Intel Third Generation Core i7 3770K Reviewccokeman -
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Is Ivy Bridge all it's cracked up to be and well worth the wait? It seems so. With measurable performance improvement in just about every benchmark, it's hard to make a case for sticking with a Second Generation Core series processor for a new build. With performance improvements anywhere between 3 and 10+%, it's just simple math when you look at the price point between the $313 Third Generation Core i7 3770K and $339 Second Generation Core i7 2600K. As an upgrade from someone currently running a Sandy Bridge 2600K system it really depends on what you are looking for. Native PCIe 3.0, Intel Smart Response, and Rapid Start technologies are all reasons to move forward as well as utilizing Intel's latest Wireless communication devices for video streaming using Intel WiDi. For the mainstream user there is a lot to be gained in terms of responsiveness and performance from the latest Core series processor and Panther Point chipset-based motherboards like Intel’s own DZ77GA-70K used to run the 3770K through its paces. Intel has put together a full featured platform to showcase the performance of its latest 22nm offerings. Intel has given the BIOS on the DZ77GA-70K a complete overhaul with Intel’s own UEFI Visual BIOS. This implementation was easy to navigate and was complete and polished throughout. Each section was well laid out and easy to use with both an easy and Advanced menu to manage everyone’s abilities.
The performance of the HD 4000 integrated graphics proved to be a significant upgrade from the HD 3000 used on the 2600K. When you knock the quality settings down, newer DX 11 games can be played at resolutions up to 1680 x 1050. In Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on low, the HD 4000-equipped Core i7 3770K delivered 36FPS through our standard test sequence, which is impressive to say the least. Civilization V, while admittedly not the hardest on a GPU, was also up over 30 FPS with the settings on low. All with the free integrated solution. Video transcoding performance with applications supporting Intel Quick Sync offer up huge benefits in performance, dropping the time to transcode a video file for a format used on the iPad by 80% compared to using the CPU alone. Watching HD Blu-ray content with GPU accelerated applications drops the CPU usage to almost nil, with an average of around 1% during 45 minutes of Last of the Mohicans. Again, improvements over past generations are significant.
When it came time to overclock the Third Generation Core i7 3770K, I was looking for a little more clock speed than I was able to wrench from the CPU. Now in the grand scheme of things, any increase is a win, but I just felt that 4.7GHz was a bit short of where it should have fallen, with every Sandy Bridge based chip I have above this mark. Even though the DZ77GA-70K is a competent board, I will reserve full judgment until I play with some of the aftermarket motherboards. Even so, 4.7GHz is a 1.2GHz improvement over the baseline clock speeds. GPU overclocking was as easy as using a point and shoot camera. The base line 1150MHz was bumped up to 1600MHz by just moving a slider and locking in the adjustments. Each one of these increases offered up a nice boost in application and gaming performance.
The combination of the Intel Third Generation Core i7 3770K and the DZ77GA-70K motherboard offers up performance gains and new technologies that can be utilized for a more responsive and higher performing system for the mainstream user. With comparable pricing to previous generations, the latest from Intel is sure to impress as well as deliver on performance vs. price points.
- New technologies
- PCIe 3.0