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HWM+HardwareZone.com Editor's Choice Tech Awards - Part 1

HWM+HardwareZone.com Editor's Choice Tech Awards - Part 1

Best Mainstream Desktop CPU

Editor's Choice Tech Awards - Computing

Making a comeback in a different format after a hiatus of eight years, the HWM+HardwareZone.com Tech Awards 2010 honors the best in tech products and services of the past year. There are two segments, the Reader's Choice awards, which are voted by our subscribers and the Editor's Choice awards, which are awarded by the editorial teams of HWM and HardwareZone.com.

For the Editor's Choice awards, hundreds of products in 32 categories were assessed, with a final list of 150 products nominated as the best in class. These products must be released between December 2008 and November 2009 and all must have undergone our rigorous benchmarking and evaluation. The criteria used include the performance and features of the products, the user-friendliness and the overall value.

Due to the number of categories, we have split this article into two parts - computing and consumer electronics. Today, we'll be looking at the best in computing, so without further ado, let's dive straight to the heart of computing, the processor itself.

Best Mainstream Desktop CPU

When it comes to mainstream desktop processors, we looked at the entire platform cost to find out the value proposition since there's quite a price disparity between AMD and Intel mainstream processors. In other words, we'll be factoring the cost of the motherboard together with the cost of the processor in the evaluation.


There are practically two brands out there for x86 desktop processors - AMD and Intel. Based on what these two companies define as their mainstream products, we have identified two nominees:

  • AMD Athlon II X4 630
  • Intel Core i5-750

And the Winner is

Mainstream CPU Benchmarks (Selected)
Benchmark/Processor Model AMD Athlon II X4 630 Intel Core i5-750
SYSmark 2007 144 189
Cinebench 10 8859 11344
Crysis 1.1 70.89 106.13

In our benchmark results, from system suites to video rendering and gaming, the Intel Core i5-750 had the upper hand in terms of performance. The inclusion of other features like Intel Turbo Boost along with a clear advantage over the Athlon II in terms of power consumption meant that on two of three major factors, the Core i5-750 was ahead. The lower price of the Athlon II kept it interesting and competitive but in the end, we felt that the Intel Core i5-750 deserved the accolade for its technological edge and performance.

The table below illustrates how the two processors fared in our various criteria, ranging from performance to value. The prices quoted are the figures at the time of the review.

Scoring Breakdown
Criteria/Model AMD Athlon II X4 630 Intel Core i5-750
Performance 8.0 9.0
Features 8.0 8.5
Value 8.0 7.0
Overall 8.0 8.5
Price US$113 US$200

For more details on how we selected our winners, check out the full reviews and articles listed at the References section at the end.