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Intel Core i7 4770K Review

ccokeman    -   June 1, 2013
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Intel Core i7 4770K Conclusion:

After running the 4th Gen Core i7 4770K through its paces, I found that it is a strong successor to the mainstream crown that was held by the 3rd Gen Core i7 3770K. Priced at $339 and sure to drop the price point between the two processors is negligible at best based on current e-tail pricing. In the vast majority of tests run, the Core i7 4770K was quicker through the tests than the 3770K. Comparing the results in the gaming tests, though prove it is pretty much an even playing field between the pair as the video card itself is the limiting factor by design.

Combining the Core i7 4770K with the latest Z87 chipset-based motherboard from Intel with its full featured Z87KLT-75K or the aftermarket partners is sure to get the end user the feature set they are looking for in terms of price and features. The Z87KLT-75K proved to be a solid board once I was able to get into the BIOS. I found the initial issue was with the system memory I use in my test systems. Albeit this memory is rated higher than the 4770K officially supports, I was able to get it using a set of low voltage memory so that I could set up the parameters manually, then flashing the BIOS and installing my test system 2133MHz rated memory that ran flawlessly afterwords, showing the memory controller is capable of running out of specification.

Working through the visual BIOS was not as easy as on last year's D77 board, but once you work your way around and know how and where to navigate it was not that bad. What you will see new to the game, though is that Intel has finally provided more than a pair of native SATA 6Gbps ports for the consumer with at least six. You get more USB 3.0 ports, HD 4K monitor support, three independent displays via Thunderbolt, new AES encryption instruction sets, AVX, WiDi, and continued support for Intel's Rapid Storage Technologies with the new chipsets.

After taking an initial look at a press-only event a few weeks back, I was hopeful that there were just some really bad early samples out and that the Core i7 4770K would overclock at least as well as the three Core i7 3770Ks I have. Truth be told it was right on par with my ES 3770K and a little behind the two retail samples at 4.7GHz. All in all not bad, as that is a 1.2GHz bump over the base clock speed. By pushing this far, heat is going to be an issue even with water cooling, so the recommendation was to try and stay under or around 1.25v, and no more than 1.275 as the thermal load contained in the small confines of the die just cannot be shed fast enough to keep from warming up regardless of the cooling used.

That being said the final overlock of 4.7GHz was reached strictly by using the clock ratio multiplier instead of using the bclock method, which I was unable to stabilize. Overclocking the HD 4600 IGP was just as easy as last year's HD 4000. Set the number, tweak the voltage, apply the settings, and play. Overclocking the HD 4600 GPU provides measurable improvements to gaming performance and can further reduce the time to complete activities using Quick Sync technology.

After all the testing is done, you have to decide is this the one I have been waiting for. It really depends on where you are on your upgrade cycle. If you have to have the latest and greatest, even though you have hardware less than six months old, you will see a benefit but a reduced benefit than someone moving up from, say, a Sandy Bridge platform or even earlier, where, for the price, moving to a Haswell-based system makes better sense from a cost/performance standpoint. Overall I have to say I am impressed with this bit of silicon from Intel; it's quick, it performs, and is priced just right.

 

Pros:

  • Performance
  • Overclocking
  • Integrated GPU
  • Increased SATA 6Gbps

 

Cons:

  • Heat


 

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