Intel Core i7-4770K Review: Haswell Has Landed
Performance Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: Summarizing the Core i7-4770K’s performance is somewhat difficult, simply because there is so much data to cover related to CPU and GPU performance and power. Strictly talking in terms of CPU performance, the Haswell-based Core i7-4770K performs on par with, or somewhat better, than the Ivy Bridge-based Core i7-3770K, but overall the differences are not dramatic. In some situations, the 4770K’s performance is flat versus the 3770K, but in others, like POV-Ray or our low-res game tests, for example, the Core i7-4770K finished well ahead.
The Core i7-4770K’s integrated Intel HD 4600 series graphics engine is clearly superior to the HD 4000 graphics in the 3770K, however. In every instance, the HD 4600 series GPU outran the HD 4000, sometimes by a large margin. Quick Sync video encoding was faster on the Core i7-4770K too.
Somewhat surprisingly, Haswell’s power consumption characteristics were mixed versus Ivy Bridge. Haswell’s idle power was lower, but peak power was actually somewhat higher. Of course, there is more to the story than idle and peak power. Haswell’s Fully Integrated Voltage Regular allows for faster switching between states and the chip can go into deeper sleep states as well. All of that bodes well for mobile applications, but in the desktop the real-world benefits are less tangible.
Intel's new 4th Generation Haswell microarchitecture holds a lot of promise. From a graphics standpoint alone (and we've only gotten a glimpse of what Intel has to offer, as we'll be following-up with Iris Graphics coverage), Haswell is an obvious leap forward in performance, capability and compatibility. Factor in Haswell's Quick Sync video transcode gains and core CPU performance-per-watt advantage and Haswell continues to show its value proposition. That said, Intel's 4th Generation quad-core desktop variant, the Core i7-4770K that we've shown you here today, doesn't offer huge gains over previous generation Ivy Bridge processor performance, at least with current software. To us, Haswell currently feels like its biggest play will be in the mobile space, at least until higher-end Haswell desktop CPUs come to market. Haswell mobile CPUs with Iris and Iris Pro Graphics engines, will undoubtedly shine brighter, especially when you look at performance-per-watt and battery life metrics.
All told, Haswell is the proverbial foundation for Intel's next round of products and product life cycle. Intel's 4th Generation Core processor technology has been enabled with many new functional blocks and features that will provide much-needed platform hooks for future generation enhancements and performance gains. We've seen this before; when it comes to Intel's "tock" cadence, the manufacturing machine is just getting warmed up. Stay tuned in the days and weeks ahead as we get more Haswell-based hardware in here for testing and review. Hot Hardware's Haswell Mobile coverage will be coming along very shortly and we'll be looking at Haswell overclocking and other performance characteristics as well--so stick around!