At its stock 2.66GHz clockspeed, the Intel Core i5 750 puts on a decent show. Thanks to four cores, 8MB of cache and a dual-channel memory controller, there's plenty of multi-threaded muscle for media encoding or image rendering.

In fact, compared to Intel's new dual-core processors, such as the Core i5 661 and Core i5 665K, the Core i5 750 is an absolute bargain. We'd also take it over any of AMD's Phenom II X4 chips. That includes the excellent Phenom II X4 965 BE in its most recent C3 stepping.

However, inject the AMD Phenom II X6 1055T into the equation and things get a little more complicated. For just one pound more than the 750, the 1055T gives you six cores and a lot more grunt than the Core i5 750 in highly threaded applications such as video encoding.

The arrival of the new Intel Core i5 760 hardly makes life any easier, either. After all, the 760 is essentially the same chip clocked 133MHz higher. But it only costs an extra fiver. Surely that makes it a no brainer?

Not necessarily. In our overclocking tests, the Core i5 750 actually has the edge over the new 760 model. Of course, mileages vary when it comes to overclocking results. Pick another pair of chips off Intel's production line and the results could very well be reversed. But the main point to absorb is that the newer, slightly pricier chip isn't necessarily faster in extremis.

What's more, both at stock clocks and overclocked, the Core i5 750 beats seven shades out of the six-core AMD Phenom II X6 1055T in software that benefits more from the strength of individual cores rather than the sheer number of them - think games or file decompression.

We liked:

In an age where core counts and fancy features grab all the headlines, the Core i5 750 proves that four cores and a solid underlying CPU architecture still gets the job done. As a gaming chip, it remains one of our favourites. It's hardly a slouch when it comes to media encoding, either.

We disliked:

If content creation and other highly threaded applications are your bag, there's no doubting AMD's Phenom II X6 1055T is the weapon of choice at this price point. Likewise, the arrival of the new Intel Core i5 760 has left the 750 looking a little redundant.

Verdict:

A great gaming chip that's just beginning to show its age.

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