Same 32nm goodness, more efficient Microarchitecture
For benchmarking the Core i5-2500K Intel provided us with the DH67BL motherboard which came with a standard Intel Core i5 CPU cooler on top. The Core i7-2600K was put on the DP67BG (Extreme Edition) motherboard with the flagship XTS100H CPU cooler attached.
The rest of the goodies came from our end, starting with Kingmax 4GB DDR3-2200 ram, Zotac GeForce GTX 580 AMP! Edition graphics card, Kingston V-Series 64GB SSD with Windows 7 Ultimate and Corsairs HX1000W PSU.
First up are the 3D benchmarks which were performed to better realize the CPU pushing capabilities of the Sandy Bridge processors. Note that the 3DMark Vantage result of all the CPUs except the Sandy Bridge has a MSI GTX 480 Lightning instead of the Zotac GTX 580 AMP! Edition. The latter card was used for 3DMark 11 with all 3 CPUs tested below.
As you can see the Sandy Bridge CPUs perform neck and neck with a two generation old Nehalem Extreme Edition processor. The 965EE cost $999 in its day, these two processors aren’t even a 3rd of that asking price.