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

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Mobile SKUs, Ultrabook Updates, Battery Life Improvement

Though our review today is focused on the desktop component of Haswell and the Intel 4000-series of processors, we definitely need to at least discuss the push of the new architecture into the mobile categories.  And actually, Haswell is much more important to mobile and Ultrabooks than to desktops.

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Though we did see hybrids from Intel with the Ivy Bridge 3rd Generation processors, with Haswell and SKUs with much lower TDPs/SDPs I expect we'll find high performance processors in basically every form factor you can think of.  And hopefully some you can't.

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The Core i7/i5 lineup will have four different mobile derivatives seen above.  The H-line will be the highest performing processors with the most graphics horsepower and potentially embedded DRAM options.  The M-line will be the most common in your standard, budget laptops while the U-series will be the SoC package design that will offer a balance of power efficiency and performance in Ultrabooks.  The Y-series, not yet available but coming in 2013, will be the lowest wattage designs (think under 10 watts) and will find its way into detachable tablets and hybrids.

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With this release Intel is also offering a new version of its BGA design for Haswell that actually combines the processor and PCH (south bridge) on to the same package; not the same die.  On the left side you can see the longer piece of silicon that represents the Haswell CPU/GPU combination and the smaller die that is the PCH.  This new design allows for smaller board designs and smaller cooling configurations for lower TDPs.  The standard 2-chip solution will be available at a lower cost and will support higher performance options including GT3e graphics.

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Intel claims that the jump from Ivy Bridge to Haswell is the single largest increase in battery life Intel has ever seen in the mobile space.  That is quite a claim but the technology is impressive enough for us to believe it!  The ability to run in standby for 10-13 days thanks to support for the Microsoft Connected Standby technology is great but the ability to improve video playback time by 50% is astounding as well; while getting better performance at the same time.

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We are now beginning to see the effects of other components of these systems dragging down the ability for chip manufacturers to improve battery performance.  With the graph above we can see the power consumption drop from IVB to Haswell but the screen power remains the same.  With the move to a more SoC style design the platform power draw also decreases substantially.

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We've already discussed Iris and Iris Pro graphics on the previous page but for certain models, those with GT3e for instance, the new Haswell can perform as much as 2x better in Ultrabook and other notebook designs. 

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Running the Core i7-4558U Intel claims you'll be able to play even Bioshock Infinite at 1366x768 at nearly 30 FPS. 

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Along with the Haswell processor shift comes a completely new set of Ultrabook rules and regulations.  To meet minimum specifications OEMs will now have to including things like WiDi, a touch screen, wake times under 3 seconds and more than 9 hours of battery life at Windows 8 idle.  These are great!  What is not great in my view is requiring voice control support with expensive dual microphones and specific, Intel built identity protection hardware and software. 

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There are going to be three M-series parts available at launch starting with the big boy - the Core i7-4930MX that is a the full quad-core, HyperThreaded CPU running at up to 3.9 GHz and Intel HD Graphics 4600 integration.  As a 57 watt CPU though, you should only expect to find it in high-end gaming machines or workstation replacement notebooks that can eat the $1000+ pricing. 

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The H-series Haswell processors will include the i7-4950HQ and the i7-4850HQ, both of which are quad-core parts that include Iris Pro 5200 graphics with eDRAM.  Pricing is set at $657 and $468 respectively, so again, these CPUs will only be found in fairly expensive laptops.

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Finally, the U-series has two members out the gate, the Core i7-4650U and the Core i5-4350U, both dual core with HyperThreading and Intel HD Graphics 5000 support. 

More mobility 4th Generation processors from Intel will be available than this as we progress into the year with 19 total U-series options planned.

June 1, 2013 | 07:31 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

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

June 1, 2013 | 07:41 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 | 08:15 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 | 08:20 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 | 12:05 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 | 08:25 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 | 09:12 AM - 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 | 09:18 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

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

June 1, 2013 | 09:30 AM - Posted by AMD64 (not verified)

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

June 1, 2013 | 09:44 AM - 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 | 10:35 AM - 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 | 10:40 AM - 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 | 12:20 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 | 10:37 AM - 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 | 11:09 AM - 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 | 12:15 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 | 12:12 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 | 12:47 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 | 12:31 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 | 04:09 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 | 04:52 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 | 08:16 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 1, 2013 | 10:40 PM - 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 | 12:21 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 | 03:11 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 | 03:33 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

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

June 2, 2013 | 04:00 AM - Posted by BiggieShady

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

June 2, 2013 | 06:04 AM - Posted by mAxius

so as expected its a big MEH

June 2, 2013 | 10:52 AM - Posted by boothman

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

June 2, 2013 | 03:36 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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