Intel Core i7-3770K Review: A Small Step Up From Sandy Bridge

HD Graphics 4000: Performance In 3DMark 11 And Batman

Because 3DMark 11 requires DirectX 11 support, Sandy Bridge-based CPUs can’t run it. That leaves us with the Core i7-3770K, AMD’s A8-3850, and a discrete Radeon HD 6570.

Despite Intel’s efforts to double graphics performance, the Core i7-3770K cannot outmaneuver AMD’s Llano-based A8-3850.

Here’s the funny thing: every time Intel advances its on-board graphics technology, I talk to industry insiders who worry that the processor company’s progress will completely kill off the entry-level discrete market. But a Radeon HD 6570, available for as little as £50, still manages to double Ivy Bridge’s best effort. At least on the desktop, even inexpensive add-in boards still have their place.

The Physics suite, which measures processor performance, is particularly interesting. Tons of testing over the past year tells us that Intel’s Sandy Bridge cores get a lot more work done per clock cycle than AMD’s. Llano’s mediocre performance consequently isn’t news. However, the fact that Core i7-3770K picks up more than 2000 points with a discrete GPU installed is a good indication that the integrated core’s thermal requirements limit what the IA cores can do.  

In a real-world game like Batman: Arkham City, HD Graphics 4000 nearly does manage to catch AMD’s A8-3850. But generating playable average frame rates requires the title’s lowest possible detail settings and fairly unattractive resolutions. In contrast, even a cheap Radeon HD 6570 can handle entry-level detail at up to 1920x1080.

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  • SSri
    Thanks for the pretty quick review. The HD 4000 may be a tempting factor for many low-end desktop users. High-end users are unlikely to switch to IB. Unless extensive future reviews show a different picture, Sandy Bridge would be the CPU for my high-end new build!
  • HEXiT
    4% on average is a pretty small performance bump from a dye shrink i was hoping that ivy was gonna be in the region of 10% but i guess a small bump is better than none. still not a big enough jump for me to give up my old i7 920... ah well maybe haswell will deliver.
  • damian86
    Well I think this will be improved in no-time, the guys are doing well in their new architecture and finding new ways to make the big jump. This is like testing, their stuff is good enough to get on the market and they can earn a lot of credits that will help them to keep working hard with new stuff.I really liked their quick sync thing.
    I still don't know the negative points in including gpus in cpus.
  • mi1ez
    US comp. You would think they could put that somewhere in the article.
  • kaprikawn
    I'm personally very excited by Ivy Bridge. I'm not planning on replacing the first gen i5 in my gaming rig, I can't see the benefit. But I'm looking at replacing the Sempron 1100LE in my server with one of the low power i3 chips when they come out. For a computer that runs 24/7, power consumption and noise are fairly important to me for that machine. The Sempron and the low end i3 have similar TPD ratings, but there's a gulf of difference in performance.
  • Anonymous
    An unlocked, "K" variant of the i3, or Pentium-G? That might get people excited...
  • K3v1n
    I'm happy with my FX-6100...Even if I had the money, I wouldn't upgrade it, except for maybe a 8150. This CPU is amazing, and no review on here or anywhere really does it justice. It handles every game i throw, I can convert a 6gb HD video to MP4 in 5 mins WHILE photoshop, and a game is running
  • army_ant7
    I still do wish that Intel offered a cheaper or more powerful CPU without the built-in GPU. It seems like a big waste of time, work, and die space (and maybe even money) for, esp. now, such a big GPU portion. But maybe from the business/profit-spending point of view, it really is better for Intel as a company to have GPU's built-in irregardless.

    I'm interested in hearing from anyone else's thoughts on this.
  • AndrewdAzotus
    I see and hear about the reasons for not upgrading from Sandy-bridge to Ivy-bridge, but I would be interested in pointers for someone who has not had a desktop for about 5 years but is now looking for a new architecture which will be as long lasting as possible so I can buy a good ($200-$300) motherboard and a cheaper processor with a view to upgrading all components (memory / graphics etc) on the motherboard as time and money permits. I'm thinking either 1150 or 2011 but would appreciate some general guidance