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

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Integrated Voltage Regulator and Overclocking Haswell

Haswell's New IVR

One of the more interesting design changes to Haswell that isn't really a part of the architecture itself is the move to an integrated voltage regulator.

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Unlike all previous processors from Intel and AMD, Haswell actually moves the job of legacy power delivery from the PCB of the motherboard directly onto the die of the processor in silicon.  This has the advantage of simplifying platform design because now vendors only need to provide a single, clean input voltage to the processor and it handles the rest of the work.

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Power to the memory is still handled by the motherboard but otherwise the delivery of voltage to the cores, the processor graphics, the ring bus, IO and the system agent is all handled by a digital power system on Haswell.  Intel claims this allows them better flexibility when it comes to designing lower power processors and platforms that find their way into tablets and also can provide more granular power delivery for better power management and sleep states.

For motherboard engineers though, this was kind of a bummer - one of the key differentiation points for motherboard design was in power delivery, phase technology and topology.  By moving so much of that into the processor and on silicon Intel is effectively taking away one of the few remaining areas for motherboards competitors to...compete on.  Remember when memory controllers and performance would vary motherboard to motherboard?  Another one bites the dust.

 

Overclocking with Haswell

Overclocking with Haswell is very similar to overclocking with Ivy Bridge with the addition of a new control point for base clock ratios.

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If you remember when Sandy Bridge-E launched, Intel had figured out a way to allow base clock ratio increases to steppings of 125 MHz, 166 MHz and 250 MHz; though the 250 MHz option is obviously a pipe dream.  With Haswell that same option makes it way to mainstream consumer processors, at least for the K-series parts that is.  One contentious point during our briefings with Intel was why they would lock that ratio on the other processors now that the problem has been solved.  (Keep in mind that Intel claimed they couldn't TECHNICALLY enable base clock ratios on SNB or IVB without stability issues.) 

Otherwise though, overclocking Haswell is the same as Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge though with some additional care to the voltages.  Things have changed as you are now controlling an input voltage (the one we actually going from the motherboard to the processor) and then voltages on the integrated voltage regulator.  Base clock, ratios - it's all there.

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Looking at the new UEFI on the Intel Z87 motherboard (which is actually really nice!), we see a handful of new settings.  The first voltage option we'll consider is the core voltage that allow us to reach higher clocks either through a fixed multiplier or Turbo ratios.  There are three different options for that voltage, which is likely the most important setting, so Intel provided these three diagrams to demonstrate.

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The offset mode applies a positive or negative offset to the voltage over the entire voltage curve that is natively built into the Haswell CPU.  This means voltages will be higher at idle, higher during Turbo and higher during the non-Turbo clock states.

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An interpolated mode allows the voltage to scale only after it gets past the standard, default Turbo voltages. 

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Finally, the static and offset mode sets the voltage a fixed level through the entire performance curve.  This is helpful if you are underclocking as well as overclocking with the base clock.

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The second main voltage to adjust is the input voltage, the one coming in to the IVR.  The default of this ranges from 1.7v to 1.8v depending on the SKU.  Because the input voltage is related to the maximum voltage that the IVR can output to the cores, graphics, ring bus, etc, you may have to bump this up as you increase the other voltage rails. 

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This is where you can adjust the base clock ratio for higher base clock settings while keeping the PCIe and DMI frequencies in their safe zones. 

5:5 (default) (i.e. BCLK 100: PCIe 100)
4:5 (BCLK 125:PCIe100)
3:5 (167:100)
2:5 (250:100)

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Each motherboard will have different settings but it was recommended to us to disable features like Processor VR Faults and Processor VR Efficiency to get a more stable overclock at higher settings. 

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Adjusting the multiplier for the cores is simple enough and you should be in the normal range of the low to mid 40s.  Intel recommends keeping the ring bus multiplier level at one lower than the cores.

 

Our Early Overclocking Results

I should be upfront here and just let everyone know the truth: Haswell doesn't overclock as well as SNB or IVB and it gets significantly hotter.  In any event, we needed to see for ourselves how high we could push the part we had. 

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The best speed I could hit was 4.6 GHz on all cores with these settings:

  • 100 MHz base clock
  • 46x Core multiplier
  • 45x Ring multiplier
  • +100 mV ring voltage
  • +200 mV core voltage

Based on my talks with other reviewers and hardware vendors, this is pretty typical and only very few processors are hitting the 4.8 GHz mark. 

In our performance graphs on the following pages we'll show you a consistent Haswell running at stock speeds as well as the same chip running at 4.5 GHz - obviously performance is going to be better.  But how does overclocking affect temperature and power consumption?

I should note that for our testing we used the Corsair H100i, a 240mm self-contained water cooler that is among the best on the market. 

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Temps at stock settings

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Temps at 4.1 GHz

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Temps at 4.3 GHz

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Temps at 4.5 GHz

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Temps at 4.6 GHz

There is a steady progression of temperature as we increase the clock speed and the jump from 4.5 GHz to 4.6 GHz was...bad.  Seeing temperatures hover in the 90+C range is dangerous and caused the fans on the H100i to get quite loud too. 

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WOW.  Load power consumption jumps from 127 watts on the Core i7-4770K at default settings up to 201 watts when overclocked to 4.5 GHz - that is an increase of 75 watts.  For comparison, that is higher than the Core i7-3970X that uses 6 cores that are more power hungry and nearly hits the same power consumption levels of the AMD FX-8350.  (Actually, that's just as bad for AMD's FX-series).

Enthusiasts lamented the fact that overclocking got easier but didn't scale better when Intel moved from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge, and the same thing has occurred again with Haswell.  Clearly Intel's focus on lower power designs has limited higher clock rates and expanded leakage on the high end.  These are the cards we are dealt.

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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