Review Index:

The Haswell Review - Intel Core i7-4770K Performance and Architecture

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Haswell Graphics and Media Updates

Graphics System Improvements

Perhaps more important than the x86 core changes are the improvements Intel has made with regards to the integrated processor graphics.  While Ivy Bridge was rumored to be the death knell for discrete GPUs in the mobile market, both NVIDIA and AMD were able to find a place to market and sell their parts.  Haswell looks to be much less forgiving.

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The truth is that the graphics and media overview for Haswell is very similar to that of Ivy Bridge – including the same 6 domain partitioned architecture we saw at IDF last year.  Domain 1 includes the typical setup and front-end action, domain 2 handles rasterization, domain 3 has the compute units (shaders) that Intel calls Execution Units (EUs).  The fourth domain has CODEC engine, domain 5 is for video enhancement, and 6 is for displays.

This iteration will include support for DirectX 11, OpenCL 1.2, and OpenGL 4.0.

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This segmentation of the processor graphics allows for the same kind of modularity that the entire Haswell design is dependent on.  While the GT1 and GT2 options will still exist (as they do today with Ivy Bridge) the new hotness is the GT3 option that essentially doubles the computing power of the GPU; Intel calls this a "slice".

As I mentioned before, Haswell has decoupled the ring interconnect from the CPU so the GPU is able to pull more power over that bus to increase memory bandwidth without increasing the voltage to the CPU cores. Doing so lowers the required power consumption.

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Obviously the setup stages of the processor graphics needed to be improved in order to handle the increased performance of the GT3 iteration, so Intel has doubled the performance of most fixed function units.  The setup is able to push about 500 GB/s of internal bandwidth, and should be enough to keep the execution units (EUs) of the GT3 feed.

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Finally, the texture sampler on the new processor graphics will see as much as a 4x improvement for some modes.

A big reveal from Intel in early May was that 128MB of embedded DRAM would be included on some high end GT3 offerings, mostly aimed at the high-performance mobile markets and the thin all-in-one desktop solutions.  Even though those options aren't going to be available for desktop DIY users as replaceable parts, there is some hope that Intel might change course and offer a GT3 model with eDRAM for that market.  A quote from Intel on the subject:

We are very committed to the desktop enthusiast market and continue to offer multiple variants of our K-SKU line with awesome performance and unlocked capabilities.  We are assessing demand for Intel® Iris™ and Iris™ Pro graphics in our desktop socketed SKUs but are not offering a variant at launch.  With increasing demand for low-power and thinner systems we have prioritized our Iris and Iris Pro products for the mobile and desktop AIO market at this time, where Iris and Iris Pro have amazing power performance characteristics.

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For now, expect the Iris Pro solutions that utilize eDRAM to be limited to notebooks and AIOs.


Haswell Media Architecture

Much of the media capability changes are simply spec changes – covering more codecs with accelerated hardware, an improved video processing engine, and the like.

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The video codec engine sees additions of MJPEG (often used for web cameras) and SVC while improving overall quality for existing codecs too.  Video processing improves with the ability to convert frame rates, and to do image stabilization similar to what AMD does with SteadyVideo.  And you'll see that QuickSync performance will increase with the GT3 implementation as well.

Intel will be supporting 4Kx2K displays with Haswell, and with significant price drops on recent 4K TVs, this is good news.

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If you want video processing, Intel's Haswell will have you covered; you can see the additions to this segment at the bottom of the above slide. 

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With Haswell, concurrent video engines will be enabled to allow for higher throughput and better performance.  This will also result in a lower overall duty cycle and should increase battery life on mobile platforms in the process. 

Power management will be improved for mobile media consumption with improved power gating on the various "slices" on the GT3.  The full GPU doesn't have to be enabled for QuickSync or other video operations if the source doesn't require that much throughput.


Intel Wireless Display 4.1 Updates

Some pretty substantial changes are occuring with the new WiDi 4.1 release on Haswell including panel self refresh support, improved latency and Miracast certification.

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No longer locked into Intel wireless controllers, with WiDi 4.1 OEMs will be able to utilize Broadcom chips and still support wireless displays with the Intel standard thanks to a new licensing agreement.  The panel self refresh is great for displays that will support it and improving latency is definitely a necessity if you are going to be doing anything interactive on the WiDi monitor, including gaming.

Both Intel and AMD are now claiming harmless levels of latency are found in their respective wireless display solutions and I am eager to see which live up to those claims. 


Haswell Graphics Display Support

You have heard me mention support for three simultaneous displays as well as support for 4K resolutions when talking about the new Haswell design.  Intel provided a very interesting table that gives us information about how these displays can be configured and what maximum resolutions they can run at in each setup.

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For reference, the "1 chip vs 2 chip" designation refers to the CPU + PCH (south bridge) package option for notebooks; desktop users and most laptops will likely still be built on the 2 chip design, so lets focus on that. With DisplayPort and embedded DisplayPort, you can support three monitors at 3840x2160 @ 60 Hz out of the processor graphics on Haswell - pretty impressive.  You'll be able to run a single HDMI/DVI as well as a single VGA connection as well and use three monitors but you MUST have at least the eDP connection enabled and utilized.

June 3, 2013 | 11:31 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Its been that way for a long time if you have a local MicroCenter to pick one up at, otherwise its still ~$320 at most etailers

June 5, 2013 | 04:11 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

They are not making any money at that price. DUH

June 2, 2013 | 07:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)


June 2, 2013 | 07:58 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I`m going Haswell when Blue hits.
Also , I saw in other tech sites that the 4770 is not the top performing Haswell chip that will be released.
There will be others with more GPU horsepower ?

June 2, 2013 | 07:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I presently have a C2Q 9550 12 MB L2 cache...would I get much benefit ?

June 3, 2013 | 02:28 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Stepping up from a C2Q 9550 (same chip I have now) to just an i7 920 would be a huge leap, let alone SB being another sizable jump, with the 5% from both Haswell and IB I think it's safe to say you will see major performance boost even with a 1Ghz OC on that chip you have now.

I haven't went out to upgrade myself because I was a believer in the Haswell empty promises that wasted my time, but I work with machines that are SB i5's and they are smoking smooth, quiet, cool, and fast.

June 3, 2013 | 02:26 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I've only heard of a lower TDP 65W model that has the eDRAM onboard (flagship iGPU) that is supposed to be comparable to the i7 4770K, but I really don't see how that is possible.

Anyways, I wouldn't call anything with more "GPU" power to be a top performer on the 4770K lineup because to be quite honest, nobody buying those chips is looking for the integrated GPU component. They'd probably sell better if they took that space and replaced it with 2 extra cores. People would have far less to bitch about and you'd see performance gains that would give Intel another 4 years of this 5% performance boost before people start bitching about monopoly.

June 2, 2013 | 08:58 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

AMD could name their chip SuperDuperIntelKiller and it still wouldn`t be close.

June 3, 2013 | 02:33 AM - Posted by lol (not verified)

Cinebench 11.5 . multithread
Haswell -> 7.68

Here is my conclusion:
Ivy should be 2x faster than SB.
Haswell should be 4x times faster than SB and 2x Ivy, not a 10% ><

Intel thinks we're all idiots or what?
It'a all AMD's fault which does not put enough pressure.

June 3, 2013 | 04:59 AM - Posted by rrr (not verified)

LMAO LMAO LMAO, somebody is seriously underestimating, how hard it is to double chip's performance every year without adding more execution units.

June 3, 2013 | 03:28 PM - Posted by D1RTYD1Z619

Looks like my 2600k will live in my system for another few years. "YAY! - MY WALLET

June 6, 2013 | 04:57 PM - Posted by PhoneyVirus

Not to sound like a dick, the first page was just a wast of time I'm not a design engineer now if I had access to the equipment I be more then gladly to study the Architecture.

I do know what your talking about though but for the newbie or first timer they wouldn't have a clue why because your throwing words with no meaning or diagrams to where it's coming in or going out and what it's connected to. Long story short I got bored very fast and just wanted to skip the first page all together but didn't.

In the future don't throw up shit like this unless you have some sort of diagram to follow, Tom's Hardware don't use this and either does HardOCP keep it simple but yet in lighting the read slowly not slide show screen shot's from IDF.

Second Page well let's just say I didn't pay for a $400 Graphics card to be reading about Intel's GT2 Architecture and Mobile Crap but then again some people are probable interested in this stuff but I doubt anyone that read this website is.

Thanks for the Overkill Review PCPer.

June 6, 2013 | 04:52 PM - Posted by PhoneyVirus

Also a follow up to the first page there is NO Transactional Synchronization Extensions (TSX) in the Core i7 4770K Processor.

June 8, 2013 | 02:47 PM - Posted by kileysmith33

Evelyn. I agree that Raymond`s postlng is flabbergasting, yesterday I got a gorgeous Acura after I been earnin $7654 this-last/4 weeks and just over ten k last munth. without a doubt its my favourite-work Ive ever had. I started this six months/ago and practically straight away began to make over $82, per-hr. I use the details here,

June 10, 2013 | 02:07 AM - Posted by chefbenito (not verified)

Wow. Sort of cool but barely evolutionary and nothing crazy new. So glad I bought a beefy 2600k and a sick GB z68. I knew the rumors around haswell were too good to be true. The bottom line of this review should be- "If you are a PC gamer with a fast GPU and an i7. Ignore Haswell altogether." Honestly did we hit a wall? Is 5GHZ on 8 cores good enuf for anything? I will wait (probably for a long time) for the CPU that starts to crush my 2600k in gaming FPS. Glad to see my investment still giving me returns despite several new CPU releases.

Truth be told: Sandy Bridge was the big leap in gaming CPUs. Everything since then has been extremely underwhelming and incremental. Great review as always guys.

September 9, 2013 | 10:07 PM - Posted by trancefreak (not verified)

Yup totally agree with you. I have had my 2600k for almost 2 1/2 years and 3 years come march 2014.

It overclocks like a beast and although I moved away from p67 boards to a z77, It is still rocking without worrying.

Not to sound contradiction but I am going to give my 2600k to my son and keep it in the family. I ordered a 4770k and a z87 board and that will be it until there is a huge jump in microprocessors.

June 15, 2013 | 12:07 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Idle power consumption was higher than the 3770 most likely due to the FIVR.

June 18, 2013 | 04:53 PM - Posted by 3dfxrain (not verified)

The marketplace and people take care of themselves and others.

September 10, 2013 | 01:30 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have a new rig. Asus maximus vi extreme board and ci7 4770k but it wouldnt give any display via hdmi to me. Please help !! The only way i am able to use my desktop new is that i have temporarily installed a hd7770 and using its hdmi output for display.

Thanks in advance. My retailer told me that since its k processor u need a graphics card for display!!?!

September 27, 2013 | 06:29 PM - Posted by drbaltazar (not verified)

@ryan!could you adjust message signal interrupt value to one per core per device in the future(if you aren't already)specificly for CPU with GPU onboard.driver are limited to one interrupt per socket per device.(ya it is limited!but ms suggest one MSI per physical CPU.since now each core are CPU . I feel it isn't fair for cpu including GPU to ignore this!why I ignore normal GPU?diminishing return.I feel this have a more dramatic impact on Apr like has well or jaguar then on desktop with GPU like a 7970.Ty Ryan

PS:Drivers can register a single InterruptMessageService routine that handles all possible messages or individual InterruptService routines for each message


June 29, 2014 | 06:59 PM - Posted by Earan (not verified)

I7 920 fanatics: the 920 is a great cpu of you are gaming, doing Photoshop and other light stuff. If you are doing 3D, video editing and compositing and other heavy stuff, the 4770 will swipe the floor with your 920, in performance and power consumption.

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