Intel Core i7-4770K Haswell Processor

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Our first set of tests focuses on the integrated graphics. Each CPU/APU and motherboard combination was equipped with 4GB of RAM, a 500GB notebook hard drive and a Blu-ray drive.

IGP Performance

Note: Discrete GPUs were tested on our GPU testing platform which uses a Core i3-2100, though CPU scaling shouldn't be an issue given the relatively low level of GPU performance of the chips compared.

The new HD 4600 integrated graphics controller is tremendous upgrade over Ivy Bridge's HD 4000, generating 35~40% better fps on average in our tests. It performed best in synthetic tests and three out of four of the games in our test suite, scoring on par with the A8-5600K/Radeon HD 7560D. The only sore point was Lost Planet 2, where it was only 2~3 fps faster than HD 4000.

It's a nice performance bump but keep in mind that in our more demanding games, it only achieved greater than 30 fps when the resolution was set to just 1366x768 and details were set to low. It keeps pace with other integrated solutions but it's still only comparable to low-end discrete graphics cards, which never deliver much bang for your buck.

Quick Sync Performance

Intel's Quick Sync video encoding and decoding technology debuted in Sandy Bridge and has been improved with each generation since (Ivy Bridge and now Haswell). The feature offers fast video transcoding accelerated by the integrated graphics chip. In past CPU reviews we didn't pay much attention to it as it wasn't supported by most applications. That's still the case today with the notable exception of the latest beta version of HandBrake, a popular open source video encoder. With this latest development we thought it would be prudent to check out whether Quick Sync is truly a viable alternative to traditional non-accelerated CPU intensive transcoding. Our test was a simple one, converting a 720p H.264 encoded video with Matroska container into one with an MP4 container using a similar bitrate.

720p H.264 Video Transcoding Comparison:
GPU Acceleration
Avg. CPU Usage
System Power (AC)
Intel HD 4600 (Quick Sync)
45 secs
no acceleration
63 secs
CyberLink MediaEspresso
Intel HD 4600 (Quick Sync)
19 secs
Radeon HD 5450
89 secs
no acceleration
65 secs

Using HandBrake, Quick Sync produced a 40% improvement in completion time and 72% reduction in system power consumption compared to the same task unaccelerated (software transcoding). The resulting videos had similar image quality when played but after picking out still frames we noticed that Quick Sync transcoded file actually generated a smoother, less grainy/blocky picture. CPU usage was also way down, so using Quick Sync frees up the system's resources for a better multitasking experience, assuming it's not bottlenecked by disk operations.

CyberLink's MediaEspresso has excellent Quick Sync support, having been compatible with the technology since the beginning. Using Quick Sync, the transcode was completed in less than a third of the time with similar CPU usage and power consumption as HandBrake. MediaEspresso can also do hardware encoding/decoding with AMD and Nvidia cards as well, but enabling it with an Radeon HD 5450 actually slowed down the process, though CPU utilization was almost halved. As for image quality, we couldn't really tell the difference between the three files, so essentially it's another win for Quick Sync.

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