Intel Core i7-4770K Review: Haswell Has Landed

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We've been talking about Intel's 4th Generation Core processor technology, codenamed Haswell, for over two years now.  If you've been hanging around these parts and are like most self-respecting geeks, you've likely been feeling the build-up of Haswell for quite some time.  Intel has disclosed lots of information on their latest processor technologies, from its 22nm 3D Tri-Gate transistors, to its beefed-up integrated graphics core.  Sure, there's marketing hype and press releases but at some point you've got to have execution -- and today is all about execution for Intel.

Intel is officially launching Haswell today, their 4th Generation Core processor technology for the desktop market, with our follow-on coverage of dual core and mobile Haswell offerings coming up quickly on June 3rd.  Haswell marks a number of firsts for Intel, including leading-edge technologies like on-chip voltage regulators, eDRAM, and their first graphics engine that fully supports the DX11.1 specification and OpenGL 4.0.  With these new features alone, Haswell is primed to offer significant performance and feature enhancements, the likes of which should appeal first and foremost to mainstream consumers; but there's also plenty brought to the table for the performance enthusiast here as well.  First, let's dig into the specifications of Intel's Haswell desktop variant and then we'll dive deeper into its underlying technologies going beyond just high level speeds and feeds.

Intel Core i7-4770K Processor

Intel 4th Generation Core Processor Core i7-4770K
Specifications & Features

8-Way Multi-Task Processing: Runs 8 independent processing threads in one physical package.

Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0: Dynamically increases the processor frequency up to 3.9 GHz when applications demand more performance. Speed when you need it, energy efficiency when you don’t.

Intel Hyper-Threading Technology: Allows each core of the processor to work on two tasks at the same time providing unprecedented processing capability for better multi-tasking, and for threaded applications.

Intel Smart Cache: 8MB of shared cached allows faster access to your data by enabling dynamic and efficient allocation of the cache to match the needs of each core significantly reducing latency to frequently used data and improving performance.

CPU Overclocking Enabled (with Intel Z87 Chipset): Fully unlocked core multiplier, power, base clock and DDR3 memory ratios enable ultimate flexibility for overclocking.

Graphics Overclocking Enabled (with Intel 8 Series Chipset): Unlocked graphics multiplier allows for overclocking to boost the graphics clock speed. 

A wafer of 22nm Haswell Dies

Integrated Memory Controller
: Supports 2 channels of DDR3-1600 memory with 2 DIMMs per channel. Support for memory based on the Intel Extreme Memory Profile (Intel XMP) specification.

Chipset/Motherboard Compatibility: Compatible with all Intel 8 Series Chipsets

AES-NI: Provides processor instructions that help to improve performance for AES encryption and decryption algorithms.

Built-in Visuals: New enhanced built-in visual features deliver a seamless visual PC experience for doing everything from simple e-mail to enjoying the latest 3D and HD entertainment. The built-in visuals suite includes:

Intel Quick Sync Video Technology: Media processing for incredibly fast conversion of video files for portable media players or online sharing.

Intel InTru 3D: Stereoscopic 3D Blu-ray playback experience in full HD 1080p resolution over HDMI 1.4 with 3D.

Intel Clear Video HD Technology: Visual quality and color fidelity enhancements for spectacular HD playback and immersive web browsing.

Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 2.0 (Intel AVX 2.0): Increased performance for demanding visual applications like professional video & image editing.

Intel HD Graphics 4600: Significant 3D performance for immersive mainstream gaming on a broad range of titles. The dynamic graphics frequency ranges up to 1250MHz.

Intel Haswell Quad-Core Processor Die Shot

As we noted earlier, Haswell is the codename of a brand new microarchitecture that will be foundation of an entire line of desktop, server, and mobile processors in 2013 and beyond. It is a “Tock” in Intel’s "Tick-Tock" CPU release cadence, which is to say it is a major micro architectural update and not a mild revision or shrink of an existing design.

Above we have a die shot of a Haswell Core processor, along with the features and specifications of the new Core i7-4770K processor we’ll be showcasing here. Some of the features will sound similar to previous Intel processor offerings, but make no mistake, these are completely new chips. They may leverage many technologies from previous Intel CPU microarchitectures, but with Haswell, Intel has redesigned virtually all of the execution engines, integrated a much more powerful graphics core, and built in support for new extensions that could drastically improve performance.

We’ll explain more and dive a little deeper into Haswell on the pages ahead. But before we do, we’d like to reference a few previous HotHardware articles with information pertinent to today’s launch:

We've covered a number of the features inherent to Haswell and its companion 8-series chipset, so we won't be going in-depth again here. Intel's 8-Series chipsets will offer Intel Smart Response Technology (SRT) and Rapid Storage Technology (RST) which we covered in our Z68 launch piece. Our coverage of Intel's 22nm Tri-Gate transistor announcement gives some detail on the manufacturing process technology used with Ivy Bridge and the various Haswell labeled stories cover many of the details Intel has released in the months leading up to today's launch.

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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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