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Core i7-4770K: Haswell's Performance, Previewed

Results: HD Graphics 4600 In Hitman And DiRT

When Intel introduced Ivy Bridge’s architecture back at IDF 2011, company engineers made it a point to discuss the graphics pipeline’s modularity, even hinting that future implementations of the HD Graphics engine would see the multiplication of certain on-die components.

Based on early platform documentation, Intel currently has two configurations of Haswell's GPU planned: GT2 and GT3. Conceivably, there's a GT1 as well, though we've seen no mention of it pertaining to any of Intel's LGA, rPGA, or BGA models. Core i7-4770K sports GT2, with 20 execution units (up from Core i7-3770K’s 16). That part is branded as HD Graphics 4600.

Although it represents a notable speed-up compared to HD Graphics 4000, this isn’t earth-shattering enough to make Hitman: Absolution playable. Intel was showing off a system with GT3 in its CES 2013 booth, and that implementation looks to be significantly faster. However, HD Graphics 4600 is going to be far more incremental. We can’t turn this game down any more than its Low preset, and even at 1366x768, it’s just not fluid.

AMD's Trinity-based A10-5800K achieves an average of 20.39 FPS at 1920x1080, besting the Core i7-4770K in its current state.

We’re afforded a little more flexibility in DiRT Showdown, where HD Graphics 4600 runs the game’s Medium-quality preset fairly well at 1366x768. Stepping up to 1920x1080 still isn’t playable.  

The Core i7-3770K’s HD Graphics 4000 engine might be expected to outpace its predecessor by a greater delta. However, we used Intel’s latest pre-production drivers on Haswell and Ivy Bridge, while HD Graphics 3000 was backed by the latest public release.

With an average frame rate of 35.8 at 1920x1080, the A10-5800K is again quicker than the Core i7-4770K with it beta drivers.

Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.