Intel Core i7-5775C: Broadwell for Desktops

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Value Analysis

When considering the cost of a system, the CPU is only part of the equation as the price of motherboards and RAM must be added to find the true platform price. n the chart above, we included the prices of the chips compared today (that are still widely available and not obsolete due to EOL), 8GB of RAM (DDR4 for Skylake as it's more commonly supported), and an average compatible motherboard from Newegg that fulfill this basic barebones set of criteria:

  • Retail models
  • In stock
  • Not extravagantly priced (most expensive models omitted)
  • Major name brand (ASRock, Asus, Intel, Gigabyte, MSI)
  • SATA 6 Gbps support in some form
  • USB 3.0 support in some form

The i7-5775C is in short supply so the market price is currently much higher than what Intel suggests. No retailer had them in stock at time of writing, with pre-orders open at a few sites for US$380~$400. As Broadwell parts are only compatible with 9-series chipsets (with a BIOS update), the average motherboard cost is also US$20 higher than Haswell. This offsets the price premium of DDR4 memory, so the overall cost of such a platform is similar to a Skylake i7-6700K configuration.

To calculate performance per dollar, we divided the relative performance scores by the platform costs and re-scaled it, again with the i5-4670K as our reference point. We don't have test data on the i7-4790K, but it's significant enough to place on the chart as it is both cheaper and runs at a faster clock speed than the i7-4770K.

Taking into consideration CPU performance alone, the i7-5775C doesn't give you a whole lot for your money. We've already determined that the i7-6700K offers better performance per watt, so you really need to take advantage of its beefy integrated graphics to receive some semblance of value.

To adjust the performance per dollar for GPU performance, the cost of an Iris Pro 6200 equivalent (US$70) graphics card has been tacked on to all non-Broadwell chips.

Even if you discount the worth of lower-tier Intel graphics altogether, the i7-5775C only offers more value than the outdated/overpriced Core i7-4770K and new Skylake Core i7. Both of the Haswell Refresh models, the i7-4790K and i5-4690K, deliver more bang for your buck if you pair it with a comparable dedicated video card.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Core i7-5775C is an odd duck, not only because it's the first Broadwell processor for the desktop. It's a specialty part that bizarrely melds together an unlocked CPU multiplier, a low 65W TDP, L4 cache, and a graphics chip that absolutely dominates all integrated solutions as well as a sizable proportion of low-end discrete graphics cards. On paper it looks like a pretty good value, especially given its backwards compatibility with LGA1150/9-series motherboards.

Unfortunately due to supply and demand driving the price up, you can purchase a Haswell configuration with a comparable video card that will perform similarly in most respects for significantly less, and even a Skylake i7-6700K system offers more overall value. The Iris Pro 6200 graphics is its biggest selling point, and while it is formidable, it too has its limitations. If you ever decide to upgrade to a discrete card, it will be placed on the sidelines with its talents being wasted. Users who are drawn to the "green" aspect of Broadwell should note that while it is more energy efficient than Haswell, the difference is slight on the desktop despite what the TDP rating suggests.

The i7-5775C is essentially a mobile chip ported to the desktop space, trying to offer everything in one package. With a desktop socket, users have choice, so it's generally preferable to specialize. I'm all for a power-sipping Broadwell, an unlocked Broadwell for overclocking to the moon, and a Broadwell with tremendous built-in graphics, but all of them jammed into the same package isn't a great strategy. The i7-5775C is the most interesting desktop CPU of the past few years but ultimately it struggles to find a purpose within Intel's LGA1150 lineup.

Our thanks to Intel for the Intel Core i7-5775C processor sample.

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Articles of Related Interest
Skylake: Intel Core i7-6700K
AMD Kabini: Athlon 5350 Desktop SoC
AMD A8-7600 Kaveri APU
AMD A10-6800K & A10-6700 Richland APUs
Intel Core i7-4770K Haswell Processor
AMD FX-8350 CPU: Piledriver Arrives

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