Intel Core i7-3770 Ivy Bridge CPU

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In terms of performance, the new HD 4000 graphics chip is a more substantial update than the CPU portion of Ivy Bridge, delivering 50~70% higher frame rates in our gaming benchmarks. Unfortunately needs to be an order of magnitude better to really make a difference — rendering smooth gameplay is only possible at lower resolutions. It also can't quite beat the Radeon HD 6550D inside AMD's high-end APU. One nice addition is the ability to use three displays simultaneously, a milestone for integrated graphics. When playing H.264 video we encountered higher than expected (but not alarming) power consumption and CPU usage depending on the playback software used; we chalk this up to early driver issues.

The i7-3770K and other high power models of Ivy Bridge have a TDP of just 77W but our sample didn't really exceed the power consumption of the 95W i7-2600K. We did find it to be less energy efficient when using integrated graphics. The GPU used an additional 15W when placed on load, a 50% increase over HD 3000, but the idle difference was actually bigger. The i7-3770K / DZ77GA-70K combination had an idle power consumption 7W higher than the i5-2500K paired with most H67 motherboards. When we switched to our CPU test configuration using a discrete graphics card with the IGP disabled, the idle power draw was within 2W of the i5-2500K and i7-2600K running on a P67 board.

As for the CPU, it's a small step up in performance from Sandy Bridge, breathing some fresh air into the LGA1155 platform. The Core i7-3770K was faster overall than the i7-2600K by about 9% (our guess is 7% vs. the i7-2700K) without increasing the overall power draw. Its overall performance can't be beat by anything except an uber expensive Sandy Bridge Extreme. That being said, the increase in CPU performance won't make current Sandy Bridge owners envious unless they're in a possession of a lowly dual core model.

The i7-3770K's US$313 price tag allows it to supplant the i7-2600K/2700K, but it is still a poorer value than slower Sandy/Ivy Bridge offerings. The i5-3570K is likely to give you better bang for your buck as it should hit the market at a similar price to the current king of values, the Core i5-2500K.

Our thanks to Intel for the Core i7-3770K and sample used in this review.

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Articles of Related Interest
Intel DZ77GA-70K Z77 Motherboard: Waiting for Ivy Bridge
Intel Sandy Bridge Extreme: Core i7-3960X LGA2011 Processor
AMD FX-8150 8-Core Bulldozer Processor
AMD A8-3850 Quad Core Desktop APU (updated July 10)
Intel Core i3-2100T & Core i5-2400S Low Power CPUs
Core i5-2400, i5-2500K and i7-2600K CPUs

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