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Not Worth Upgrading Over Ivy Bridge!
on June 1, 2013
Update#3: I spent the last few months testing and analyzing the 4770K and now it's time to share those results with you guys. I have come to the conclusion that the VRM (voltage regulator) that Intel has integrated into the die does more harm than good. Every since I bought this chip and overclocked it, I have noticed that it's been degrading faster than my 2600K and 3770K which both were overclocked to the same frequency (4.6Ghz) as my 4770K. I have noticed that I need to add at least a minimum of 0.007 volts every few months because my CPU starts to crash out of the blue even though it used to be 100% stable when I have tested it. I bought the 4770K the first day it came out and I immediately overclocked it to 4.6Ghz using around 1.34 volts which used to be 100% stable and then it slowly started to degrade. I have kept my 2600K and 3770K overclocked to 4.6Ghz for years and they haven't degraded one bit. I'm still using the same amount of voltage on my 2600K and 3770K that I did when I first got them and they are still going strong. Haswell on the other hand wants more and more voltage to be stable at the same settings that it used to be.
Here are the results that I have recorded these past few months using the 4770K:
June:------4.6Ghz 1.3400 volts | I got the chip the first day it was released and oc'd it to 4.6Ghz using 1.3400 volts and it was 100% stable. I was a happy camper :)
July:------4.6Ghz 1.3400 volts | so far so good but there were some moments when my system would hang but I just ignored it.
August:----4.6Ghz 1.3470 volts | I started getting random crashes even though I had made no changes to my computer or upgraded anything since I bought the chip. The only way to stop those crashes was to add a bit of voltage to the CPU so I added 0.007 volts and my problems went away. That might not seem like a lot of voltage but overtime it accumulates and the temps slowly starts to increase.
Sept:------4.6Ghz 1.3470 volts | so far so good. I didn't experience any hangs or freezes in Sept but then again I didn't use my computer all that much because I was studying for exams.
Oct:-------4.6Ghz 1.3540 volts | My computer started crashing again on October even though nothing was changed from last time. I formatted my computer because I thought maybe I had installed something but it still was crashing. As soon as I added another 0.007 volts, my system stopped crashing.
Nov:-------4.6Ghz 1.3540 volts | My computer seems stable now but there are some random moments where it freezes for no reason or it just hangs during games(BF4, Crysis 3, Batman AO, Metro LL, etc). I feel like I may need to add a bit more voltage to get it again fully stable. I have made no changes/upgrades to my computer since I bought the chip but yet, it still wants more voltage to be stable at the same settings that it used to be.
My 2600K and 3770K haven't degraded since I bought them but my 4770K is degrading faster than any chip I have ever owned. If you Google "haswell degradation", you will see a lot of people that are having the same issue as me. You have to keep in mind that whenever I'm adding ~0.007 volts every few months, the temperatures are also getting harder and harder to control. My advice to anyone who is looking to buy this chip or has already bought it is to not overclock it past 4.2-4.3Ghz or your chip will degrade very quickly. I think I'm going to drop my frequency to 4.2Ghz because the temperatures are getting out of control even though my chip used to be 100% stable at 4.6Ghz when I first got it and my H100i was able to keep the temps low. But now, the temperatures are quickly reaching 90c. And for that specific reason, I'm going to take off another star from my review because Intel has really cut corners on the design of Haswell.
Update#2: I finally overclocked my 4770K to 4.6Ghz using 1.34 volts and the temps stay below 85c. I tried running it at 4.8Ghz like I did with my 3770K (delidded) but the temps go well over 90c so it's not 24/7 stable. I'm using an H100i from Corsair to overclock my 4770K and it keeps it relatively cool at this frequency. The motherboard that I'm using to overclock my 4770K is the Asus Sabertooth Z87. It's an amazing motherboard and I highly recommend it to everyone if you want the best motherboard for LGA 1150 socket. You can get some crazy high overclocks with that motherboard and it has not problems handling volts well over 1.4+. I have posted the link to my review of the Asus Sabertooth Z87 at the bottom of this review in case you guys want to read it.
Update#1: I finally had some time this weekend to do more benchmarks in more games that I play and I was rather disappointed from the results that I got. I have updated my review with more benchmarks from popular games so make sure to look at the results below.
It's been two days since I got my 4770K and I have been testing the hell out of it, from stock speeds to overclocking it to extreme settings. I can safely say that it's not worth upgrading if you have an Ivy Bridge CPU (3570K, 3770K). My previous CPU was the 3770K and I had it overclocked to 4.8Ghz using only 1.38 volts with an H100i from Corsair. I delidded my 3770K and now my temps never go above 80c. Now that I have the 4770K, overclocked to the same frequency, the difference is ~2-3% faster in pretty much everything that I have tested, from games to applications. So far I have not been able to tell a difference in games (BF3, FC3, Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Metro LL etc) except for 3fps extra. Don't expect huge fps improvements in games that's what I'm saying.
If you are a gamer and you have a Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge CPU then I don't recommend upgrading because you'd need a new motherboard which isn't worth it in my opinion. Haswell wasn't built for desktop users in mind but instead for laptops/ultrabooks and that's where it shines. The integrated graphics card is much more efficient and faster than what it was in Ivy Bridge but it still doesn't deliver smooth fps in games. I tried playing Team Fortress 2 in 1080P and it started lagging so bad that it wasn't playable. If you are stuck on an old socket such as LGA 1156, 1366 then this CPU is for you. You will notice huge improvements coming from one of those sockets.
Now let's talk about benchmarks and power consumption.
In idle, the CPU consumes roughly 39-41 watts and that's a bit better than my old 3770K which consumed ~70 watts. Under load using Prime95 (smallfft), my 3770K at 4.8Ghz pulled ~260 watts and now the 4770K pulls ~274 watts. 4770K's TDP is 84 watts which is 7 watts higher than the 3770K. I'm not really concerned about power consumption because it's not that big of a difference coming from an Ivy Bridge CPU. With my 3770K @ 4.8Ghz (delidded), the temps never go above 80c but with the 4770K @ 4.8Ghz, the temps are going well above 90c and that's not 24/7 stable for me. I will look more into this later(maybe delid it like I did with the 3770K?)
Cinebench 11.5 (Multi-Threaded)
3770K @ 4.8Ghz = 9.72
4770K @ 4.8Ghz = 9.87
All the games that I have tested so far have been at max Settings @ 2560x1440/GTX780 (Stock).
Far Cry 3
3770K @ 4.8Ghz = 41fps avg
4770K @ 4.8Ghz = 46fps avg
3770K @ 4.8Ghz = 63fps avg
4770K @ 4.8Ghz = 68fps avg
3770K @ 4.8Ghz = 31fps avg
4770K @ 4.8Ghz = 33fps avg
3770K @ 4.8Ghz = 72ps avg
4770K @ 4.8Ghz = 75fps avg
3770K @ 4.8Ghz = 69ps avg
4770K @ 4.8Ghz = 73fps avg
3770K @ 4.8Ghz = 78ps avg
4770K @ 4.8Ghz = 77fps avg
3770K @ 4.8Ghz = 52ps avg
4770K @ 4.8Ghz = 55fps avg
3770K @ 4.8Ghz = 98ps avg
4770K @ 4.8Ghz = 103fps avg
Batman Arkham City
3770K @ 4.8Ghz = 84ps avg
4770K @ 4.8Ghz = 88fps avg
Assassin's Creed 3
3770K @ 4.8Ghz = 58ps avg
4770K @ 4.8Ghz = 56fps avg
3770K @ 4.8Ghz = 64ps avg
4770K @ 4.8Ghz = 66fps avg
As you can see from my results above, the difference is minimal in games which makes upgrading to Haswell worthless if you are coming from an Ivy Bridge CPU. I noticed an increase in fps by 3 to 5 frames in most games and I even lost a few fps in some games.
Overall, Intel has a done a nice job at improving the integrated GPU and lowering power consumption but it feels like Intel focused too much on laptops/ultrabooks and forgot about the desktop users this time. I'm still testing the CPU and I will update my review once I'm able to do more tests. If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will be more than happy to reply. I would recommend Haswell for desktop users that are stuck on an old sockets(1366, 1156)but not being backwards compatible is what kills this chip. For those who are on an AMD system and are thinking about upgrading then it will be totally worth it and the difference will be huge both in games and applications. Since Intel has no competition in the desktop realm then focusing on raw performance is not what they are after anymore. I give this CPU a solid 8/10 because of the tiny improvements over Ivy Bridge and the new socket.
If you guys want to read my review of the Asus Sabertooth Z87 then it should be the first one listed there.
My full rig:
Case: Corsair 650D
GPU: EVGA GTX 780
CPU: Intel Core i7 4770K (still experimenting)
PSU: Corsair AX850
Ram: Kingston 16GB of RAM
SSD: Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
MB: ASUS Sabertooth Z87
OS: Windows 7 64bit