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Haswell, worth it for you?

Haswell, Intels latest creation.

 Aren't new product launches exciting? Intel officially announced and released their "Haswell" architecture CPUs developed by Intel's Oregon team. But what I am to answer in this review is the question of worth. Is it worth it for the average user to upgrade to a Haswell architecture? Is it worth it for a gamer to upgrade? Of course extreme enthusiasts will always upgrade to the next big thing so they're out. That being said, let us begin!

Are you worth it?!? Tell us!!


Newer usually means better, right? Mmm, not necessarily. We've been disappointed quite recently in fact by the 3rd Gen processors from Intel, Ivy Bridge. The IHS on the processor itself was too far from the die which as all Ivy Bridge owners know first hand made their processors run hot. As far as performance goes Ivy Bridge did out perform Sandy Bridge by a reasonable amount. How will Haswell fair? For the sake of consistency we'll be looking closely at the i7-4770k.


The benchmark from Here shows a solid 409 point lead overall using the passmark test. Considering the new architecture and features this isn't very impressive at all. The 3770k has a much higher gap over the 2600k, so in terms of progress Haswell fell a little short on this one.


Why can't I hold all these threads?!
 Now, Cinebench is a benchmark I see used often by testers and I believe it is a good comparison. The results make sense as well with the 4770k pulling ahead of the 3770k, but not by too much... maybe around a 5-8% push in performance. you can find more benchmarks by Anandtech here.

Power Consumption

Source: Tom's Hardware
What's interesting about Haswell now is the mobile line. Intel and review sites alike has praised Intel about the battery saving power of this architecture boasting a boosted battery life of around 4 hours and that's impressive. However in desktop computing we're not constrained to a lame battery that decides when our computer dies, we've got power and lots of it. Therefore it's only fit that the 4770k would use more power then it's predecessor and in return you get faster computing, but surprisingly overall... only a little bit. The graph above shows the 4770k using only about 4 more watts on average than a 3770k while still delivering improvements in performance. All of that without shrinking the die is impressive although the improvements may be miniscule.


Of course with new generations comes new features so here I'll list some of the old ones as well as the new ones.

Old Features:

  • 22 nm die size
  • 14-stage pipline
  • 3D tri-gate transistors
  • Native support for dual channel DDR3

 New Features:

  • New instruction sets (e.g. Advanced Vector Extensions 2 [AVX2]
  • New Sockets (LGA 1150)
  • Graphics support in hardware for Direct3D 11.1 and OpenGL 4.0
  • Varialbe Base clock (BClk)
  • Integrated voltage regulator

Final Thoughts

So overall it seems as if the 4770k is indeed worthy enough to be called a successor for the Ivy Bridge. But it seems as if it's not quite worth the upgrade for even the most intense gamers/CPU intensive tasks. With very minimal gains and only a few extra features that also seem to have minimal impact you'd have to be a few generations behind to considering upgrading to Haswell. Since the 4770k runs on a new socket (LGA 1150) the user would have to purchase a completely new motherboard. At least the transition from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge gives the user a seamless transition. Since the sockets were compatible a quick BIOS flash would do the trick. But, I suppose a new socket is long overdue for Intel, God knows AMD has been on the AM3+ socket forever now. All-in-all, if you're still on the first generation i7-i5-i3 processors and want to upgrade Haswell would be a good choice if you didn't want to save yourself $50. Alternatively you could buy an i7-3770k for a little cheaper and similar performance.

 But hey, if you're a hardcore enthusiast that integrated voltage regulator is a pretty good selling point. It's peeking my interest as I type. Disappointed that Intel only got one feature to stand out at me but at the same time that BClk switch is interesting as well. Enthusiasts that will upgrade will experienced a little more complicated overclocking (I'll go over overclocking in another entry). We'll see overtime how this CPU overclocks and just how hot it can get while overclocking.

 In the meantime if you're still on Sandy/Ivy bridge architecture you're not missing anything really. Well I lied because Ivy Bridge is pretty kickass but comes with thermal problems. So it's basically getting a hot new girlfriend with a really pain-in-the-ass mom. 

Depicted Above: Ivy Bridge users