I told you up front that the story on Ivy Bridge was relatively straightforward. Now that we've conducted enough analysis to bring down a healthy adult bison in its prime, let's boil things down to a simple scatter plot showing price versus overall performance. Many inputs go into creating our overall performance scores, which are derived from the components of entire CPU test suite, save for those initial synthetic benchmarks. For gaming, we've used the 99th percentile frame times as our performance inputs. Our prices come from the manufacturers' official price lists.
As the plot shows, the Core i7-3770K is just a little bit faster than the 2600K at essentially the same price. That's progress, but mild progress, on the value front. The real gains with Ivy Bridge come in terms of power use, with the 18W reduction in peak power draw and the accompanying improvements in power efficiency. Don't say I didn't tell you!
You can add some other positives to Ivy Bridge's corner that we discovered in more detailed testing. For one, I think we've demonstrated that there are measurable and probably tangible benefits to having a fast processor in several of today's games, even when FPS averages rise above the vaunted 60-FPS mark. Frame delivery is simply quicker and more consistent with a fast processor, and the Core i7-3770K is among the world's best on that front. Based on our experience, Ivy also overclocks like Flava Flav, as long as you can keep it cool. We're curious to see how others fare on this front, since our experiences with one Core i7-3770K chip may not translate into universal success. Finally, Intel has gained substantial ground on AMD in terms of integrated graphics. The 3770K's HD 4000 IGP still isn't as fast as Llano's built-in Radeon, but it's within striking distance—and Ivy's substantially quicker CPU cores may give it a playability advantage in some games.
If you're considering buying a desktop quad-core processor, though, you probably don't care too much about integrated graphics. For PC enthusiasts, I'd say the decision on Ivy bridge is pretty easy. If you already own a Sandy Bridge-based CPU, there's probably no point in upgrading. If your CPU is older than that, then Ivy Bridge represents a substantial performance upgrade from prior generations, just as Sandy Bridge did 16 months ago. The big difference now is that the TDP has dropped to 77W. That's enough to earn the Core i7-3770K a TR Recommended award.
The improvements in Ivy Bridge look fairly nice in a desktop package like the Core i7-3770K, but they're almost certain to make a bigger impact in the mobile market, where the power efficiency gains conferred by Intel's 22-nm process should pay off more dramatically. I'm already tempted by the prospect of an Ivy-based Ultrabook, once the dual-core variant of Ivy arrives later this year.
Follow me on Twitter if you dare.
213 comments — Last by TardOnPC at 9:25 AM on 05/25/12
|Intel's Xeon E5-2687W v3 processor reviewedHaswell-EP brings the hammer down||114|
|AMD's FX-8370E processor reviewedEight threads at 95W||147|
|Intel's Core i7-5960X processor reviewedHaswell Extreme cranks up the core count||198|
|AMD spills beans on Seattle's architecture, reference serverCache networks and coprocessors||46|
|Intel's Broadwell processor revealedThe 14-nm Core M aims to upend the tablet market||87|
|AMD's A10-7800 processor reviewed..and the A6-7400K, too||115|
|Android on x86: A quick look at Asus' Memo Pad ME176C tabletA 7" Bay Trail quad for $149||50|
|Core i7-4790K 'Devil's Canyon' overclocking revisitedCan a retail chip and a fancy MSI MPower mobo go further?||51|
|Nvidia admits, explains GeForce GTX 970 memory allocation issue||142|
|Here's my guest appearance on tonight's Alt+Tab Show||10|
|Watch John Romero talk about Doom level design||40|
|I'll be on Newegg TV's Alt+Tab show live at 3PM PT||15|
|Windows 10 build 9926 adds Cortana, Continuum, and more||38|
|Apacer exec sees 256GB SSDs falling below $70 this year||45|
|Deal of the week: IPS monitors with 4K and 1080p resolutions||11|
|Haswell CPU and Radeon graphics team up in ASRock's VisionX mini PC||14|
|Report: Google to launch its own cellular service||82|
|HA. AMD in the red and nVidia in the green. Thats funny cause you know... *cough* oh forget it.||+80|