Intel has officially introduced its graphics core-less Sandy Bridge processors by launching three new Core i5 SKUs. Mobile Celeron processors have also tipped up, adding some extra graphics oomph to a very lightweight line-up.
Both Intel and AMD partake in this time-honoured tradition of scavenging the pile of defective silicon looking for parts to sell as a “new” CPU. In this case, Intel has dug up three desktop processors from the Sandy Bridge pile and called them the Core i5-2550K, i5-2450P and i5-2380P. Simply put, these processors have disabled graphics cores.
The 2550K (unlocked 3.4GHz, 1MB L2, 6MB L3, 4 cores/4 threads) has a small 100Hz speed bump, compared to the 2500K, but with the graphics core is disabled. However, it does seem to make a very good gaming chip. A likewise-clocked 2600K will run you around £100 extra for the privilege of hyper threading and 2MB extra of L2 cache. You might consider picking up a 2550K instead of the 2600K and invest the difference in a graphics card. After all, there aren't many games out there taking full advantage of four cores, much less the four extra threads in the 2600K.
In similar fashion you can also find a Core i5 2450P (3.2GHz, 1MB L2, 6MB L3, 4 cores/4 threads) which Intel is listing at $195 for 1K unit trays, or the 2380P (3.1GHz, 1MB L2, 6MB L3, 4 cores/4 threads) which is $18 cheaper.
Intel is also reinforcing its mobile line-up with lightweight Celerons, and by lightweight we mean bantam weight.
These CPUs, four of them, are: Mobile Celeron B815 (1.6 GHz, 512KB L2, 2MB L3, two cores, $86), B720 (1.7GHz, 512KB L2, 1MB L3, two cores, $70), and ultra-low voltage 867 (512KB L2, 2MB L3, 2 cores, $134) and 797 (1.4GHz, 512KB L2, 1MB L3, single core, $107).
You won't get much bang for your buck on these, except perhaps on the B815 where Intel thought it proper to increase the Turbo frequency of the graphics core by 100MHz to 1050MHz.