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Intel Core i7-4770K Review – Haswell on Desktop

4770K Review

Price Reference:

  • Intel Core i7-4770K is being sold for around $340. That’s around $30 higher than what Core i7-3770K was launched for.
  • 5-15% performance improvement over Ivy Bridge
  • Lower power consumption on idle
  • Faster integrated graphics processor
  • Support for faster DDR3 memory
  • Priced higher than its predecessor
  • Thermal issues are still present
  • Overclocking hasn’t gotten any better

Finally, we are here at final words and summarizing the whole Haswell platform in a few lines is kind of difficult since it has two very different sides; desktop and mobile. For most part, we’ll stick to the desktop side of things.

The Core i7-4770K, that we tested, is the top-end Haswell desktop chip and it’s the direct replacement for last year’s Core i7-3770K and the Core i7-2600K from two years back. If we only compare the performance of the latest chip with its predecessors, the Haswell makes a pretty good sense since we have seen performance increments ranging between 5 to 15% and occasionally, even more. That’s a decent performance advantage for a yearly upgrade.

However, if we bring other data points like power consumption and heat output into the comparison then the new 4770K doesn’t seem to impress. Idle power consumption is marginally lower as compared to 3770K but on load, its other way around. Likewise, the thermal issues that came to surface last year with Ivy Bridge are still not fixed. The new chip still gets as hot as last year’s chip and sometimes even more. However, the 4770K makes up for the extra power consumption and heat output with some extra performance over its predecessor.

Coming to the overclocking which is a major consideration for desktop users, Haswell now has all the knobs and pulls from the Sandy Bridge-E HEDT platform but overall, it has gone downhill while following the pattern set by Ivy Bridge. We were only able to hit 4.5 GHz on our chip whereas last year, our 3770K hit 4.63 GHz with lower voltage. And the Sandy Bridge for 2011 does 4.8 GHz+ like a walk in the park.

That’s pretty much a wrap about the desktop side of Haswell. All of the things that we didn’t like about desktop Haswell are the trade-offs Intel made to make the new platform more mobile-friendly as that’s what the main focus of Intel and all other major semiconductor manufacturers since last year or so. And on the mobile side, Haswell seems to be excelling anywhere it strikes. It has way better power characteristics and faster integrated graphics on mobile platform as compared to the Ivy Bridge. It has enabled notebook manufacturers to offer as much as full day’s battery life and we’ve seen that in the recently launched mid-2013 MacBook Air. But that’s just the start, we’ll be seeing a lot of mobile-related benchmarks set by Haswell in upcoming months as more notebooks and AIOs based on the new platform make their way to market.

Lastly, the major question is if the Haswell is for you or not? On desktop, the answer is simple. If you currently have Ivy Bridge or Sandy Bridge then no but if you have anything older than that then yes. And if you are purchasing a new system then Haswell is totally worth spending a few extra bucks over the Ivy Bridge. On mobile, Haswell is definitely worth upgrading. Even if you move up from an Ivy Bridge based notebook/ultrabook, you’ll be seeing much better graphics performance and battery. If you are purchasing a new notebook, then Haswell should be your only option.

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