To find out information about the CPU used in the system, we can use the following command:
This gives us useful information about the CPU, such as the number of physical cores, virtual threads, virtualization support and more. An example output from a Haswell Xeon system looks like:
CPU op-mode(s): 32-bit, 64-bit
Byte Order: Little Endian
On-line CPU(s) list: 0-7
Thread(s) per core: 2
Core(s) per socket: 4
NUMA node(s): 1
Vendor ID: GenuineIntel
CPU family: 6
CPU MHz: 800.000
L1d cache: 32K
L1i cache: 32K
L2 cache: 256K
L3 cache: 8192K
NUMA node0 CPU(s): 0-7
The above CPU is a Xeon E3-1245V3. The CPU speed reading as 800MHz is correct – this is the speed that Intel’s Speed Step technology drops the CPU down to to conserve power when the system is idle.
This command can be really useful when you’re using an unfamiliar system or a virtual machine where you’re not sure what hardware – or virtual hardware – lies beneath the OS.
The above two CPUs are often shortlisted for entry/midrange gaming builds that aren’t overclocked; so how do they compare?
Both are quad-core CPUs without hyperthreading, so they offer 4 cores and 4 threads. The i5-3470 is clocked at 3.2GHz while the i5-3570 is 200MHz faster at 3.4GHz, and both CPUs feature Intel’s Turbo Boost v.2.0, reaching peak speeds of 3.6 and 3.8GHz respectively. This equates to ~6-7% performance difference if you’re running both CPUs at max. Both feature Intel’s HD2500 graphics – according to Intel’s ARK the i5-3570’s graphics are clocked fractionally faster – 1.15GHz as opposed to 1.10GHz, which is a negligible difference.
The i5-3570 is about 10% more expensive than the i5-3470 – 10% more cost for 6-7% more CPU performance isn’t bad, though you can’t really go too far wrong either way – if you’re $20 off a better graphics card you’re probably better off going that way and getting the i5-3470, whereas if you could do with a touch more CPU grunt it’s likely worth your $20 to grab the i5-3570.
We were asked to spec a customer build the other day who was torn between the above two processors. Here’s our thoughts on them.
E3-1245V2: Quad core, 8-thread, 3.4GHz -> 3.8GHz Turbo
E3-1275V2: Quad core, 8-thread, 3.5GHz -> 3.9GHz Turbo
All other specifications are equal apart from the 100MHz clockspeed difference. At this level 100MHz is a mere ~3% increase – not something that is going to be visible for most real-world applications. However, if there’s not much price difference it may be worth that extra bit of cash if you really do need every ounce of performance you can get (or just want the bragging rights). So what do they both cost (AU, our prices)?
$90 difference – or around a 30% premium above the E3-1245V2 for a 3% clockspeed increase.
If you have to have the utmost performance from a S1155 server chip with onboard graphics, there’s no other option. For most workstation users, however, the 3% is probably not going to be noticed – whereas the $90 could go towards a 128GB SSD or something similar where you’ll get a tangible speed boost. We would recommend taking a long hard look at the price difference – if you need it it’s $90 well spent but we’re pretty sure that most people will go with the E3-1245V2 at the end of the day and spend their $90 elsewhere.