Intel Sandy Bridge (Core i5 2500K & i7 2600K) versus AMD Ryzen & Intel Coffee Lake: worth the upgrade?

Does your Sandy Bridge build need an upgrade? 86 tests provide the answer!


Test procedure

In this review you will find all the test results of the Intel Core i5 2500K and Core i7 2600K from the Sandy Bridge generation, which also give an excellent indication of the performance of the i5 2550K and i7 2700K. In the charts, the Sandy Bridge CPUs are identified by the red bars, while all Intel Coffee Lake models are blue and all AMD Ryzens green.

All processors are tested using the Windows 10 Creators Update with the energy profile set to High Performance (unless stated otherwise). Most of our benchmarks are done using the in processors integrated GPU, while a processor without iGPU (e.g. Intel Skylake-X or AMD Ryzen) are used in conjunction with a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. 

All of the game benchmarks are done in conjunction with a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti at Full HD resolution using medium and ultra settings. We choose this relatively low Full HD resolution because if possible the bottleneck is not the GPU but the CPU. In the first two graphs you can find the average amount of frames per second that is calculated (FPS).

Even more interesting is the 99th percentile frame time, seen in the last two graphs. This is the time in which 99% of all images in the test were calculated. A lower 99th percentile frame time means a lower maximum delay when calculating a new frame. It is a better method to show the worst-case performance of a CPU/GPU-combination instead of the minimum FPS that a lot of other publications show. Remember: minimum FPS is the lowest number of frames within each measured time span of one second, but it does not say much about negative peaks lasting less than one second. At many requests, we do count the 99th percentile frame time from this review onward to a minimum FPS value, so that even for those who do not understand the underlying technique, the graphs are understandable.

All test systems use 8 GB of memory per channel (16 GB with dual-channel and 32 GB with quad-channel) working at the highest clock frequency that is officially supported by the processors. We also use Samsung 850 Evo SSDs and Seasonic Prime Titanium 750W power supplies.

Recently, we have been measuring the current with a self-designed power meter, which measures the consumption directly via the CPU power cables. In this way, we can map the power consumption of processors even more accurately than we have previously by measuring the entire system consumption. We conduct power tests in idle as well as under various loads.

A list of the used benchmarks:

  • Content creation
    • Abobe Lightroom 6
    • Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 - Photo editing
    • Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 - Panorama
    • Adobe Premiere Pro 2017 - 4K Hardware.Info TV export
  • Video and audio encoding
    • x264 encoding
    • H.264 QuickSync / VCE encoding
    • x265 encoding
    • FLAC encoding
  • 3D-rendering
    • Blender 2.78c
    • Cinebench 15 (single- and multi-threaded)
  • Data compression and encryption
    • 7-Zip
    • WinRAR
    • AIDA64 - Zlib
    • AIDA64 - AES
    • AIDA64 - Hashing
  • Web browsing and Microsoft Office
    • Chrome 58 - Jetstream
    • Microsoft Word 2016 - 1000 pages to PDF
    • Microsoft Excel 2016 - Monte Carlo shares analysis
  • Integrated GPU benchmarks
    • 3DMark Skydiver
    • Counterstrike: GO
    • Minecraft
    • Dota 2
  • Gaming benchmarks (GTX 1080 Ti)
    • Battlefield 1
    • Doom
    • GTA V
    • Prey
    • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Power consumption
    • Cinebench 15
    • Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2017
    • Idle

The table below shows the specifications of our test systems.

Socket AM4
Motherboard ASRock Z370 Extreme4 ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ASUS Crosshair VI Hero
APU's: MSI X370 Krait Gaming
Chipset Intel Z370 Intel Z77 AMD X370
Memory G.Skill
16GB DDR4-2666/2400 CL14
16GB DDR3-1333 CL9 G.Skill
16GB DDR4-2666 CL14
SSD Samsung 850 Evo 500GB Samsung 850 Evo 500GB Samsung 850 Evo 500GB
Power Supply Seasonic Prime Titanium 650W Seasonic Prime Titanium 650W Seasonic Prime Titanium 650W
GPU (IGP tests) - -

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

GPU (overige tests) Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
OS Windows 10 x64 Creators Update Windows 10 x64 Creators Update Windows 10 x64 Creators Update


two products discussed in this review

  Product Lowest price

Intel Core i5 2500K

Socket 1155, 3.3 GHz, 4 cores, 95 W, 32 nm, Integrated graphics

Specifications Test results Reviews

Intel Core i7 2600K

Socket 1155, 3.4 GHz, 4 cores, 95 W, 32 nm, Integrated graphics

Specifications Test results Reviews

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