Intel Core i7-4770K Review: Haswell Has Landed

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Intel’s 4th Generation Core processors featuring the Haswell microarchitecture look similar to the Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors that came before, but these new chips require a new socket, LGA 1150. Along with the new socket, Haswell-based 4th Generation Core processors require motherboards built around Intel’s 8-Series chipsets as well, but we should note that heatisnks compatible with socket LGA 1155/1156 will also work with LGA 1150 processors -- which is a good thing for the average consumer and OEMs alike.

Intel Core i7-4770K, Top and Bottom

The processor you see pictured here will be Intel’s flagship 4th Generation Core processor at launch, the Core i7-4770K. We’ll have more details on this particular processor on the pages ahead, but to quickly summarize, the Core i7-4770K is a quad-core part with a base clock of 3.5GHz and maximum Turbo clock of 3.9GHz. It features Intel HD 4600 series on-die graphics (formerly known as GT2), and since it is a K-SKU, it is fully unlocked. Along with the Core i7-4770K, Intel is launching a bevy of other processors for various form factors and price points. We’ll have more information on those other processors a little later on as well.

Underneath their integrated heat-spreader, quad-core 4th Generation Core processors sport a rectangular die of roughly 177mm2. The processors are manufactured using Intel’s advanced 22nm process node with tri-gate transistors and they feature more powerful on-die graphics than before, a new CPU microarchitecture, and number of other tweaks and enhancements as well. Haswell supports new power states and supports connected standby. It also features new AVX 2.0 instructions that can improve floating point performance with some workloads by 2X. Haswell also has a fully integrated voltage regulator as well, which is actually part of the CPU die itself. The fully integrated voltage regulator, or FIVR as it is known, frees up motherboard area and saves OEM some costs too, but FIVR also results in other benefits like more dynamic power arrangements and increased efficiency (FIVR is on all Haswell processors, not just mobile parts).

The Haswell microarchitecture leverages technology from previous generation Intel processors, but much of the CPU (and the platform) has been updated to increase performance and power efficiency, and to ensure good scaling. Intel has stated that Haswell scales so well, it will find its way into a wide range of form factors, ranging from Tablet PCs to big-iron servers. The key pipelines in the processor remain largely unchanged over Ivy Bridge, though Haswell features improved code fetch and better brand prediction and more Out-Of-Order resources. There are two additional dispatch ports in the processors, a larger L2 TLB (translation look-aside buffer), and the bandwidth to the processor’s cache has been doubled.

As we’ve mentioned, Haswell-based 4th Generation Core processors also feature Intel’s Advanced Vector Extensions 2.0, or AVX 2. AVX 2 essentially doubles up on the AVX instructions first introduced with Sandy Bridge. AVX 2.0 supports 256-bit integer vectors and adds hardware FMA units to the core. Haswell can perform double the number of single and double-precision FLOPs as Sandy Bridge and AXV 2 adds new integer and gather instructions as well. That double-bandwidth cache we mentioned earlier was introduced to keep the wider vector units in Haswell fed.

Another major addition coming with some Haswell-based 4th Generation Core processors in an on-package eDRAM cache. This 128MB eDRAM cache is one of the ways Intel was able to improve the performance of its top-end Iris Pro GT3e graphics engine, but it’s actually a fully coherent L4 cache that can be shared between the CPU and GPU. The eDRAM cache is co-located on the CPU package (it’s not part of the die) and offers 50+GB/s of read/write bandwidth. We’re told the eDRAM cache at idle uses only about 1/2w to 1w of power, and up to 3.5w to 4.5w when it’s fully utilized, but it can also be powered down when not in use. As of today though, none of Intel's socketed 4th Gen processors will feature this eDRAM--it's currently reserved for premium mobile parts.

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RCone one year ago

Looks like you could use this CPU as a room heater. Yikes!

ImJustADemo one year ago

Lmao XD

Anusha one year ago

just because it runs at a high temperature doesn't mean it heats more than the previous CPUs. in fact, it doesn't. it only runs at a high temp because the heat spreader isn't soldered to the die. there is a bad heat transfer medium betweem them: the thermal paste.

marco c one year ago

What makes you say that? A full system under load barely pulled over 100w.

LanceStrikers one year ago

Ill stay on budget pc im not really more on heavy work loads :v

Kidbest100 one year ago

This looks like a very worthy successor to Ivy Bridge for sure, however I was expecting (And so was everyone else I can safely say at this point) to get a little more juice out of this TOCK level CPU.

It's still a freaking wonderful thing, but I'm just a little sad we didn't see much more raw performance gains.

Oh well, it's still amazing, and I certainly would not mind getting a rig built with this as its heart, no sign of that happening ever though :P

JDiaz one year ago

Intel is mainly pushing Haswell for better mobile solutions and this review is of the desktop chip!

Features like the Iris Pro GMA 5100/5200 will only be available for the mobile versions and support for the full range of S0ix power states will only be supported on the mobile chips for maximum battery life potential.

So expect more bang for your buck with tablets, hybrids, and laptops that use Haswel than the desktop/server versions...

acarzt one year ago

I'm building a Haswell based computer right now! I just got all my parts yesterday!

I'll be replacing the computer in my sig.

Intel Core i7 4770k

2x 120GB Kingston HyperX 3K SSDs in a RAID 0 (Atto bench results show 1.1GB+ read AND write speeds)

2x 4GB G. Skill DDR3 2400Mhz 10-12-12-31 timings

ASRock x87 Extreme6 MB

Corsair TX850M psu

4x 1.5TB HDD in a raid 10

A lite-on Blu-Ray drive

I will be moving my 660 Ti over to do a couple ot benches to see what improvements the new system has over my last one with the same GPU. I want to wait for the 760 Ti to come out to see how it performs, but if I get impatient, I might just buy a 770.

The system is already assembled except for the 4x 1.5TB drives and I haven't moved the 660ti over yet. I'm on igp right now. i also decided to go with Windows 8. I like it so far, but it is taking a little getting used to.

MattBrowning one year ago

Nice review, Marco and Dave. Very good information. I have to get a new PC for work and school. Plan on building one, and trying to decide the CPU.

N4nd0 one year ago

I still have my 980x, no reason to change yet.

Tyotukovei one year ago

I came into computer building a firm believer in AMD... mainly due to my lack of funds (what with being a teenager with a part-time job). Still a lack of funds, but the more time I invest into looking at benchmarks and reviews, the more Intel looks like the leader of the pack. How this might change in the future with them investing so much less in the desktop side of things and pursuing the mobile market I don't know, but I plan on Intel being part of my next build. The 8350 is only so good, and with more and more programs taking full advantage of all 8 cores, it's getting better and better... if I was rendering and doing more soft work. Thanks for this very informative review. I look forward to Intel's next "TICK" for desktops.

BigKihd one year ago

Dying to get this proc, I have the Asus Z87 Sabertooth still NIB

BigKihd 9 months ago

Ive have this Asus Z87 Sabertooth sitting here for so long waiting to put this 4770K, the board is still new in the box, just cant afford to get a proc, haha. Maybe one day

nfs3freak 8 months ago

It's probably not worth upgrading to this from a Core i7-3770k yeah? I think I'll save up for the next generation of Intel cpu

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