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Core i7 4770K vs AMD FX-8350 with GTX 980 vs GTX 780 SLI at 4K

Core i7 4770K vs AMD FX-8350 with GTX 980 vs GTX 780 SLI at 4K
We take our Core i7-4770K processor and pit it against our budget AMD FX-8350 CPU, as well as the 4930K with GTX 980 and GTX 780s in SLI at 4K
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In the last week or so, I've written two popular articles that have involved AMD's cheap FX-8350 processor, running at 2560x1440 and 3840x2160 (4K). Both of these tests have involved the use of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 780s in SLI, as well as the new Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 980s in SLI.

 

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The first test, at 2560x1440, was interesting, as it showed that the $319 setup that consisted of the AMD FX-8350 CPU and a GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD3 motherboard, could somewhat keep up with the Intel Core i7-4930K and ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition, which costs $1052.

 

At 1440p, the Intel system beat the AMD system in virtually every test, and in some of those tests, by a large margin. But, for 300% more cost, so it should have. Moving up to 4K though, presented an entire new world of possibilities for AMD, with the underdog actually taking swings, and beating Intel at the higher resolution.

 

When pushed up to 4K, the AMD system was beating the Intel system, and while it may not have been by a large margin, it was a win for the little guy. Then you have to consider cost: a $319 CPU and motherboard combo is beating the $1052 combo, which shouldn't be happening. But, we've proven that the CPU isn't that important when it comes to 4K gaming, with that money better spent on something that does matter in gaming: the GPU.

 

I like to have you, our readers and TweakTown fans, involved in our Tweakipedia section. So, I took to Facebook to ask what you'd like to see next, with everyone wanting to see the middle option: Intel's LGA 1150 socket, and more specifically, the Core i7-4770K. Well, that's what we have here today.

 

But first, let's compare prices. The Intel Core i7-4770K is on Amazon for $334.99, while the motherboard we used, the ASRock Z87M OC Formula is currently $158.75. This gives us a total of $492, which is still considerably more than the AMD combo, but far, far less than the LGA 2011 socket setup.

 

So, a quick recap of our pricing:

 

  • AMD FX-8350 + GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD3 = $319
  • Intel Core i7-4770K + ASRock Z87M OC Formula = $492
  • Intel Core i7-4930K + ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition = $1052

 

Also remember, you don't need to go for the ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition, you could go for a cheaper motherboard - but this is all we have in the lab right now. If you'd like to see a different motherboard tested, let us know and we'll see what we can organize.

 

We are now going to run through our 4770K processor through the same tests, seeing how it goes against the AMD FX-8350 and Core i7-4930K at 4K, and then we'll bump the resolution down to 2560x1440 to see if it brings across the same results, or not.

 

For our Core i7-4770K testing, we're going to be using our BitFenix Prodigy M build we have here in the Tweakipedia labs, which consists of:

 

core_i7_4770k_vs_amd_fx_8350_with_gtx_980_vs_gtx_780_sli_at_4kcore_i7_4770k_vs_amd_fx_8350_with_gtx_980_vs_gtx_780_sli_at_4k

 

  • Case: BitFenix Prodigy M
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 4770K @ stock
  • Motherboard: ASRock Z87M OC Formula
  • RAM: 16GB Corsair Vengeance Pro 1866MHz DDR3
  • Storage: SanDisk Extreme II SSDs (2 x 240GB)
  • Cooling: Corsair H80i
  • PSU: Corsair AX860i
  • Software: Windows 7 Ultimate x64
  • Drivers: GeForce 344.11/344.16

 

core_i7_4770k_vs_amd_fx_8350_with_gtx_980_vs_gtx_780_sli_at_4kcore_i7_4770k_vs_amd_fx_8350_with_gtx_980_vs_gtx_780_sli_at_4k

 

I'd like to take the time to thank our very awesome partners for supplying us with the hardware that made this build possible: ASRock, Corsair, BitFenix, SanDisk and of course, NVIDIA. Without them, we wouldn't be here today running this test, so thank you to everyone who I've worked with to get this hardware onto my desk, it means a lot.

 

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As for the GPUs, we of course have the two GeForce GTX 980s, and two GTX 780s, both reference cards directly from NVIDIA.

 

We've changed some of our benchmarks over the last couple of months, so now we're rocking a few new ones, as well as some of our old favorites. Let's get straight into it, with our synthetic benchmarks: Futuremark's 3DMark and Unigine's Heaven.

 

3DMark - Fire Strike Extreme

 

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The 3DMark results for our 4770K processor were quite surprising, especially with it being our first test. The 4770K + GTX 780 SLI setup loses out to the AMD FX-8350 setup in both the Total and Graphics Score, and even more so when it came to the 4930K.

 

Slapping in the two GTX 980s did some magic when mixed with the 4770K, where we see 3DMark soar to new heights with the Total Score, while the Graphics Score is slightly down against the AMD setup.

 

Unigine Heaven

 

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The FX-8350 and 4770K were neck and neck for Heaven, with 7.6FPS and 7.5FPS for the AMD and Intel setups, respectively, at minimum FPS with the GTX 780s in SLI. The 4930K kicked some serious ass with minimum frame rates with the 780s in SLI, with 100% improvements on the FX-8350 and 4770K's minimum frames.

 

Throwing in the GTX 980s made it a much fairer deal, with the 4770K beating out the other two CPUs for minimum FPS, while equalling the FX-8350 with 43.6FPS average.

 

Gaming Benchmarks

 

Our gaming benchmarks stick to games with built-in benchmarks, which enables us to allow you, our readers, to conduct the identical benchmarks to us. We will provide some other benchmarks in the future, such as Battlefield 4, but these will be provided separately to the benchmarks we have here today.

 

GRID: Autosport

 

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GRID: Autosport starts off with some interesting results, where the GTX 780s in SLI provide virtually identical scores to the AMD FX-8350 system with averages and minimum that are just a few frames off of the AMD results. When it comes to the 4770K vs. 4930K, the 4930K does quite a bit better here.

 

The Maxwell-based GTX 980s did great things with our 4770K processor, with the highest minimum frame rate out of all the setups with 58FPS. Not only did it beat out the FX-8350 and 4930K processors at minimum frames, but the average frame rate was 73.2FPS, compared to the AMD setup with 71FPS and the 4930K with 66.6FPS.

 

Metro: Last Light

 

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The 4770K and GTX 780s in SLI perform admirably here, with minimum frame rates that are slightly better than the FX-8350 and 780s in SLI, but it can't beat the minimum frame rate that the 4930K offered up with the 780s in SLI. The average FPS is also 4FPS less, or around 10%, than the 4930K with the 780s in SLI.

 

Another benchmark where the 4770K comes out swinging, and winning in at least one part of the benchmark. The 4770K + GTX 980 SLI combo resulted in the best average frame rate result, with 46.3FPS, while it was behind multiple of our other setups when it came to minimum.

 

BioShock Infinite

 

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The Intel Core i7-4770K proved to be another winner with BioShock Infinite, with much-improved minimum frame rates. We have 6.9FPS on our 4770K + GTX 780 SLI system, and an average of 57.9FPS - perfect, as close as we can get to 60FPS, the better. This is another test where the 4770K doesn't beat the 4930K, with the 12 threaded processor still the king of the hill in BioShock Infinite. Heck, the AMD system blows them both away!

 

Well then, the GTX 980s when mixed with the 4770K resulted in a huge jump from the 780s (did you expect anything less?). We have our best minimum score from the entire run of hardware, with 14.3FPS minimum, while the average frame rate sits at 77FPS.

 

DiRT Showdown

 

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The deeper we get into benchmarks, the better they get - with DiRT Showdown being no exception. Our 4770K + GTX 780 SLI combination didn't do much against the AMD system, but it did beat the much more expensive 4930K setup.

 

Slotting in two GTX 980s with our 4770K resulted in much better results, where again, we have our best minimum and average FPS yet. It beats the AMD system by 10FPS for minimum frame rates, while the average FPS jumps 5 FPS over the AMD system. It beats the 4930K setup by an even bigger margin.

 

Batman: Arkham Origins

 

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Finally! We have a test where the 4770K + GTX 780 SLI setup comes out as the clear winner, in at least one part of the Batman: Arkham Origins test. The minimum frame rate was a beautiful 60FPS, while the average managing to reach 98FPS.

 

Our 4770K finishes on a high note, with a massive 68FPS minimum on our GTX 980s in SLI. 118FPS average is good enough, don't you think? 118FPS average at 4K... impressive.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Popping in the GeForce GTX 780s into our fresh Core i7-4770K system, we see some decent gains in performance over our cheap-but-awesome AMD FX-8350 setup. The 4770K beat the FX-8350 in the following benchmarks:

 

GRID: Autosport - 4770K beats the FX-8350 for both minimum and average.

Metro: Last Light - 4770K beats the FX-8350 for both minimum and average.

BioShock Infinite - 4770K beats the FX-8350 for both minimum and average.

DiRT: Showdown - 4770K beats the FX-8350 for both minimum and average.

Batman: AA - 4770K beats the FX-8350 for both minimum and average.

 

So, the 4770K would be the one to go for if you were running GTX 780s in SLI. How about the FX-8350 versus the 4770K with the GTX 980s in SLI? Let's take a look.

 

GRID: Autosport - 4770K beats the FX-8350 for both minimum and average.

Metro: Last Light - 4770K beats the FX-8350 for average FPS, but loses with minimum FPS.

BioShock Infinite - 4770K beats the FX-8350 for both minimum and average.

DiRT: Showdown - 4770K beats the FX-8350 for both minimum and average.

Batman: AA - 4770K beats the FX-8350 for both minimum and average.

 

So as you can see, the Core i7-4770K is the CPU to get for both GTX 780 and GTX 980s in SLI at 4K. The AMD system only beats out 4770K in one instance: Metro: Last Light and its minimum FPS. But it's not like the pendulum swings all the way in AMD's favor for that one benchmark, so you're better off going for Intel here.

 

The 4770K is priced much closer to the FX-8350 than the 4930K is, but what these benchmarks and articles are highlighting here, is that the CPU isn't doing as big of a job as you think. Most people, not all, would think that sinking $1000+ into a CPU/motherboard combo would obliterate the $319 combo, but I've just shown you that this is completely false.

 

Spending an additional $180, or another 50% or so on top of the AMD combo, results in some decent improvements in frame rate. The issue again is, the performance increase is only around ~10% on average, while you're spending 50% more money. Some games are scaling much better, with improvements of 15-20%, but still - you're spending $180 more.

 

This isn't make-it-or-break-it for most people, but for budget-concious gamers out there who are building a new system, that $180 is the difference between a GTX 970 and GTX 980, or half way to a second GTX 970. It's also a decent SSD, or that bigger monitor you've always wanted. Spending money in these areas, you will notice the difference, but on CPU? 5-10% improvement? Not that much.

 

Our next entry in Tweakipedia will be testing the 4770K at 2560x1440, to see if these improvements jump across, or whether the AMD system can come out on top once again.

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