Verdict:

Intel core i5 2500t

Usually when you see the words 'low power' next to a CPU it brings up thoughts of poor performance. The thinking is that every high-performance component is compromised to allow the processor to carry the 'low power' banner.

Well, its pleasing to say that the Core i5 2500T doesn't cut many corners at all, and in fact holds its own in the majority of our tests.

It's actually only just beaten by the two Core i7 processors in a few of the benchmarks.

Of course it helps no end that, unlike the Intel Core i3 2100, the i5 2500T is a fully paid up member of the quad-core brigade, with 6MB of L3 cache to back up its 2.3GHz clock speed.

Despite the lack of the i7 quad's HyperThreading, you do get Turbo boost, which can push that lowly core speed as high as 3.3GHz.

But – and there always has to be a but – Intel has locked the multiplier on the Core i5 2500T, so the overclocking options on the CPU part of the core are limited. But then this is a CPU really aimed at system builders or home users looking to build a quiet yet fairly powerful system.

On the other hand, there's quite a degree of tweaking to be had on the graphics side of the core. We were able to get it up to 1.65GHz before running into problems with Just Cause 2.

That's a pretty impressive overclock of 400MHz on the standard maximum Turbo speed of 1.25GHz.

Pricing details for the 2500T are a bit sketchy at the moment, but even if it does come out around the £150 mark, another £50 on top of the i3 2100, then it's still another nail in the coffin of the low-performing i3.

We liked

The Intel Core i5 2500T performs very well in our benchmarks, even with its low-power nature.

It would be the ideal CPU to base a media or HTPC around, since its low TDP means you could get away with using just a small quiet fan to keep it cool.

You can be pretty sure this chip will be high on the want list of many a quiet system builder.

We disliked

Once again Intel has decided to lock down the 2500T, so its overclocking options are pretty limited. But unlike the i3 2100, the 2500T has a lot of performance built in.

There's also the fact that it's got the lower-spec HD 2000 graphics chip inside it, rather than the K-series' HD 3000.

Final word

The Core i5 2500T performs so well you can almost forgive Intel about the lack of overclocking potential... almost.