Intel Core i7-4770K Haswell Desktop Processor Review


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Processor Testing Methodology

Since Haswell is the successor to Ivy Bridge, it makes sense to directly compare the two CPUs. For this review, I compared the Ivy Bridge-based Core i7-3770K against the Haswell-based Core i7-4770K. Since many of the major specifications of the two CPUs are the same– they have the same amount of cache, the same base and boost clock speeds, and so forth– I’m not expecting huge differences in performance. But who knows? Often I am surprised by what objective benchmark testing reveals.

I tested the Core i7-4770K processor at both its stock clock speed and the maximum stable overclock I could attain on all cores simultaneously, which was 4.5GHz. This was a disappointing 200MHz less than I was able to achieve when I originally tested the 3770K, itself not a particularly great overclocker. I’ll have more on this in the Overclocking section.

Since each CPU requires a different socket, I had to use two different motherboards to test. However, the memory, video card, and hard disks used were the same on both platforms. For the video card, I used a reference design AMD Radeon HD6850 running at stock clock speeds. Since the Haswell and Ivy Bridge integrated GPUs share L3 cache and memory bandwidth with the processor cores, the test configuration was different for CPU and iGPU testing:

  • CPU testing: integrated GPU disabled, discrete video card used. This frees up the cache and memory bandwidth to be used only by the CPU.
  • iGPU testing: Discrete video card removed, iGPU enabled. In this case the amount of memory dedicated to the iGPU was set at its maximum of 512MB.

Intel Z77 Express Test Platform

  • Motherboard: MSI Z77 MPower
  • Processor: 3.5GHz Intel Core i7-3770K
  • System Memory: 8GB DDR3-1600 (two 4GB DIMMs) at 9-9-9-27
  • Primary Drive: Seagate ST3500 500GB drive
  • Graphics Adapter: AMD Radeon HD6850
  • CPU cooler: Intel XTS100H

Intel Z87 Test Platform

  • Motherboard: MSI Z87 MPower Max
  • Processor: 3.5GHz Intel Core i7-4770K
  • System Memory: 8GB DDR3-1600 (two 4GB DIMMs) at 9-9-9-27
  • Primary Drive: Seagate ST3500 500GB drive
  • Graphics Adapter: AMD Radeon HD6850
  • CPU cooler: Thermalright Silver Arrow

Benchmark Applications: CPU

  • Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
  • Finalwire AIDA64 Extreme Edition v2.99.2446 (Beta)
  • Futuremark PCMark 7
  • Maxon CINEBENCH R11.5 64-Bit
  • x264Bench HD 5.0
  • SPECviewperf-11:
    • Lightwave 9.6
    • Autodesk Maya 2009
    • Siemens Teamcenter Visualization Mockup
  • SPECapc LightWave 3D v9.6
  • Handbrake 0.96 video transcoding
  • ArcSoft Video Converter 7 video transcoding
  • Blender 3D rendering
  • POV-Ray 3D rendering

Benchmark Applications: Integrated GPU

  • Aliens vs. Predator benchmark
  • 3DMark 11
  • Unigine Heaven 3.0
  • Lost Planet 2 Benchmark

Let’s start the benchmarking with an AIDA64 run in the next section.


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  1. Bruce Normann

    I’m more excited by the changes in the 8-series chip set, frankly. Finally, we have more than two SATA 6Gb/s ports coming directly out of the PCH. I assume the RAID-TRIM-SSD functionality that they introduced on the 7-series is still there…..

  2. David Ramsey

    Oh, yes, it’s still there. I would have preferred more PCI-E lanes, myself, but there you go…

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