Intel Goes 22nm and Raises The Bar

Intel Launches Ivy Bridge

Last week Intel released its 7-series chipset family of products for notebooks and desktops using its current 2nd Generation Core 'Sandy Bridge' processors. The new 7-series chipset supports native SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and features Intel responsiveness technologies like Smart Response, Smart Connect, and Rapid Start. This morning Intel released their 3rd generation Core processor, which is codenamed Ivy Bridge. This groundbreaking processor was developed right here in America at the company's facilities in Oregon and is the 22nm die shrink of the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture with some performance improvements and, more importantly, it is the first microprocessor to use Tri-Gate '3D' transistor technology.

Intel Tick Tock Model

For Ivy Bridge, Intel's researchers chose to remake the transistor and Ivy Bridge is the result of a decade of work and over a billion dollars of research and development money. Intel describes the new Tri-Gate transistor as a "silicon fin," that rises above the chip to create a three-sided gate. The new structure enables more current to pass through when transistors are on and virtually none when it's off, so it's better for performance and power savings. The new Tri-Gate design uses less than 50% of the power as a comparable 2-d planar transistor. Intel says that due to this design the Ivy Bridge based processors are a good two- to three-years ahead of the competitors' designs in terms of performance. This is because the Tri-Gate design boosts performance when needed and conserves power when none is required. This technology is great for desktop users, but Intel has clearly focused on power savings to strengthen their position in the mobile market as Intel wants a larger piece of the smartphone and tablet markets.

Intel Ivy Bridge CPU Improvements

As we already mentioned, the Ivy Bridge processors are first mass produced processors that are built using the using a 22nm process. The benefits of this die shrink are fairly obvious; you get the ability to use more transistors and therefore get more processing power on a physically smaller area. The smaller the die size, the lower the cost as you can get more per wafer. The quad-core Ivy Bridge die with Intel HD Graphics 4000 has a transistor count of 1.4 Billion and a die size of 160mm^2. If you recall the quad-core Sandy Bridge die with Intel HD Graphics 3000 had a transistor count of 995 million with a die size of 216mm^2. This means that Ivy Bridge has 40.7% more transistors in a die size that is 26% smaller! The only downside of this is going to be heat as that is a ton of transistors to pack into such a small area.

Intel Ivy Bridge CPU Improvements

The Intel Ivy Bridge processors will have a slight performance boost on the x86 CPU side, but it will be considerably better when it comes to the built-in graphics. Intel is said to have double the graphics performance with the introduction of Intel HD Graphics 4000. This means a better gaming experience, smoother playback of high-definition video and it will even perform better when editing pictures or video clips. Gamers that play at high resolutions or graphics intensive game titles like Skyrim or Battlefield 3 will still need a dedicated graphics card to reach desired performance levels. The vast majority of mainstream PC users should be able to use integrated graphics, though. It should also be noted that the graphics on Ivy Bridge will be able to handle multiple monitors setups, so you can run three simultaneous independent displays now without the need of a video card.

Intel HD 4000 Graphics

While we are on the topic of graphics, we should mention that Intel has completely reworked the HD graphics processor and has added more features and greatly improved performance! We are excited to tell you that all Ivy Bridge processors will support DirectX 11 and OpenCL 1.1 out of the box, without the need for a separate discrete GPU. Ivy Bridge processors will be available with two versions of the new DX11 integrated graphics processor: HD 2500 and HD 4000.

Intel Ivy Bridge LGA1155 Compatible

On the desktop side, only the Core i7 and the high-end Core i5 processor will have HD 4000 graphics; the remaining desktop chips will all use HD 2500 graphics. In case you are wondering, the Intel HD Graphics 2500 graphics solution will offer performance that is roughly comparable to the HD 3000 Intel originally built into its Sandy Bridge processors. The Intel HD Graphics 4000 solution is up to twice as fast as the Intel HD 3000 graphics when it comes to media and graphics performance, so if you plan on doing any gaming and want the best integrated graphics possible you want to go with an Ivy Bridge processor that has Intel HD Graphics 4000.

Intel Ivy Bridge LGA1155 Compatible

The best news about the Intel Ivy Bridge processors is that they are backwards-compatible with the Sandy Bridge platforms after a quick BIOS update on some of the motherboards. This means that nearly all Intel socket LGA1155 motherboards will be ready for the upgrade, if desired.

Intel Launches Ivy Bridge

When it comes to standard desktop Ivy Bridge processors, Intel will be making five of them with a maximum TDP of 75 Watts that will be available as early as April 29. The offerings for desktop include the 3.5GHz Core i7-3770K, the 3.4GHz Core i7-3770, the 3.4GHz Core i5-3570K, the 3.3GHz Core i5-3550, and the 3.1GHz Core i5-3450. All are quad-core desktop processors, but the Core i7s have more cache and eight threads enabled due to HyperThreading. The flagship Intel Core i7-3770K processor is offered at an aggressive price point of $313, which is actually less than the Core i7-2700K ($332) and Core i7-2600K ($317).

Intel Low Power Ivy Bridge CPUs

Intel is also offering four low power desktop processors with the Ivy Bridge launch that have TDPs ranging from 45 to 65 Watts.

Let's take a closer look at the processor we will be reviewing today!

 

Intel Core i7-3770K Processor

Intel Core i7‐3770K processor

For our testing today, Intel sent over the Core i7‐3770K processor (3.5 GHz clock speed, 8M cache, 4 cores/8 threads) with Intel HD Graphics 4000 (1150MHz Max Dynamic Frequency). As you can see from the image above, the Intel Core i7-3770K CPU that we were sent for review is an Engineering Sample (ES) processor with a batch number of V206003P. You can also see the S-Spec number QC45 on the integrated heat spreader (IHS).

Intel Core i7‐3770K processor

The Intel Core i7-3770K looks identical to any other LGA1155 processor from the top, but when you flip it over you can see some differences on the bottom when compared to the Intel Core i7-2700K processor.

Intel Core i7‐3770K Processor Key Features:

Intel Core i7‐3770K processor CPUZ

The Intel Core i7-3770K has a base clock of 3.5GHz, but you will seldom see it at that speed. It idles at 1600MHz when there is no need for CPU performance.

Intel Core i7‐3770K processor CPUZ

The Intel Core i7-3770K usually runs around 3.7GHz when under full load.

Intel Core i7‐3770K processor CPUZ

The Intel Core i7-3770K can hit 3.9GHz when running a single threaded application, which is the highest it can go without overclocking it.

Test System & Specifics

Before we look at the numbers, let's take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. All of the systems ran an AMD Radeon HD 6950 graphics with Catalyst 11.10 Preview drivers, a Crucial C300 256GB SSD with firmware version 0009, a Corsair HX850W power supply and ran a total of 8GB DDR3 memory at CL9 timings (1.50V), with the exception of AMD Phenom II processors that were limited to 1600MHz with CL9 timings. We kept the video cards, power supplies, solid-state drives, memory timings and voltages identical to make sure the processors were being kept in the hot seat.

Intel X79/LGA2011 Platform

Intel LGA2011 Test System

The Intel X79 platform that we used to test the Intel LGA 2011 processors was running the Intel DX79SI motherboard with BIOS 0380 that came out on 11/28/2011. The Corsair Dominator GTX4 8GB 2400MHz quad channel memory kit was set to 1866MHz with 1.5v and 9-10-9-28 1T memory timings. We also used a Zalman CNPS12X CPU Cooler. CPU-Z version 1.58.7 does not properly read the Intel Core i7-3960 processor, so the memory clock settings are not being shown correctly.

Intel X79 Test Settings

Intel Z68 Platform

Intel Z68 Test System

The Intel Z68 platform that we used to test the Intel 1155 processors was running the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 motherboard with BIOS F11 that came out on 2/21/2012. The Corsair Vengeance 8GB 1866MHz memory kit was set to 1866MHz with 1.5v and 9-10-9-24 1T memory timings.

Intel Z68 Test Settings

The AMD FM1 'Llano' Test System:

AMD Llano APU Test System

The test system was run in dual-channel memory mode at 1866MHz with 9-10-9-28 1T memory timings. The Gigabyte GA-A75-UD4H motherboard was running BIOS F3, which was the latest build available when testing was completed. You can see all of the CPU-Z and GPU-Z information for this test platform below.

AMD Socket FM1 Test Settings

AMD AM3+ Platform

AMD AM3+ Test System

The AMD AM3+ platform that we used to test the AMD Phenom and FX processors were run on the ASUS Crosshair V Formula motherboard with BIOS 9901 that came out on 9/26/2011. The Corsair Vengeance 8GB 1866MHz memory kit was set to 1866MHz with 1.5v and 9-10-9-28 1T memory timings on the AMD FX-8150 and then at 1600MHz with 1.5v and 9-10-9-28 1T memory timings on the Phenom II X4 and Phenom II X6 processors.

Intel Z68 Test Settings

The integrated graphics comes up as Radeon HD 6530D according to GPU-Z and we used AMD CATALYST 11.6 drivers for testing.

AMD Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

A8-3850 / A6-3650

Motherboard

Gigabyte GA-A75-UD4H
Click Here

Memory

8GB GSKILL Ripjaws 1866
Click Here

Video Card

AMD Radeon HD 6950

Click Here

Hard Drive

Crucial C300 256GB SSD

Click Here

Cooling

AMD Retail Boxed

Click Here

Power Supply

Corsair HX850W

Click Here

Operating System

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit

Click Here

SiSoftware Sandra 2012 SP4

Sisoftware Sandra 2011 SP5

The Sisoft Sandra 2012 SP4 benchmark utility just came out a few days ago and we have started to include it in our benchmarking. Sandra 2012 comes with support for Virtualisation (Virtual PC/Server, Hyper-V, VMware) and GPGPU (OpenCL, DirectX 11 DirectCompute), but today we will be using the program to look at memory and CPU performance!

Sandra 2011 SP5 Memory Benchmark Scores

Results: The Intel Core i7-3960X and 3820 both use quad-channel DDR3 memory and the memory bandwidth numbers are impressive. The Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge processor had 24.6GB/s of memory bandwidth with our 1866MHz memory kit and CL9 timings.  This is slightly better than the Intel Core i7-2700K processor with the same exact settings, but by only around 200MB/s.

Sisoftware Sandra 2011 SP5

The Sandra Processor Multi-Media benchmark has been a long time favorite of ours to look at floating point performance on processors.

Sandra 2011 SP5 Benchmark Scores

Results: The Intel Core i7-3770K processor did great in the Sandra multi-media benchmark.

x264 HD Encoding

x264 HD Encoding Benchmark

Simply put, the x264 HD Benchmark is a reproducible measure of how fast your machine can encode a short HD-quality video clip into a high quality x264 video file. It's nice because everyone running it will use the same video clip and software. The video encoder (x264.exe) reports a fairly accurate internal benchmark (in frames per second) for each pass of the video encode and it also uses multi-core processors very efficiently. All these factors make this an ideal benchmark to compare different processors and systems to each other. We are using x264 HD v4.0 for this test.

x264 HD Encoding Benchmark

This application did fairly well when run on 12 threads, as you can see from the screen shot above. The first pass was not using all of the processing power available on the cores, but on the second pass all 12 threads were at ~95% load.

x264 HD Encoding Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The x264 HD benchmark showed the Intel Core i7-3770K had very solid passes with 164.5 FPS on pass 1 and 41.7 FPS on pass 2. We are getting up to the performance level of the Intel Core i7-990X processor, which cost more than three times as much as the Core i7-3770K when it came out!

CyberLink MediaEspresso 6.5

CyberLink MediaEspresso 6.5 is a blazingly fast media universal converter that can transcode your videos, photos and music files and out put them to a huge range of portable devices including mobile phones, portable media players and even game consoles. With technologies like Smart Detect, Direct Sync and CyberLink's TrueTheater video enhancements, you can not only forget about complicated format, resolution and output settings, but your converted file will come out the other side looking better than when it went in! MediaEspresso 6.5 can be used to output your slideshows and videos to mobile devices like an iPhone, iPod, PSP or Zune. Pre-set profiles eliminate the need for any complex settings and you can just drag-and-drop the video files you want to convert straight into the application.

CyberLink MediaShow 6.5

We downloaded a clip that was encoded at 24 frames per second (fps) at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (1080p). We then used MediaEspresso 6.5 to convert this clip to work on our iPhone. If you have this software and want to try it out yourself you can download the Coral Reef Adventure (IMAX) 1080p clip that we used from this site. This benchmark only used ~40% of the processor and looks like it is only threaded for up to ten threads as two of the threads were not under any load.

CyberLink MediaEspresso 6.5 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: With hardware acceleration disabled we see that Intel Core i7-3770K beat the Core i7-2700K by a second.
CyberLink MediaEspresso 6.5 Benchmark Results

With Quick Sync Video enabled we were able to get much better performance. The Intel Core i7-2700K w/ Quick Sync Video enabled finished in 21 seconds and the Intel Core i7-3770K w/ Quick Sync Video finished in 20 seconds.  This is again a 1 second difference between these two processors.

Handbrake

Handbrake

HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows. It is popular today as it allows you to transcode multiple input video formats to h.264 output format and is highly multithreaded.

HandBrake 0.9.5 benchmarking

This workload is a 43-second HDV. The input file is encoded in Mpeg format. Video encode parameters are 23.9mbps, 1440*1080, 29.9fps. Audio encode parameters are 384 kbps, 48kHz, 2channel, mpeg audio version 1 layer 2. File size is 128MB. The workload is encoded into h.264 output format using the preset - high profile. HandBrake version 0.9.5 was used for benchmarking. HandBrake 0.9.5 does support 12-threads, but as you can see above it only used about 80-95% of the available processing power.

HandBrake 0.9.5 benchmarking

Benchmark Results: HandBrake version 0.9.5 benchmarking showed the Intel Core i7-3770K performing really well as it was even faster than the Core i7-3820.
HandBrake 0.9.6 benchmarking

Benchmark Results: HandBrake version 0.9.6 recently came out, so we ran it also and found a significant performance improvement with this version. The Intel Core i7-3770K ran the benchmark at 3.7GHz thanks to Turbo and finished nearly 6% faster than the Intel Core i7-2700K! 

POV-Ray 3.7 RC5

Processor Performance on Pov-Ray 3.7 RC5:

The Persistence of Vision Ray-Tracer was developed from DKBTrace 2.12 (written by David K. Buck and Aaron A. Collins) by a bunch of people (called the POV-Team) in their spare time. It is a high-quality, totally free tool for creating stunning three-dimensional graphics. It is available in official versions for Windows, Mac OS/Mac OS X and i86 Linux. The POV-Ray package includes detailed instructions on using the ray-tracer and creating scenes. Many stunning scenes are included with POV-Ray so you can start creating images immediately when you get the package. These scenes can be modified so you do not have to start from scratch. In addition to the pre-defined scenes, a large library of pre-defined shapes and materials is provided. You can include these shapes and materials in your own scenes by just including the library file name at the top of your scene file and by using the shape or material name in your scene. Since this is free software feel free to download this version and try it out on your own.

The most significant change from the end-user point of view between versions 3.6 and 3.7 is the addition of SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) support, which, in a nutshell, allows the renderer to run on as many CPU's as you have installed on your computer. This will be particularly useful for those users who intend on purchasing a dual-core CPU or who already have a two (or more) processor machine. On a two-CPU system the rendering speed in some scenes almost doubles. For our benchmarking we used version 3.7 RC5, which is the most recent version available.  The benchmark used all available cores to their fullest extent to complete the render.

Pov-Ray 3.7 RC3

Once rendering on the object we selected was completed, we took the elapsed time from the dialog box, which indicates the exact time it took for the benchmark to finish the benchmark. A lower time indicates faster system performance. This benchmark used all 12 threaded and loaded each one up at 100% load!

Pov-Ray 3.7 RC3

Benchmark Results: The Intel Core i7-3820 finished the POV-Ray benchmark in 205.77 seconds, but that wasn't enough as the Intel Core i7-3770K finished the benchmark in 192.85 seconds!

Cinebench R11.5

MAXON; CINEBENCH R11.5:

MAXON recently released CINEBENCH Release 11.5, an advanced hardware testing suite that assesses a computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on the same powerful technology as MAXON's award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. The new version of CINEBENCH includes the ability to more accurately test the industry’s latest hardware, including systems with up to 64 processor threads, and the testing environment better reflects the expectations of today’s production demands. A more streamlined interface makes testing systems and reading results incredibly straightforward. Again, higher Frames/Second and point score equal better performance.

Cinebench R11.5

Cinebench R11.5 was able to put a 100% load across all the cores on all of the processors, which makes this a great benchmark to look at multi-core platforms.

Cinebench R11.5 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: When it comes to multi-core performance the Intel Core i7-3770K scored 7.50 points. That was enough to beat out the Core i7-2700K and pretty much every other processor tested.

Cinebench R11.5 Results

Benchmark Results: A quick look at the single core CPU benchmark revealed that the Core i7-3770K had the highest single core performance of any processor benchmarked!

PCMark 7

PCMark 7 Benchmarking

This is our first use of Futuremark PCMark 7 for a processor review. PCMark 7 is specifically designed for Windows 7. It measures the performance of the latest PC hardware across a variety of common scenarios.

PCMark Vantage 7 supports both system level and component level benchmarking and comprises several different test suites but for the purposes of this review, we employed the standard test suite. The nice thing about it is that you can submit your scores online and compare against others.

PCMark Vantage Benchmarking

Benchmark Results: The Intel Core i7-3770K finished PCMark 7 with an overall score of 4680 points.

3DMark Vantage & 3DMark 11

3DMark Vantage

3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware. 3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.

3DMark Vantage

The Performance settings were used for testing, so a resolution of 1280x1024 was used.

3dmark Vantage Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The Intel Core i7-3770K finished in third place, which is where it has finished in most of the benchmarks with a solid score of 21293 3DMarks.

3dmark Vantage Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The GPU score for the Intel Core i7-3770K is the second highest for this test platform.

3dmark Vantage Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The CPU benchmark results in 3DMark Vantage showed the Intel Core i7-3770K coming in third place again with a score of 26646 3DMarks.

Integrated Graphics Testing

Intel Core i7-2700K w/ Intel HD 3000 Graphics:

3dmark Vantage

Intel Core i7-3770K w/ Intel HD 4000 Graphics:

3dmark Vantage

With the AMD Radeon HD 6950 video card removed from the test system we ran 3DMark Vantage on both integrated graphics engines and found a huge difference. The Intel Core i7-2700K processor with the Intel HD 3000 Graphics scored P2343 in 3DMark Vantage with the performance preset.  The Intel Core i7-3770K with Intel HD 4000 graphics scored P4313 on the same test. This is a 45.4% performance increase on the overall score of this benchmark!

3dmark 11

Since the Intel HD 4000 Graphics supports DirectX 11 you can run 3DMark 11 on the Intel Core i7-3770K processor without the need of a discrete graphics card.  We found the 3770K was able to score P776 in this benchmark.

Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. Resident Evil 5 features similar gameplay to Resident Evil 4, with context-sensitive controls and dynamic cut scenes also making a return. The player can control Chris Redfield or Sheva Alomar in a similar fashion to Leon S. Kennedy in Resident Evil 4, with the same over-the-shoulder perspective.

Resident Evil 5

We ran the Resident Evil 5 benchmark in DX10 mode with all the image quality settings turned down, which just happens to be the default settings of the game.

Resident Evil 5

This game title runs on up to six threads as you can see from the task manager shot above that was taken on a test system that was running the Intel Core i7-3960X processor.

Resident Evil 5 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The higher turbo clock speeds and IPC improvements in Ivy Bridge appear to help a bit as the Intel Core i7-3770K performed noticeably better than the Core i7-2700K.

Integrated Graphics Testing

Resident Evil 5 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The Intel Core i7-3770K scored 44.1 FPS at 1280x1024, which was roughly 45% faster than what the Intel Core i7-2700K could do on the same benchmark.

H.A.W.X. 2 Benchmark

Tom Clancy's HAWX 2

Aerial warfare has evolved. So have you. As a member of the ultra-secret H.A.W.X. 2 squadron, you are one of the chosen few, one of the truly elite. You will use finely honed reflexes, bleeding-edge technology and ultra-sophisticated aircraft - their existence denied by many governments - to dominate the skies. You will do so by mastering every nuance of the world's finest combat aircraft. You will slip into enemy territory undetected, deliver a crippling blow and escape before he can summon a response. You will use your superior technology to decimate the enemy from afar, then draw him in close for a pulse-pounding dogfight. And you will use your steel nerve to successfully execute night raids, aerial refueling and more. You will do all this with professionalism, skill and consummate lethality. Because you are a member of H.A.W.X. 2 and you are one of the finest military aviators the world has ever known. H.A.W.X. 2 was released on November 16, 2010 for PC gamers.

Tom Clancy's HAWX 2

We ran the benchmark in DX11 mode with the image quality settings set fairly high as you would on a high-end gaming PC with a Radeon HD 6950 graphics card.

Tom Clancy's HAWX 2

The H.A.W.X. 2 PC game title runs on what looks like seven threads if the processor being tested has that many available.

Tom Clancy's HAWX 2 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: Here we see the Intel Core i7-3770K and the Core i7-2700K performing pretty much at the same level.

Integrated Graphics Testing

HAWX 2 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: For integrated graphics testing we turned off DirectX 11 mode and disabled the 4x AA image quality setting.  The Intel Core i7-3770K with the Intel HD 4000 Graphics performed 46% better at 1920x1080 than the Intel Core i7-2700K processor with Intel HD 3000 Graphics!

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

Stalker Call of Pripyat DX11 Performance Benchmark

The events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat unfold shortly after the end of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl following the ending in which Strelok destroys the C-Consciousness. Having discovered the open path to the Zone's center, the government decides to stage a large-scale operation to take control of the Chernobyl nuclear plant.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat utilizes the XRAY 1.6 Engine, allowing advanced modern graphical features through the use of DirectX 11 to be fully integrated; one outstanding feature being the inclusion of real-time GPU tessellation. Regions and maps feature photo realistic scenes of the region it is made to represent. There is also extensive support for older versions of DirectX, meaning that Call of Pripyat is also compatible with older DirectX 8, 9, 10 and 10.1 graphics cards.

Stalker Call of Pripyat Advanced Image Quality Settings
Stalker Call of Pripyat Advanced Image Quality Settings

The game S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: CoP has no internal benchmarking tools built into the game engine, but they do have a standalone benchmark available that we used for our testing purposes. The screen capture above shows the main window of the benchmark with our settings. Notice we are running Enhanced Full Dynamic Lighting "DX11" as our renderer. Under the advanced settings we enabled tessellation, MSAA and Screen Space Ambient Occlusion.

Stalker Call of Pripyat Advanced Image Quality Settings

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat looks to only be threaded for one CPU core as you can see from the Windows Task Manager screen capture that was done during a benchmark run.

Stalker Call of Pripyat Advanced Image Quality Settings

Benchmark Results: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat was run with Ultra settings, so many of the fastest CPUs are GPU bound and that is why you don't see good scaling.

Integrated Graphics Testing

HAWX 2 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: For integrated graphics testing we switched from DirectX 11 mode to DirectX 10 and ran the benchmark again at 1280x1024. We found that the Intel Core i7-3770K with the Intel HD 4000 Graphics performed 60% better than the Intel Core i7-2700K processor with Intel HD 3000 Graphics!

Total System Power Consumption

CPU Power Consumption

Since power consumption is a big deal these days, we ran some simple power consumption tests on our test beds. The systems ran with identical power supplies, Solid-Sate Drives, Memory kits and motherboards from the same company. To measure idle usage, we ran the system at idle for one hour on the desktop with no screen saver and took the measurement. For load measurements, Prime95's in-place large FFT's were run on all cores to make sure each and every processor was at 100% load for maximum power consumption and heat. Curious about other test scenarios, we decided to HAWX 2 the PC game for testing. We also tested a video transcode using HandBrake 0.95 to see how the power draw was on that.

ASUS F1A75-M Pro System Power Consumption

Benchmark Results: Power consumption with the Intel Core i7-3770K was a bit shocking to us.  The load power consumption was amazing, but at idle it was 10 Watts higher than the Intel Core i7-2700K. This could be due to a BIOS issue or just that Ivy Bridge uses a little more at idle due to the new graphics engine.

Total System Power Consumption

Benchmark Results: With the discrete graphics card removed from the system we see the numbers drop big time, but the Intel Core i7-3770K still used more power at idle and during gaming than the Intel Core i7-2700K. On very CPU intensive tasks like Prime 95 and Handbrake the Intel Core i7-3770K was very impressive as it used 23% less power in HandBrake and 13% less in Prime 95!

Intel Core i7-3770K CPU Water Temp Testing & Overclocking

Intel LGA2011 CPU Cooler Roundup - Intel RTS2011LC water cooler

Intel recently introduced the RTS2011LC, a sealed liquid cooling thermal solution that works on Intel core processor families with LGA2011 / 1366 / 1155 / 1156 sockets. This kit is geared toward enthusiasts that want to get the most from their computer. We've already covered this cooler back in September, but we wanted to try it out on Ivy Bridge to see how it performs on this new 22nm processor that runs warmer than its older 32nm Sandy Bridge counterpart.


Specifications of RTS2011LC:

Intel Core i7-3770K Processor Temperature at Load

The Intel RTS2011LC water cooler was used in conjunction with Gelid GC-Extreme Thermal Compound and we used Core Temp to monitor and record the temperatures observed. We then averaged the temperatures of the four cores and finally rounded to the nearest whole number to keep things simple.

Intel Core i7-3770K Processor Temperature at Load

The Intel Core i7-3770K was found to run hotter than the Intel Core i7-2700K in all four of our test scenarios.

ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe 'Ivy Bridge' Intel 3770K Overclocking

We were able to overclock the Core i7-3770K up to 4.8GHz with full stability.

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

After spending some time with Ivy Bridge we quickly discovered that Intel has raised the bar across the board for performance. Not bad considering that Ivy Bridge does not feature a brand-new microarchitecture and is basically a die shrink of Sandy Bridge.  The performance gains are modest to say the least, but any increase is a welcome one!

Intel Core i7‐3770K processor

The one area that the 22nm Ivy Bridge processors really shine in is the graphics department. Usually we don't have too many positive things to say about Intel HD Graphics, but the new Intel HD 4000 series graphics engine shows major improvement. Intel said that mainstream gamers should be able to use Intel HD Graphics 4000 as they have up to twice the 3-D graphics performance compared to the previous-generation processor. Our testing showed that performance improved by up to 60% in game titles, which is a significant increase and nothing to laugh at.  AMD and NVIDIA better be keeping a close eye on what Intel is doing with their graphics as mainstream users don't need a discrete video card to do the vast majority of tasks an average user does. Gamers and enthusiasts will still need a graphics card, but the casual gamer might be able to get away without using one. Intel has also been making improvements to Quick Sync Video and those are starting to pay off as well.

Intel Launches Ivy Bridge

Intel will be releasing the unlocked Intel Core i7-3770K and Core i5-3570K, in addition to standard i7-3770, i5-3550, and i5-3450 processors. The prices will range from $174 to $313 and are very affordable when you consider that they are priced below Sandy Bridge processors and perform better with lower power consumption. It is odd that Intel has yet to mention any Core i3 Ivy Bridge processors for the desktop user, but we are sure those lower cost alternatives will be coming out later. All of the processors mentioned in this review should be available to purchase on April 28th.

If you have been waiting on Ivy Bridge 22nm processors to arrive before building your next system, your wait is finally over.  Ivy Bridge is an improvement across the board and is the CPU to buy right now! 


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