latencies of both were rather equal. But still i was dumb-founded. Was it because my CPU was a high-end? What if i did use Core i5 2500? Would the results differ you think?
 
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Nice benchmarks. Pretty much expected. Most benchs I run place my i7 2700k at 4.8ghz to 5.0ghz on par with i7 6700k. At least it is close enough for me to not feel the need to upgrade. Granted there are some nice motherboard features out there that I am missing like m.2 sata but for gaming the difference isn't large enough to invest the cash in at this time. Of course you can OC the 6700k but basically the $/FPS is not worth it yet.
 
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Just to agree with Kanan, that high frequency DDR4 does improve CPU performance, even though it takes an almost absurd video card to conform it (Titan X), just as we noticed it.



No, and that is the most important thing that some people miss.

I had the chance to recently test Crucial Ballistix Tactical 2X8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 {8-8-8-24} VS Corsair Vengeance Pro Gold 2X8 GB 2400 MHz DDR3 {11-13-13-31} on my Z97, Core i7 5775C 4 GHz, GTX980 Ti computer. I've tested all the games that i currently use for benchmarks, and there was no difference in performance! I think the RAM performed equally, because the latencies of both were rather equal. But still i was dumb-founded. Was it because my CPU was a high-end? What if i did use Core i5 2500? Would the results differ you think?
I heard something about bandwidth on the 2500K, but can't place my finger on it... :(

But it makes sense what you listed above it about the same 1600 Mhz CL8 vs 2400 CL11... big difference there. It also depends on the program using to test... does it need more and respond better to bandwidth, or tight timings?? Program specific IMO.
 
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I had the chance to recently test Crucial Ballistix Tactical 2X8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 {8-8-8-24} VS Corsair Vengeance Pro Gold 2X8 GB 2400 MHz DDR3 {11-13-13-31} on my Z97, Core i7 5775C 4 GHz, GTX980 Ti computer. I've tested all the games that i currently use for benchmarks, and there was no difference in performance! I think the RAM performed equally, because the latencies of both were rather equal. But still i was dumb-founded. Was it because my CPU was a high-end? What if i did use Core i5 2500? Would the results differ you think?
RAM speeds are over-rated. DDR4 doesn't bring any significant performance benefits over DDR3. Only handful of programs benefit from faster RAM. And that is coming from a user who has always had fast RAM.
 
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Depends on the game / program always. Not all games profit from high bandwidth, some do (iirc BF1, Arma 3 and some more). If they do, they do so aside from the video card, unless the video card is the limiting factor anyway. In the end, it would benefit a strong GPU like 980 Ti upways.

There's simply no reason to cheap out on Ram. The price difference between DDR4 2400 and 3000 for example isn't high, but it will easily pay off.
 

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with a 2500k and 3770k in the house and some glorious DDR3 2400 on a GTX 1080, i can vouch that the faster ram does help in FPS once you pass 4.5GHz.
 

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Software Windows 10 pro x64 (all systems)
Benchmark Scores Laptops: i7-4510U + 840M 2GB (touchscreen) 275GB SSD + 16GB i7-2630QM + GT 540M + 8GB
I'd love to hear some details. What title(s)/settings, and res did this happen? Have any links to your testing we can read?
i've linked all over the forums to other peoples testing, but basically the more VRAM a title uses, the better performance you're gunna get with faster system ram. even sandy bridge keeps up with modern chips as long as your ram is 1866+
 

Mussels

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Power Supply Corsair HX 750i (Platinum, fan off til 300W)
Mouse Logitech G903 + PowerPlay mousepad
Keyboard Corsair K65 Rapidfire
Software Windows 10 pro x64 (all systems)
Benchmark Scores Laptops: i7-4510U + 840M 2GB (touchscreen) 275GB SSD + 16GB i7-2630QM + GT 540M + 8GB
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