Intel i5-2500K Benchmark in 2017: Finally Showing Its Age

By Published January 21, 2017 at 3:56 pm

Intel i5-2500K Blender Benchmark vs. 7600K,  6600K, 4690K, 3570K

Our Blender benchmarking is defined on Page 1 (see: CPU Testing Methodology), and has been deployed since the i7-7700K review that we recently posted. The benchmark process is to render a single frame of a 4K image that GN’s Andrew Coleman created, including several different effects and material types that impact render performance. The final image is shown below, for the curious. We’re processing fur (bottom left), motion blur (bottom middle), transparency, reflectivity and ray traces, and solid materials.

Each monkey has different effects applied, all stressing the components in different ways. During GPU rendering, for instance, the fur monkey stresses GPU memory in unique ways.


Intel i5 vs. i7 Rendering Performance

blender-cpu-benchmark 2500k

As the chart demonstrates, this is a benchmark where multithreaded CPUs really shine. The additional threads are fully utilized for each 16x16 tile that we render, so 2x the threads equates 2x the active in-flight tiles being rendered. We already talked i7 numbers in our 7700K review, so let’s focus on the Core i5 CPUs.

The Intel i5-2500K with stock frequency settings is able to render our scene in 106 minutes, making it the slowest device on the bench by a long-shot. The 3570K CPU, released in 2Q12, completes the frame in 94 minutes. A modern CPU, like last gen’s i5-6600K, is able to complete the task in 73 minutes. That’s about 30 minutes faster than the 2500K, or a reduction of about 31% time required. If you’re rendering using the CPU – as you might do if running both the GPU and CPU on a render task – then the upgrade is clearly substantial.

To provide some perspective for Sandy Bridge, the same-gen Core i7-2600K can render the scene in about the same time as the i5-6600K ($240) at 74 minutes. If you bought an i7-2600K back in the day, you’re still in decent shape in this particular benchmark. At least, compared to the i5 CPUs.

A trivial overclock to 4.5GHz on the i5-2500K moves us up to an 82-minute render time -- absolutely a worthwhile improvement, if you’re stuck on this CPU and rendering things.

Cinebench i5-2500K vs. 7600K, 6600K, 7700K Benchmarks

cinebench-cpu-benchmark 2500k

Using Cinebench for some quick synthetics, we’re seeing the i5-2500K operate expectedly at the bottom of the bench. The 2500K is pushing single-core performance at 124 cb marks, with multi-core at 460 marks. The overclocked variant at 4.5GHz performs ahead of the i5-3570K stock CPU, and just under the i5-4690K ($240) in single-core and multi-core performance.

3DMark FireStrike – i5-2500K vs. i5-7600K, 6600K, 4690K

3dm-firestrike-cpu-benchmark 2500k

3DMark FireStrike is posting the i5-2500K at 13498 total points, or 6190 on physics. That’s the score we care most about, since it isolates the CPU. The i5-3570K saw marginal improvements to 6808, and the 2600K is pretty heavily improved in physics with its 9033 score.

3dm-firestrike-fps-benchmark 2500k

As for what this means in practice, here’s the 3DMark FPS output. We’re seeing a physics FPS of 19.7 on the i5-2500K, compared to 26FPS when overclocked. Thje i5-3570K and i5-4690K both fall between the stock and overclocked i5-2500K. There’s some variance to testing with 3DMark, but these results are reliable.

3DMark TimeSpy – i5-2500K vs. i5-7600K, 6600K, 7700K, etc.

3dm-timespy-score-benchmark 2500k

3dm-timespy-fps-benchmark 2500k

For 3DMark TimeSpy as a lower level API test, we’re seeing the i5-2500K score at 2519 points, where the 3570K sits at 3050 points and the 6600K is at 4098 points. Overclocking the i5-2500K lands us at 3271 points (versus 2519), which plants the 2500K OC above the stock 2600K and 3570K, and just below the i5-4690K. Overclocking gains a lot of ground in these particular tests.

That’s all synthetic; of course, there’s only so far we can get with synthetics. We’ve got TimeSpy benchmarks in the article linked below, if you’d like to see more synthetics, but let’s move on to FPS benchmarks for now.

Continue to Page 3 for gaming benchmarks of the i5-2500K.

Last modified on January 21, 2017 at 3:56 pm
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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