Intel Core i5 661 Dual Core LGA 1156 Processor Review

Conclusions
So where do the Core i5 600 series processors fit into the scheme of things? Well, if it means anything, a quick look at my favorite online retailer found 20 H55 motherboards. Out of the 20, 19 were mATX boards. There was one H57 board, and it was also mATX.

So I’m thinking mostly HTPC, but really any application where a processor with decent power is needed, but 3D graphics won’t be used. Actually it would work great for my main rig, the one I’m at right now. I do occasionally mess around with a PopCap game or two, which take very little graphics power, but mostly I’m typing, editing photos, doing research, and reading email, Facebook, and Twitter. It would definitely consume less power than what I’m using, the entire rig likely would use less power than my video card alone. And it would definitely take up less space than my full tower. Hmmmmm…

The Intel Core i5 661 has plenty of power for doing those day to day tasks and maybe not so day to day like Photoshop, video editing, etc. Overclock it, which is very easy, and you will get a good performance boost to make those tasks run even faster. I’ve been assured by a very trusted fellow reviewer that HD video content is excellent, so it would be perfect for that HTPC. The i5 600 series processors will definitely make their way into consumer PCs, and I feel that is probably the intended market.

As I mentioned, there are four CPUs in the Core i5 600 series. Of the four, the i5 661 is the only one with the GPU clocked at 900mHz, the others are at 733mHz…so I guess that the 661 is the graphicsmeister of the series. The high graphics clock also makes this processor run at up to 87 watts, 14 more watts than the other processors in the series.

I found nothing not to like about this processor when used in its intended role. I guess that my only misgivings are if someone purchases this processor and later discovers gaming, especially higher-end games like Crysis or Oblivion…both older games but both requiring powerful systems. Or someone buying this processor with intentions of buying a video card for gaming later. In either case, the Core i5 750 quad core, which sells for $200, along with a decent video card, probably would have been the better choice.

The Intel Core i5 661 runs $210 at my favorite online retailer. The i5 670, clocked at 3.46gHz, is $300, the i5 660, clocked at the same 3.3gHz as the 661 is $208, and the i5 650 runs $195. The H55 motherboards are very inexpensive, running from $75 to $125. Considering the fact that a video card isn’t needed and that the system will easily run on a quality 400-450 watt power supply, you could build a system with the latest technologies for well under 600 bucks.

ThinkComputers.org gives the Intel i5 661 Processor a 10 out of 10 score.

Pros:
– On-die graphics are here, eliminating the need for a separate video card or motherboard integrated graphics
– Perfect for HTPC or non-gaming rig
– Excellent overclocker

Cons:
– None as long as the processor isn’t used for 3D gaming