I’ve got my hands on a device built on an Intel Core i7-5500U in these last days and I’m going to tell you a couple of things about its performance in this post.
As you might know already, this is one of the fastest 15W Broadwell U processors that will be embedded on various computers in this next couple of months, that’s why I’m pretty sure many of you want to know how it performs and how it compares to the Intel Haswell ULV processors (will compare it to the Core i7-4500U and the i7-4558U CPUs).
Now, I can’t tell share much about the device I’ve tested because it hasn’t been yet released, but I can tell you that: it wasn’t a laptop, which translates in two things. One, there was room for a more massive cooling solution, thus thermal limitations were not a problem in this case. And two, I couldn’t test the platform’s efficiency in any way, so there’s nothing about battery life in the article.
With those out of the way, let me tell you a few things about the Intel Core i7-5500U processor first. It’s a Broadwell U CPU with a 15W TDP, built on a 14 nm lithography. It runs at 2.4 GHz with TurboBoost frequencies of up to 3 GHz, thus is higher clocked than i7-4500U (1.8 GHz, 3 GHz TurboBoost), but lower clocked than the 28W i7-4558U (2.8 GHz, 3.3 GHz TurboBoost) processor. On the other hand, it’s still a dual-core processor with Hyper-Threading and 4 MB of cache and integrates a dual-channel DDR3-1600 memory controller.
Broadwell is a Tick step in Intel’s Tick-Tock strategy, which means it’s merely a shrink version of Haswell, and not a completely new platform (that’s reserved for Skylake later this year). The new processor is both more compact and more efficient than its predecessors though, and due of a couple of more or less minor improvements, it should also be about 5-15% faster than a comparable 15W Haswell CPU.
The i7-5500U processor is bundled with Intel’s new GT 5500 series integrated graphics, a chip with 24 Execution Units (EUs). In comparison the HD 4400 graphics integrated withing the i7-4500U processor only included 20 EUs, while the HD 5100 on the i7-4558U included 40 EUs. However, due to a much revamped GPU architecture, the GT 5500 graphics are able to outmatch both the HD 4400 and the HD5100 chips in synthetic and gaming tests. But we’ll talk about that in another post that will be available here on the site in a few days.
Anyway, long story short, the Intel Core i7-5500U platform is still not a power-horse, but will make its way in compact ultrabooks, desktops and all-in-ones and will be able to offer enough oomph for a solid everyday and multimedia experience. It will only handle modern games on low resolution and details though, but that’s something we’ll address in that other post I was mentioning earlier.
I ran a couple of benchmarks on this laptop. Our configuration included 16 GB of DDR3 RAM and a 3.5 inch 7200 rpm HDD (a Toshiba DT01ACA200 2TB HDD with a 64 MB buffer). Thus keep in mind that the numbers reported here will actually increase when pairing the platform with one of the modern SSDs available these days (which you’ll find on all the premium ultrapotables that will be launched this year).
|Benchmark||i7-5500U (2.4 GHz. 3.0 GHz TB)||i7-4500U (1.8 GHz, 3.0 TB)||i7-4558U (2.8 GHz, 3.3 GHz TB)|
|Cinebench R15 CPU||290 cb||260 cb||310 cb|
|Cinebench R15 CPU – Single Core||111 cb||116 cb||121 cb|
|Cinebench R11.5 CPU||3.23 pts||2.8 pts||3.45 pts|
|Cinebench R11.5 CPU – Single Core||1.43 pts||1.3 pts||1.45 pts|
|x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 – Pass 1||99.14 fps||90.5 fps||107.2 fps|
|x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 – Pass 2||18.12 fps||16.3 fps||20.4 fps|
The i7-5500U’s results are what I got with this test computer. For i7-4500U I’ve used the numbers in this post, as they have a larger pool sample. For the i7-4558U I’ve used the results from this review and this list. It’s not the most accurate approach, but for the purpose of this comparison will have to do.
Alright, so what are these numbers saying? Well, the picture is pretty obvious, the Broadwell i7 outmatches the i7-4500U in most cases and it’s nearly on par with the i7-4558U CPU. However, do not forget the latter is a 28 Wh processor, so the i7-5500U offers pretty much the same CPU performance, while requiring a lot less energy.
On the other hand, some might consider it would be fair to compare these two processors on a per clock performance, thus in the table below I’ve “normalized” both the Multi-core and the Single-core performance of these three (I considered the CPU runs at the TB frequency in Single Core tests). This is not accurate, since the processors aren’t always running at their base frequencies in either of the tests, so take the results as a “general” reference only, for the sake of comparison.
|Benchmark||i7-5500U normalized||i7-4500U normalized||i7-4558U normalized|
|Cinebench R15 CPU||121 cb||144 cb||110.7 cb|
|Cinebench R15 CPU – Single Core||37 cb||38 cb||36.6 cb|
|Cinebench R11.5 CPU||1.34 pts||1.55 pts||1.23 pts|
|Cinebench R11.5 CPU – Single Core||0.47 pts||0.43 pts||0.43 pts|
|x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 – Pass 1||41.3 fps||50.2 fps||38.2 fps|
|x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 – Pass 2||7.55 fps||9.05 fps||7.2 fps|
These results show that the i7-5500U sits somewhere between the Haswell Core i7 processors when it comes to performance per clock. However, I’m pretty sure the i7-5500U can get better results, as the tested version was dragged down byt the HDD on the test computer, as well as by the potential immature drivers available at this moment.
Regardless, at the end of the day, you should take out of this comparison the fact that the Intel Core i7-5500U offers a bump in performance over the Intel Core i7-4500U (and the i7-4510U) processors, without requiring more power.In fact, Intel claims it’s 10-20% more efficient, but I couldn’t test it this time.
On top of that, the performance boost offered by the Intel HD 5500 graphics withing the Broadwell i7 chip is even more significant, as you’ll find from my future post, where we’ll compare the Intel HD 5500, 4400 and 5100 chips. So stay tuned and let me know what you think about this Broadwell U CPU in the comment section below. Oh, and here’s a sneak peak on the i7-5500U’s GPU benchmarks results, and just wait till you’ll find out what this chip provides in games.
- 3DMark 11: P1207;
- 3DMark 13: Ice Storm – 54343, Cloud Gate – 5557, Sky Driver – 2770, Fire Strike – 764 ;
- CineBench 11.5: OpenGL 27.62 fps;
- CineBench R15: OpenGL 32.29 fps.
BTW, I also put up together a detailed list of all the Broadwell ultrabooks available in stores and you can check it out here, if you’re interested.