Intel Core i7-4770K Review: Haswell Has Landed

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There's little question that current-generation microprocessors from Intel (and others) are complex designs that require highly-tuned, well-regulated power supplies of various voltages for multiple component blocks, along with both active and idle or standby power states. CPU cores, graphics cores, the DDR memory interface and PCI Express lanes, all need their own power planes, many of which are required to dynamically scale with varying workloads. 

Within the Haswell architecture, Intel's 22nm 3D Tri-Gate 3D transistor technology certainly helps drive lower power consumption in general but Haswell also has a few other tricks up it sleeve to further reduce power consumption. Specifically, Haswell is the first X86 processor to incorporate on-die voltage regulators, which in turn allows the chip to reduce the number of VREG inputs from five to one simple input.

In this simplified block diagram, Intel is showing Haswell's new FIVR, or Full Integrated Voltage Regulator, technology.  As it's shown here, Processor, Graphics, System Agent, IO and PLL (Phase Lock Loop / Clock) Voltage Regulators are now combined into a single input VR.  Intel has kept its DDR memory VREG discrete, so it can migrate with industry standard changes as needed.  Regardless, at a high level, Haswell's new FIVR power design allows for a dramatic reduction of complexity in motherboard design.  All those Voltage Regulator Modules are now on-chip. However, the intrinsic benefits of an integrated Voltage Regulator design go far beyond just board real estate savings. 

Haswell's integrated Voltage Regulator design also allows the chip to ramp voltages faster -- about 5X to 10X faster than the previous generation's external VR design.  Haswell's FIVR array actually operates at 125MHz.  As a result, Haswell is able to enter deeper sleep states and come out of those sleeps states more quickly.  This may not result in as dramatic a power consumption on the desktop but Intel is claiming up to 50 percent longer battery life for Haswell notebooks, versus the previous generation of Ivy Bridge machines.

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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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