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Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge LGA1155 Processor Review

Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

An update to a great architecture

This article will focus on the new Ivy Bridge, 3rd Generation Core Processor from a desktop perspective.  If you are curious as the performance and features of the Ivy Bridge mobile processors, be sure to check out our Core i7-3720QM ASUS N56VM review here!!

One of the great things about the way Intel works as a company is that we get very few surprises on an annual basis in terms of the technology they release.  With the success of shows like the Intel Developer Forum permitting the release of architectural details months and often years ahead of the actual product, developers, OEMs and the press are able to learn about them over a longer period of time.  As you might imagine, that results in both a much better understanding of the new processor in question and also a much less hurried one.  If only GPU cycles would follow the same path...

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Because of this long-tail release of a CPU, we already know quite a bit about Ivy Bridge, the new 22nm processor architecture from Intel to be rebranded as the 3rd Generation Intel Core Processor Family.  Ivy Bridge is the "tick" that brings a completely new process technology node as we have seen over the last several years but this CPU does more than take the CPU from 32nm to 22nm.  Both the x86 and the processor graphics portions of the die have some changes though the majority fall with the GPU.

Ivy Bridge Architecture

In previous tick-tock scenarios the "tick" results in a jump in process technology (45nm to 32nm, etc) with very little else being done.  This isn't just to keep things organized in slides above but it also keeps Intel's engineers focused on one job at a time - either a new microprocessor architecture OR a new process node; but not both.

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For the x86 portion of Ivy Bridge this plan stays in tract.  The architecture is mostly unchanged from the currently available Sandy Bridge processors including the continuation of a 2-chip platform solution and integrated graphics, memory controller, display engine, PCI Express and LLC along with the IA cores.  

Continue reading our review of the new Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge Processor!!

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The biggest move is obviously the jump to the 22nm tri-gate transistors that Josh wrote about extensively last year.  This brings lower power consumption to the entire chip and should allow Intel to increase performance using the same power envelopes.   We'll touch on the newly updated processor graphics portion of the chip on the next page but there are some minor IA core changes that improve IPC (instructions per clock).

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With the increased performance of the graphics portion of Ivy Bridge we see a move in transistor ratio towards the GPU; though not enough to hit the 50/50 level.  The quad-core design still requires a lot of die space and the shared L3 cache of up to 8MB is meaty as well. 

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On the x86 side of things there are some changes in security including the introduction of a new random number generator that is instruction based: RDRAND.  This feature can be used by security software and even encryption algorithms to make your systems more secure in the long run.  A configurable TDP will permit large scale system builders to personalize the processors to their platforms and the ability to support as many as three independent displays is pretty impressive for an integrated solution.

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Improvements in the power management side of the CPU include the ability to power off the DDR memory bus when in deep sleep states and a new Power Aware Interrupt Routing mechanism that will select a core that is already awake and working (rather than simply core 0) to handle interrupts to keep more cores powered down more often.  

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The configurable TDP won't be a feature that users building their own machine will have access to but for OEMs it will basically allow them to create custom CPU SKUs to work in their specific designs.  If a notebook vendor would rather have a 14w unit than a 17w CPU due to some very specific custom hardware requirement, they can do that, and all in software.  You might think of this feature as a kind of configurable, permanent Turbo Boost.  

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Finally, there are changes in the memory support with speeds as high as 2800 MHz running out of the box (through overclocked settings) and the ability to change the multipliers without a reboot by default. 

Video News

April 23, 2012 | 12:35 PM - Posted by Wolvenmoon (not verified)

Mind doing some power consumption tests on the overclocking tests you do over the next few days? I'd be interested to see how much more power it uses when OCed with those temperatures!

April 23, 2012 | 12:56 PM - Posted by BugSmashR

Very nice! Answered any question I might have had. Well worth the upgrade for me just in power savings alone for my Folding@Home rigs. And you're right, It is time to retire my P4 rigs/heaters. (Got three to melt down for the metals, not wishing these on anybody!)

See you at QuakeCon!

April 23, 2012 | 01:36 PM - Posted by Buyers

On the HD4000 Graphics page, the picture of the discreet GPU has an "Asus HD 5570 1GB" sticker on it, but all of the graphs state it as being a HD6570. Might wanna clarify that.

April 23, 2012 | 03:04 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Ah yes, will do. It is definitely a 5570.

April 23, 2012 | 01:37 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

like Sandy Bridge before Intel has screwed up virtualisation features on Ivy-Bridge as well. No Vt-D(or even vPro, TXT, and SIPP) on any of the 'k' wtf intel?

May 18, 2012 | 05:46 PM - Posted by Ben (not verified)

Those features are on the Xeon E3 v2 line, and the prices fit right in with the consumer Ivy Bridge processors.

What's missing is any chip that combines those features with an unlocked multiplier. But there isn't much overlap in customer base between overclockers and virtual machine servers.

April 23, 2012 | 02:31 PM - Posted by Hiwap (not verified)

Hello guys thx for the review!!

I goin to buy a new pc this week i cant deside

is 3930k worth the 200+ USD in performance?

the pc is for gaming and 3d software

April 23, 2012 | 03:25 PM - Posted by Alex Z (not verified)

Under power consumption, both graphs are labelled "Idle" even though the second one was tested under full load, right? Great to see these reviews, and I look forward to hearing about Ivy Bridge in the podcast this week.

April 24, 2012 | 02:41 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Doh, thanks!

April 23, 2012 | 04:04 PM - Posted by amadsilentthirst

Nice review, going to be a good upgrade from my E8400 C2D

@Corrections - "will you please save us all the early death of global warming and upgrade?"

You probably meant ...from global....

As an early death "of" global warming is something we all want.

April 23, 2012 | 03:58 PM - Posted by Zorkwiz

Hey Ryan,
For the idle/load power tests, was a GPU plugged into the board at all or are those numbers simply the MB/DIMMs/CPU power draw? Is your cooling solution factored into the power there as well? Since you seem to have used a couple of memory configurations, 560 Ti for some tests but not others, etc. it's hard for me to tell exactly what was being powered.

I'm trying to compare idle power to my current i7-920 + GTX 580 system to see just how much money I'd save per year, powered 24x7 if I upgraded to IVB + 680, as idle power draws are insanely lower these days.

April 24, 2012 | 02:42 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Yes, my power numbers were WITH the GTX 560 Ti installed.

April 23, 2012 | 05:19 PM - Posted by AParsh335i (not verified)

For a desktop gamer these numbers really show that the i5-2500k @ $180 ( for the past year, price match at your local frys) is a great bang for the buck. Seems that the changes from SNB to IVB shows the most promise for notebook computers, not for desktop gamers/power users (better battery life and better integrated graphics).

April 23, 2012 | 05:39 PM - Posted by Nilbog

Great Review, thanks Ryan.
Glad to see that this new idea worked out. Even though the temps are a bit disappointing, it clearly compensates with power consumption. I'ts also kinda freaky that such a small part with such low power consumption can get so hot.

Due to the high temperatures even with the water cooling, it would be appreciated if you guys did a comparison review of various cooling solutions.
Did this come with the usual stock cooler?

I'm also curious to know how the benchmark automation is going?

April 24, 2012 | 02:43 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Intel did not include a cooler - we used the Corsair H80 for our testing.

Automation is going - but still requires a lot of hands on time.

April 23, 2012 | 05:52 PM - Posted by zakattak (not verified)

overall good review, but why didn't you put the heating problem in note for your conclusion? i would think if you,re going to get a cpu to overclock on air, then the 2600k would be the better route for longevity and performance wise.

April 24, 2012 | 02:46 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Well, I guess we could have, but I think we noted them pretty well in the OC page directly.

I don't think the typical user needs to worry about CPU longevity even with Ivy Bridge.

April 23, 2012 | 07:25 PM - Posted by rgraze

"It only falls behind the 3960X in raw performance but we would only recommend paying that price difference if you simply MUST have that added boost or have money falling out of your pockets."

What about the price difference on a 3930k which could be had for $499? With a Z77 v X79 build difference of $272.

April 24, 2012 | 02:48 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

For me, personally, I lean towards IVB still.

April 23, 2012 | 10:21 PM - Posted by psy2222

Why is the 3930K not part of the charts?

April 23, 2012 | 10:54 PM - Posted by Angryfuture (not verified)

Wow....I did know the 920's idled that high.
I need 1155....NOW.

Awesome review!

April 24, 2012 | 02:14 AM - Posted by cyow

Maybe time My i7 920 became my new sever the Core i7-3700K - $313 is looking real good to me at that price.

just need to work out which what MB too us and just get a load of RAM

April 24, 2012 | 02:41 AM - Posted by ThorAxe

Nothing for the enthusiast to see here, please move along to X79.

April 24, 2012 | 11:18 AM - Posted by Zorkwiz

Is an enthusiast now simply someone who goes for the max overclock possible with every CPU they run? Because if that's the case, I don't think I can call myself an enthusiast any longer.

You can still get a solid 4.5ghz overclock at 1.1V with Ivy and draw less power than SB, plus get the benefits of 5-10% performance per clock with the architecture tweaks, more PCI-E lanes, better quicksync performance etc. I don't see why this isn't an enthusiast part just because its max OC isn't quite as high.

Sure it's not a big leap forward, but it's a solid refresh IMO.

That being said I think I'll probably wait for Haswell to upgrade my 920, simply because I'm waiting for a chipset with thunderbolt standard and more integrated USB3 ports. Maybe with the second wave of 7 series motherboards and some maturity in the 22nm process we'll see some nicer IVB solutions in the 2nd half of the year though.

April 25, 2012 | 09:38 PM - Posted by ThorAxe

It's overclocking capabilities are not the issue.

When Z77 supports 40 PCI-e lanes, quad channel memory, 6 core CPUs and doesn't burn itself to a crisp at medium voltage then you can call it an enthusiast part.

April 24, 2012 | 10:33 AM - Posted by Joe (not verified)

I looked at all these reviews for this chip but non of them say when I can BUY it...

When can I buy a Core i7 3770 ???? The K version may have an unlocked mult but I am not going to overclock anyway. The K version also has lacking features that the non K versions have.. No Vt-D(or even vPro, TXT, and SIPP)

April 24, 2012 | 02:51 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Honestly I thought the answer would be Monday, but Tuesday is here and still no go. I'll check!

April 25, 2012 | 04:30 PM - Posted by Joe (not verified)

From what I just found out as of today. Sunday April 29th these processors will be available.

April 24, 2012 | 01:56 PM - Posted by Karol (not verified)

Should I be sad, that I recently bought Lenovo X220 with i7-2640M?
Althought 4 Windows Server 2008R2 Virtual Machines can run at the same time without any hiccups, which is still impressive for that small 12" notebook, gaming performance could be much better.
Also note, that even with new Intel HD4000 graphics, their drivers are (gaming wise) are far behind AMD/NVidia ones.

April 24, 2012 | 03:45 PM - Posted by dragosmp (not verified)

Hey, great review. It does look like the CPU portion of IB isn't that much of a speedup over SB, but then again Intel didn't have to try any harder. Hope they manage to get the 22nm leakage issue sorted and cram even more transistors in the next generation! This makes me wonder what power consumption numbers they could achieve on 22nm with a single in-order Atom core.

The HD4000 iGPU seems to be pretty fast, fast enough to be taken seriously. Would it be possible to test the HD4000 like you would test a real GPU: performance, overclocking, image quality, game compatibility, maybe even a closer look at the underlying architecture.

April 26, 2012 | 11:29 PM - Posted by Jewie27 (not verified)

lol my Sandy Bridge system sits next to a Pentium 4 system. I actually own two Pentium 4 systems, freshly installed copies of Windows XP and all hardware upgraded.

April 29, 2012 | 01:41 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Now that HD4000 has arrived, can OpenCL be used to enhance the performance of the Ivy Bridge processor while simultaneously using a discrete graphics processor? If OpenCL can utilize GPU cycles for general purpose compute tasks then It should be able to utilize the Intel integrated GPU for more general purpose processing power in addition to the Ivy bridge's other CPU cores, while the discrete GPU uses its resources for the graphics. OpenCL should see all the hardware on the computer as an available resource and It should be able to do this? If not then what is described as Heterogeneous computing has not completely arrived yet! Or is it just a matter of waiting for the software to catch up?

May 18, 2012 | 05:50 PM - Posted by Ben (not verified)

OpenCL does not apply to "general purpose" compute tasks. OpenCL applications are extremely parallel algorithms for specialized data sets, there's nothing general purpose about it.

The "general purpose" in GPGPU simply means "not limited to graphics rendering".

May 18, 2012 | 05:50 PM - Posted by Ben (not verified)

OpenCL does not apply to "general purpose" compute tasks. OpenCL applications are extremely parallel algorithms for specialized data sets, there's nothing general purpose about it.

The "general purpose" in GPGPU simply means "not limited to graphics rendering".

May 18, 2012 | 05:51 PM - Posted by Ben (not verified)

OpenCL does not apply to "general purpose" compute tasks. OpenCL applications are extremely parallel algorithms for specialized data sets, there's nothing general purpose about it.

The "general purpose" in GPGPU simply means "not limited to graphics rendering". It's not even close to the same type of "general purpose processing power" as what a CPU provides.

April 29, 2012 | 07:43 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This is a true technical review of Ivy Bridge graphics! with some jucy details about Haswell!

May 7, 2012 | 02:03 PM - Posted by Anno2012 (not verified)

"And if you happen to be one of those poor fools still using a Pentium 4 processor - will you please save us all the early death of global warming and upgrade?"

Well, i still have one. I'm a PIV (with HT) big fan (smile*).

July 25, 2012 | 01:53 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I recently got a i7 2600k PC with a GTX 680 graphics card. My motherboard is a Z77. Should I upgrade to the i7 3770k ? is the 10-15% worth the money ?

April 5, 2014 | 07:09 AM - Posted by Chrysanthi Lykousi (not verified)

I got a 3770 and I love it!

November 7, 2014 | 06:32 PM - Posted by hay Day Triche (not verified)

I take pleasure in, result in I discovered just what I was having a look for.
You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day.

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