Intel Third Generation Core i7 3770K Reviewccokeman -
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Each year, or shortly thereafter, Intel seems to deliver on its Tick-Tock cadence, which signifies either a micro architecture change or process change. This time we have a Tick in the cadence with a shift to a 22nm manufacturing process for this launch of the Third Generation Core series processors code-named Ivy Bridge, and specifically the Core i7 3770K enthusiast SKU. With this launch, Intel is releasing a total of fourteen new processors spread amongst the mobile and desktop segments. Nine of these are dedicated to the desktop segment, with the Core i7 3770K and 3770, and Core i5 3570K, 3550 and 3540, along with low power variants, the Core i7 3770T and 3770S, and Core i5 3550S and 3540S. To go with the Third Generation parts, Intel has launched four new chipsets for the desktop market: Z77, Z75, H77, and B75 with the Z77 chipset targeted squarely at the enthusiast and power user. Process improvements are not the only change in Ivy Bridge, with an upgrade in the integrated GPU and integrated memory controller. Let's see how this new processor will perform in relation to the tried and true overclocking-friendly Second Generation Core i7 2600K.
Built using the 22nm process for both the CPU and GPU, the Third Generation Core i7 3770K Ivy Bridge processor is the enthusiast SKU for this line up. The Core i7 3770K is a quad-core processor that supports hyper threading and Turbo Boost 2.0 technologies and features a GPU-shared 77 watt TDP. Base clock speed for this offering is 3.50GHz with Turbo Boosted speeds up to 3.90GHz for a small speed boost over the Sandy Bridge Core i7 2600K. The integrated HD 4000 GPU sports an increase in Execution units from the 12 on the HD 3000-equipped 2600K to 16 - a 33% boost over the prior generation. Clock speeds on the HD 4000 graphics are a dynamically managed 1150MHz and utilizes shared system memory. The four CPU cores use a dynamically shared 8MB L3 Cache utilizing Intel Smart Cache technology. The Core i7 3770K is designed to fit in the LGA 1155 socket, with a total of 1.4 billion transistors on board with a die area of 160mm2. DDR3 memory is supported in a dual-channel configuration at 1600MHz.
The Z77 chipset is built for the Ivy Bridge lineup and supports performance tuning to go along with the K-SKU processors. The block diagram shows 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes broken down into 1x 16x, 2x 8x, 1x 8x+1x 4x+1 x 4x with Intel Thunderbolt supported. Three independent displays are supported with one as VGA and the others using DP or HDMI 1.4. Up to fourteen USB ports are available with a maximum of four being USB 3.0. Intel-integrated Gigabit LAN connectivity is used and has been a prominent feature on many of the latest Intel-based motherboards released lately. A new management engine firmware is used with the 7 Series chipsets, with Intel Extreme Tuning as a supplementary feature. DDR3 speeds of up to 1600MHz are officially supported while motherboard manufacturers are listing speeds of up to 2666MHz (OC). Connectivity to and through the Z77 PCH is through DMI (Direct Media Interface) 2.0 and FDI (Flexible Display Interface) pathways that carry both data and the integrated graphics information. Intel's Rapid Storage and Responsiveness technologies are supported to improve the user experience. Six SATA ports are supported from the Z77 PCH with a maximum of two being SATA 6Gb/s with RAID support. An additional eight PCIe 2.0 lanes are dedicated through the Z77 PCH.
Intel has sent us out a package the includes the Intel Extreme DZ77GA-70K motherboard and Third Generation Core i7 3770K processor to see just what Intel has to offer the mainstream user and enthusiast with the drop to a 22nm process and the introduction of its latest chipset motherboard.
Let's see what the DZ77GA-70K has to offer the enthusiast.