Intel Core i7-3770K Review: A Small Step Up For Ivy Bridge

Test Setup And Benchmarks

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Test Hardware
ProcessorsIntel Core i7-3770K (Ivy Bridge) 3.5 GHz (35 * 100 MHz), LGA 1155, 8 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled
Row 1 - Cell 0 Intel Core i7-3930K (Sandy Bridge-E) 3.2 GHz (32 * 100 MHz), LGA 2011, 12 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled
Row 2 - Cell 0 Intel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E) 3.3 GHz (33 * 100 MHz), LGA 2011, 15 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled
Row 3 - Cell 0 AMD FX-8150 (Zambezi) 3.6 GHz (18 * 200 MHz), Socket AM3+, 8 MB Shared L3, Turbo Core enabled, Power-savings enabled
Row 4 - Cell 0 AMD Phenom II X6 1100T (Thuban) 3.3 GHz (16.5 * 200 MHz), Socket AM3, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Core enabled, Power-savings enabled
Row 5 - Cell 0 Intel Core i7-2700K (Sandy Bridge) 3.5 GHz (35 * 100 MHz), LGA 1155, 8 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled
Row 6 - Cell 0 Intel Core i5-2550K (Sandy Bridge) 3.5 GHz (35 * 100 MHz), LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled
Thermal PasteZalman ZM-STG1
MotherboardIntel DX77GA-70K (LGA 1155) Intel Z77 Express Chipset, BIOS GA.3254
Row 9 - Cell 0 Gigabyte X79-UD5 (LGA 2011) Intel X79 Express Chipset, BIOS F10
Row 10 - Cell 0 Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5 (Socket AM3+) AMD 990FX/SB950 Chipset, BIOS F7
Row 11 - Cell 0 Gigabyte A75-UD4H (Socket FM1) AMD A75 Chipset, BIOS F7
Row 12 - Cell 0 Gigabyte X68X-UD7-B3 (LGA 1155) Intel Z68 Express Chipset, BIOS F10 (for compatibility testing)
Row 13 - Cell 0 Gigabyte G1. Sniper 2 (LGA 1155) Intel Z68 Express Chipset, BIOS F5 (for compatibility testing)
MemoryG.Skill 16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600, F3-12800CL9Q2-32GBZL @ 9-9-9-24 and 1.5 V
Row 15 - Cell 0 Kingston 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-2133, KHX2133C9AD3T1K2/4GX @ up to DDR3-2133 1.65 V for memory overclocking
Hard DriveIntel SSD 510 250 GB, SATA 6 Gb/s
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 680 2 GB
Power SupplyCooler Master UCP-1000 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectXDirectX 11
Graphics DriverNvidia GeForce Release 301.10

We used Intel's new DZ77GA-70K for our LGA 1155 testing, but pulled out a number of boards from Gigabyte for testing compatibility of older Z68-based platforms.

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Game Benchmarks And Settings
Batman: Arkham CityGame Settings: High Quality Settings, Anti-Aliasing: Disabled/8x MSAA, V-sync: Disabled, DirectX 11 Mode, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, 2560x1600, Built-in Benchmark
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimGame Settings: High Quality (8x AA / 8x AF) / Ultra Quality (8x AA, 16x AF) Settings, FXAA disabled, V-sync: Disabled, 1680x1050 / 1920x1080 / 2560x1600, 25-second playback, Fraps
World of Warcraft: CataclysmGame Settings: Ultra Quality Settings, Anti-Aliasing: 1x AA and 8x AA, Anisotropic Filtering: 16x, Vertical Sync: Disabled, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 2560x1600, Demo: Crushblow to The Krazzworks, DirectX 11
Audio Benchmarks and Settings
iTunesVersion: 10.4.10, 64-bit Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min., Convert to AAC audio format
Lame MP3Version 3.98.3 Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
Video Benchmarks and Settings
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.9.5Video: Big Buck Bunny (720x480, 23.972 frames) 5 Minutes, Audio: Dolby Digital, 48 000 Hz, Six-Channel, English, to Video: AVC Audio: AC3 Audio2: AAC (High Profile)
MainConcept Reference v2.2Version: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Application Benchmarks and Settings
WinRARVersion: 4.11 RAR, Syntax "winrar a -r -m3", Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
WinZip 16Version: 16.0 Pro WinZip CLI, Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
7-ZipVersion 9.22 beta LZMA2, Syntax "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5", Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5Paladin Sequence to H.264 Blu-rayOutput 1920x1080, Maximum Quality, Mercury Playback Engine: Software Mode
Adobe After Effects CS 5.5Version: CS5.5Tom's Hardware Workload, SD project with three picture-in-picture frames, source video at 720p, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously
BlenderVersion: 2.62 Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, Resolution: 1920x1080, Anti-Aliasing: 8x, Render: THG.blend frame 1, Cycles renderer and internal tile renderer (9x9)
Adobe Photoshop CS 5.1 (64-Bit)Version: 11 Filtering a 16 MB TIF (15 000x7266), Filters:, Radial Blur (Amount: 10, Method: zoom, Quality: good) Shape Blur (Radius: 46 px; custom shape: Trademark sysmbol) Median (Radius: 1px) Polar Coordinates (Rectangular to Polar)
ABBYY FineReaderVersion: 10 Professional Build ( Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
3ds Max 2012Version: 10 x64 Rendering Space Flyby Mentalray (SPECapc_3dsmax9), Frame: 248, Resolution: 1440 x 1080
Adobe Acrobat X ProfessionalPDF Document Creation (Print) from Microsoft PowerPoint 2010
SolidWorks 2010PhotoView 360Render 01-Lighter Explode.SLDASM ( Output Resolution: 1920x1080, Render: Preview Quality “Good”, Final Render Quality “Best”
Visual Studio 2010Compile Chrome project (1/31/2012) with /build Release
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
PCMark 7Version: 1.0.4
3DMark 11Version 1.0.3
SiSoftware Sandra 2012 SP3CPU Test=CPU Arithmetic/Multimedia, Memory Test=Bandwidth Benchmark, Cryptography, Cache Latency
Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • tecmo34
    Nice Review Chris...

    Looking forward to the further information coming out this week on Ivy Bridge, as I was initially planning on buying Ivy Bridge, but now I might turn to Sandy Bridge-E
  • Maziar
    Great review as always Chris! looks like I'm staying with my 2500k for a while!
  • jaquith
    Great and long waited review - Thanks Chris!

    Temps as expected are high on the IB, but better than early ES which is very good.

    Those with their SB or SB-E (K/X) should be feeling good about now ;)
  • xtremexx
    saw this just pop up on google, posted 1 min ago, anyway im probably going to update i have a core i3 2100 so this is pretty good.
  • ojas
    it's heeearrree!!!!! lol i though intel wan't launching it, been scouring the web for an hour for some mention.

    Now, time to read the review. :D
  • zanny
    It gets higher temps at lower frequencies? What the hell did Intel break?

    I really wish they would introduce a gaming platform between their stupidly overpriced x79esque server platform and the integrated graphics chips they are pushing mainstream. 50% more transistors should be 30% or so more performance or a much smaller chip, but gamers get nothing out of Ivy Bridge.
    It makes sense Intel is making this its quickest ramp ever, as they see ARM on the horizon in today's changing market.
    They're using their process to get to places they'll need to get to in the future
  • verbalizer
    OK after reading most of the review and definitely studying the charts;
    I have a few things on my mind.

    1.) AMD - C'mon and get it together, you need to do better...2.) imagine if Intel made an i7-2660K or something like the i5-2550K they have now.
    3.) SB-E is not for gaming (too highly priced...) compared to i7 or i5 Sandy Bridge
    4.) Ivy Bridge runs hot.......
    5.) IB average 3.7% faster than i7 SB and only 16% over i5 SB = not worth it
    6.) AMD - C'mon and get it together, you need to do better...
    (moderator edit..)
  • Pezcore27
    Good review.

    To me it shows 2 main things. 1) that Ivy didn't improve on Sandy Bridge as much as Intel was hoping it would, and 2) just how far behind AMD actually is...
  • tmk221
    It's a shame that this chip is marginally faster than 2700k. I guess it's all AMD fault. there is simply no pressure on Intel. Otherwise they would already moved to 8, 6, and 4 cores processors. Especially now when they have 4 cores under 77W.

    Yea yea I know most apps won't use 8 cores, but that's only because there was no 8 cores processors in past, not the other way around