Review Index:

Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge LGA1155 Processor Review

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Conclusions and Final Thoughts


When talking with Intel about the release of the new Ivy Bridge processor, they really didn't try to sell us on any kind of dramatic increase in performance on the x86 side of the equation but I think that perhaps they were underselling their own product.  The Ivy Bridge architecture really only has minor IPC improvements but the clock speeds are just high enough to give us a reasonable speed boost coming from the Core i7-2600K and 2700K processors.  In a general sense, I would give the new Core i7-3770K a 10-15% performance advantage over the Sandy Bridge designs available in any given CPU workload.  That wasn't the case 100% of the time, but I think it was common enough to see it in benchmarks like TrueCrypt, Cinebench and Basemark CL to come to the conclusion.

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The updated processor graphics on Ivy Bridge impressed us as well as far as integrated graphics go - the HD 4000 saw as much as a 45% performance advantage compared to the HD 3000 on Sandy Bridge in real-world gaming tests like Left 4 Dead 2 and DiRT 3.  I think Ivy Bridge now presents itself as a perfectly viable gaming solution for resolutions of 1366x768 and below with modest quality settings but if you are looking to fill your 1080p monitor with graphical goodness you can still benefit from even an inexpensive discrete graphics card as our results with the $60 Radeon HD 6570/5570 clearly show.

Adding in support for three displays through the processor graphics and the nearly 2x speed up we saw in our Quick Sync testing and you have a dramatic improvement in the GPU portion of Ivy Bridge that COULD compel some desktop users to adopt but will likely have a much larger influence on the mobile roadmaps.


With the release of the Radeon HD 7900 cards and then the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680, we have seen an increase in the awareness of power efficiency being vital not only to mobile and small form factor users but for the enthusiast crowd as well.  Ivy Bridge and the Core i7-3770K are clearly the most efficient processors on the market while also providing nearly the best performance available, period.  Our result on the power consumption page should really put the AMD Bulldozer processor to bed as we see no real reason for a gamer to choose that route.

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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?

Platform Considerations

There isn't really much to say about the Z77 chipset - it is the new, best chipset for your Intel processor but other than the upgrade to integrated USB 3.0, there isn't much to get excited about.  Motherboard vendors like MSI, Gigabyte and ASUS are using this opportunity to introduce new features of their own including Thunderbolt so there is still some excitement in the motherboard market but it truly is not the work of Intel's chipset division.

Expect quite a few motherboard reviews coming up from PC Perspective!!

Pricing and Availability

The Core i7-3770K is set to check in at $313 but how does that compare to the other Sandy Bridge offerings available today?

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Clearly this is one of those "duh" moments - if the 3770K is available for the $313 price tag it is obviously the best choice of those listed above.  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.  In which case, email me first.

Final Thoughts

While Ivy Bridge isn't blowing away the performance of Sandy Bridge, Intel continues to hit on all cylinders delivering a fantastic processor with a 10-15% performance advantage over the previous generation and a clear power consumption edge as well.  The new Core i7-3770K will quickly find its way into the PC Perspective Hardware Leaderboard and will probably be my pick for any enthusiast looking to build a new gaming rig in the next 6 months.  Though there are some potential temperature concerns with the new 22nm process at voltages over 1.3v, only those of you looking to really overclock the CPU need worry about that.  The rest of you will find Ivy Bridge to be the best desktop processor on the market. 

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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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