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Intel Third Generation Core i7 3770K Review



Testing the Third Generation Core i7 3770K Ivy Bridge Processor will involve running it and its comparison products through OCC's test suite of benchmarks, which include both synthetic benchmarks and real-world applications. The gaming tests will also consist of both synthetic benchmarks and actual game play, in which we can see if similarly-prepared setups offer any performance advantages. The system will receive a fully updated, fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit edition, in addition to the latest chipset drivers for each board and latest AMD Catalyst drivers for the XFX HD 6970. To ensure as few variables as possible, all hardware will be tested at their stock speeds, timings, voltages, and latencies, unless otherwise stated. Turbo Boost will be disabled on all processors to make a fair comparison without skewing results. After stock speed testing, each processor will then be overclocked as much as possible, while still maintaining full stability.


Testing Setup: Intel Core i7 3770K


Testing Setup: Intel Core i7 Socket 2011


Testing Setup: AMD AM3+


Testing Setup: Intel Core i5/i7 Socket 1155


Testing Setup: Intel Core i7 Socket 1366



Comparison CPUs:



Overclocked settings:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7 3770K – 4700 MHz (100 MHz x 47)


Overclocking the Third Generation Core i7 3770K was a little more challenging than I expected, as the usual means to gain additional clock speed did not seem to work after a certain point. My expectation was to go for 5.0 GHz right off the bat by adjusting the clock multiplier to 50 and voltage to 1.40 V. That did not end well, so it came down to starting low and working my way up. Thankfully, using the Back to BIOS button enabled a return to the BIOS and allowed me to fix problems each time I reached a no-post or boot-looping after changing the settings. Working up from a 45 multiplier and 100 bclock, I was easily able to get the Core i7 3770K stable at 4.7 GHz using 1.325 V, as applied in the BIOS. After that point, enabling the PLL overvoltage option did not increase the multiplier capabilities and resulted in a hard lock at post. Adjusting the bclock also resulted in the same no-post scenario. Dropping the multiplier and adjusting the bclock for additional clock speed also resulted in no-post. It seemed like I reached a hard wall at 4.7 GHz without the ability to go any higher, no matter through bclock tuning or additional multiplier tuning. Temperatures were in the mid-60's Celsius under load, so I am sure that was not the concern here. For now, 4.7 GHz is what I will run with. Nonetheless, the 1.2 GHz bonus over the stock speed of 3.5 GHz should offer significant improvements on performance in CPU-related tasks. Overclocking the HD 4000 graphics core was fairly simple; navigating to the graphics page in the BIOS and setting the graphics speed you are looking for allows the BIOS to adjust parameters such as the TDC, multiplier, and voltage needed to reach the speed. However, this is still all dependent on the graphics core and CPU's ability to manage the clock speeds. I was able to reach 1600 MHz on the HD 4000 graphics core, which presented nice improvements over baseline speeds when tested in games.




If overclocking is not in your future, Intel's Turbo Boost 2 technology is used to boost the speed of the processor under differing usage conditions. Low load situations with one or two cores active will see a boost of up to 400 MHz over the base clock speeds of 3500 MHz; a total of 3900 MHz. With all cores active, the maximum frequency is relatively lower in keeping within the power limits of the architecture. Each of these scenarios offer a nice boost in clock speed, with really no effort, as the BIOS setting for Turbo Boost is enabled by default, allowing the end user the ability to overclock without really overclocking; Intel simply manages the process for you.


Intel Extreme Tuning Utility:

Intel offers their Extreme Tuning Utility to adjust the CPU, GPU, and Memory settings from within the operating system. There are 5 tabs to choose from in this utility. System Information gives a breakdown on what components are installed in the motherboard, along with current CPU and GPU clock speeds. Manual Tuning allows the Core i7 3770K to be overclocked with just about all of the BIOS settings available, from maximum power and current limits, to the Turbo Boost multipliers, and additional voltage under Turbo Boost. Graphics Tuning allows the user to increase the clock speed and performance of Intel's HD 4000 graphics engine. Stress Tests has a series of tests to test the stability of the system including the CPU, GPU, and System memory. Under Profiles, you can save a group of settings as a specific user or performance preset for a quick way to manage performance characteristics.




Maximum Core Clock Speed:

Each CPU has been tested for stability at the listed overclocked speeds. These clock speeds will represent the level of performance shown by the overclocked scores in the testing.




  • Scientific & Data:
  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. Geekbench 2.1
  4. Office 2007 Excel Number Crunch
  5. POV-Ray 3.7
  6. Bibble 5
  7. Sandra 2011
  8. AIDA64 1.85
  9. HandBrake .9.5
  10. ScienceMark 2.02
  11. Cinebench 10 & 11.5
  12. HD Tune 4.60
  • Video:
  1. Aliens vs. Predator
  2. Civilization V
  3. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  4. 3DMark 11

  1. Introduction & Closer look
  2. Closer Look: Intel Extreme DZ77GA-70K
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. Testing: Apophysis, WinRar, GeekBench, Bibble 5
  6. Testing: Office 2007, PovRay, Handbrake, ProShow Gold
  7. Testing: SiSoft Sandra, AIDA 64
  8. Testing: Sciencemark, Cinebench, HD Tune, PCMark 7
  9. Testing: Aliens vs. Predator
  10. Testing: Civilization V
  11. Testing: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  12. Testing: 3Dmark 11
  13. Testing: IGP
  14. Conclusion
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