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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 1, 2013 | 10:31 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks for the review, I just wish you'd use 3930K instead of 3970X.

June 1, 2013 | 10:41 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Are there any OpenCL benchmarks forthcoming, and are there any gaming engines that will be able to utilize Haswell GPGPU + CPU cores for gaming physics while simultaneously using a descrete GPU for gaming graphics! Also, are any lucid gpu virtualization software benchmarks going to be available for Haswell within the next few months, as for desktop gaming Haswell CPUs are always going to be paired with a descrete GPU, and being able to utilize the Haswell GPU for extra gaming compute would be a great boost, short of a 6 core Haswell appearing for the desktop!

June 1, 2013 | 11:15 AM - Posted by djGrrr

Does anyone else see the problem with having 6 SATA3 ports?
They have not changed the 20Gbit DMI 2.0 connection between the CPU and chipset, so the performance of all these ports if actually being utilized is going to be crap, how can you expect to get anywhere close to the 36Gbit that the SATA3 ports should offer (thats when your not even taking into account the other IO, such as the extra SATA3 ports that some boards offer from addon controllers, that likely use some of the pci express lanes from the chipset, its all going to be incredibly bottlenecked by the DMI 2.0 20Gbit bus connecting the CPU to the Chipset

June 1, 2013 | 11:20 AM - Posted by Robogeoff (not verified)

Does Intel no longer have anything to offer desktop enthusiasts? I've been reading the reviews for each generation of the i7 since my 920, and I still haven't seen a compelling reason to upgrade.

That's 4 generations of "evolution" that have yielded so little improvements in performance. "Tick-tock" is misleading, as it really feels like "tick-tock-tock-tock-tock..."

June 14, 2013 | 03:05 AM - Posted by Panta

im exactly in the same situation, so pleased
with my 920 OC & load temps i don't see any reason to upgrade..

infect i will be waiting for x89, hoping it would be at-list as good as x58 & i7 920 cpu!

June 1, 2013 | 11:25 AM - Posted by snowbound999

Closing thoughts page regarding power consumption has ("remember, they are different sockets not)". Aren't you missing something after "not"?

June 1, 2013 | 12:12 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

what about the locked parts OC? do you still have access to the 5x turbo increase at least?

June 1, 2013 | 12:18 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

so is a bulldozer i think the next gen will be better

June 1, 2013 | 12:30 PM - Posted by AMD64 (not verified)

@Jml: how about that mr. Jml ? Intel Haswell sucks and you suck aswell !

June 1, 2013 | 12:44 PM - Posted by windwalker

Yawn, what a pathetic showing from Intel.
What was the point of that cringe worthy denial of stagnation next to an admission of 5% improvement?
Isn't it high time to face the music when the efforts of thousands of brilliant and highly educated people and billions in expenses yield a 5% improvement?

June 1, 2013 | 01:35 PM - Posted by GPU: Support for fp64? (not verified)

Hi guys. Thanks for the wonderful review.

1. Do you know if any of the GPU SKUs supports FP64, particularly under OpenCL?

2. Is it possible for you to post the OpenCL extensions supported on the HD 4600? You can use a utility like "GPU Caps Viewer" from Geeks3D.

June 1, 2013 | 01:40 PM - Posted by Rahul (not verified)

For GPU caps viewer, go to OpenCL tab, select the GPU device, then go to "More OpenCL information". That will display the exact list of OpenCL extensions supported. Your help will be greatly appreciated :)

June 3, 2013 | 03:20 PM - Posted by Adrian (not verified)

No, just like Ivy, the GPU does not have OpenCL Khronos ARB FP64 certification. Nor has Intel provided a custom extension like AMD.

It does support FP64 under DirectX ComputeShader.

So it does support FP64 but not precise enough for OpenCL.

June 1, 2013 | 01:37 PM - Posted by Rahul (not verified)

Also, wondering about the TSX support. Has Intel posted a list of which SKUs support the new transactional extensions (TSX)?

June 1, 2013 | 02:09 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Appreciate the time to write up the review Ryan, it's just a shame Intel is teasing the desktop market with empty promises and a pointless iGPU that nobody cares about. I have yet to meet someone buying an i5 or i7 for their desktop scream, "Oh man it's got this kick ass iGPU HD 4000 graphics man!"

AMD may be weak in the market, but at least they don't waste their time and effort creating an all-in-one chip with half the die being wasted adding unnecessary heat. They could start pushing 6 core chips instead into the top i5/i7 chips and use that extra space to push 8 core Extreme parts, but they don't.

Do. Not. Under. Stand. Intel.

June 1, 2013 | 03:15 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It is so true, Intel's integrated GPU IP will not For the foreseeable future, be able to keep up with AMD's offerings, as all AMD would have to do is up its, current technology, integrated GPU execution resources to easily overcome any Haswell gains! AMD's next generation hUMA APUs will, leave Intel's marketing spin pros, with the hard task of putting so much more lipstick, on an overpriced integrated GPU pig! It is no wonder why Intel marketing had to come up with the ultrabook form factor, to get their Ivybridge hd4000 and Haswell GT3 crystalwell integrated graphics into other than Apple laptop products, yes let's build a form factor so thin, that the only way to meet the thermal budget is to use Intel's CPU/(Anemic)GPU product, AMD will upstage Intel on this front, at a much lower cost! I am just fine with a regular form factor laptop, and descrete GPU, and would be better served if I could get more CPU cores, as opposed to an over priced Ultrabook with an overpriced CPU/GPU!

June 1, 2013 | 03:12 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Looking at how AMD leads in the price performance (even the pretty old $100 A10-5800 is a better value than the $350 i7-4770!!!)...

Now we know why Intel CEO Otellini planned to officially jump ship on May 31, 2013. Because the Haswell benchmarks would show what a terrible investment of billions of dollars wasted with little to show.

June 1, 2013 | 03:47 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Let's not forget Intel's poor graphics driver record, or Intel's OEM partners terrable OEM customizied Intel HD graphics driver update issues! Paul(Chip Pimp) Otellini is gone after pulling that golden rip cord, and bailing out! Intel, like M$, has had too much market share, for too long, and this PC/laptop user has had enough of this WINTEL madness! I will stay with my SandyBridge and W7 laptop, and look for AMD's HSA offerings and Linux! Ultrabooks, without a descrete GPU, is a Ultra Joke!

June 1, 2013 | 03:31 PM - Posted by JwolfTech (not verified)

Great overall review. Detailed to say the least. Till there is 8 core Intel processors I dont see a need to upgrade from a 3930K for years.

The Core i5 Unlocked version should be interesting based on the price point. Thats what most will be looking at.

June 1, 2013 | 07:09 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hey, where's your FCAT results there buddy? intel pay you enough to omit it? pathetic

June 1, 2013 | 07:52 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You're apparently too stupid to read. It says in the article they'll be testing the graphics later.

I'm personally interested to see how the GT3e GPU's do compared to mid ranged Nvidia GPU's.

June 1, 2013 | 11:16 PM - Posted by raxx (not verified)

Why wasn't an overclocked i7-3770K (4.5Ghz)included in the benchmarks? It would be nice to see how the chips compare at that level.

June 2, 2013 | 01:40 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Would like to see an article looking at power consumption compared to a i7 920. There's a few of us out there with the good old 920 overclocked to 4GHz+ burning up a heap of power. I'm wondering if it's worth the upgrade to Haswell to reduce power consumption and see how long it'll take to pay off the upgrade.

June 2, 2013 | 03:21 AM - Posted by oscarbg (not verified)

please post report of glewinfo executable of http://glew.sourceforge.net/
https://sourceforge.net/projects/glew/files/glew/1.9.0/glew-1.9.0-win32....
this should post experimental OGL extensions not reported in gpu caps viewer and I suspect most of OGL 4.2 should expose entry points..

June 2, 2013 | 06:11 AM - Posted by Tri Wahyudianto (not verified)

i hope in a very soon intel give us another options processor without Intel Integrated Graphics with price cutdown.

that because their IGP is so useless but still AMD bulldozer and APU is such a bottleneck when it's using with discrete GPU, either AMD and Nvidia GPU.

June 2, 2013 | 06:33 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hmmmm... Seems Haswell is Intel's "bulldozer" fiasco. Haswell should be called Failwell... or Hasbeen.

June 2, 2013 | 07:00 AM - Posted by BiggieShady

In every graph 3570K is named i7 instead of i5. Damn you copy paste :)

June 2, 2013 | 09:04 AM - Posted by mAxius

so as expected its a big MEH

June 2, 2013 | 01:52 PM - Posted by boothman

Micro Center has the I7-4770K for $279, $70 cheaper than Newegg.

June 2, 2013 | 06:36 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Even better. They dropped the price on the 3770K by $130 to $229.

WTF Newegg/resellers. Have you really been gouging people this long?

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