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Today marks the launch of a new CPU architecture and chipset family from Intel marking the replacement for the Clarkdale and Allendale platforms that used the LGA-1156 interface. This marks a top-to bottom change as the new CPUs cannot be used on a motherboard using older chipsets. The enthusiast wanting the fastest system on the planet will still want a X58 board with a Core i7-980X as this is meant to replace CPUs like the Core i7 870 and Core i5-661 rather than the fancier 6-cores which will be replaced later in the year.
One of the main goals of the new platform is to take gaming into the mainstream with the latest 3D casual games and Mainstream games. The average gamer doesn’t require or need the GeForce GTX 580 or RADEON HD 6970 graphics cards to play the games that matter the most. In point of fact, if you look at the NPD sales charts for PC games, the vast majority of the top 20 titles are The Sims or World of Warcraft related games. Even the best-selling game of December 2010 (25% of all software sold), Call of Duty Black Ops is a DirectX 9.0 based game. In point of fact, the vast majority of games released today are still DX 10.0 or 10.1 based with 15 DX11 titles released since last year. The casual gamer makes up more than 3x the hardcore gamer crowd. For these people, the new Intel Sandy Bridge architecture is perfect as they can play the games that they want to play with increased speed and playability over the previous generation Arrandale and Clarkdale CPUs which had GMA HD graphics on the same die but not the same package. Today’s review is on the Intel Core i5-2500K CPU with the DH67BL Bearlake motherboard which will highlight the new processor and integrated graphics.