CPU: Intel i5-2500
Thermal Paste: Noctua NT-H1
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-V Pro
RAM: 2x4GB Patriot Viper Xtreme II 1600MHz DDR3
GPU: ASUS GTX 560Ti 448 Core
OS HDD: Patriot Pyro 60GB SSD
Secondary HDD: Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD
Ultimately, what we are hoping to obtain in our testing is an evaluation of the flexibility of the i5-2500 chip to undervolting, overclocking, and underclocking. This is opposed to the often-covered basic benchmark tests, and since there are dozens of resources for evaluating raw performance potential of the Sandy Bridge family, we'll not bog you down with more of the same. We will be testing CPU temperature and power draw with underclocked, default settings, and overclocked, while also undervolting to see how much more efficient a chip may become. Since this is a two-model jump from the i5-2300 we reviewed previously, and now that we have an i5-2500K on-hand for comparison, we'll compare the family as a whole and give you an idea of what you can expect from the entire i5 Sandy Bridge family. One of the data points will be a -.5GHz clock to the i5-2500, which puts it at the default frequency of the i5-2300, which will give us a good data point for direct comparison.
We will be testing under idle and load conditions, and all power-saving features have been disable (as well as Turbo Mode), so the processor will run at a constant frequency. Temperatures were made after 15 minutes of steady-state operation, with the timer being started when temperatures and/or voltage show minimal fluctuations. The power draw measurements were made with the Zalman PCM-1, which measures the voltage and current flowing to the CPU through the two 4-pin CPU power connectors. We'll be running benchmarks using the built-in benchmark tool of Far Cry 2 with both DX9 and DX10 settings, as well as DX11 performance using 3DMark11.