Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review

Like any Intel launch, Haswell is the world's worst kept secret. But today it all becomes official and we can start to talk about it in detail.

Manufacturer: Intel
16 minutes & 10 seconds read time


Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 02

As silly as it sounds, right now is the first time we can officially say words like "Haswell" and "Z87". Due to the general way an Intel NDA works, our ability to release specific names when it comes to upcoming platforms is rather limited. While anyone who pays just the slightest attention to computers would know that "Intel 4th Generation Core processors" indeed referred to "Haswell", till now, we couldn't officially write that in coverage.

You're going to see an absolute ton of coverage to the new platform as it brings with it so many new products. Unlike the last Intel CPU we looked at, the Intel Core i7 3970X Extreme Edition, the Core i7 4770K brings with it a new chipset in the form of the Z87 Express. The products that surround a new chipset are what are going to keep us extremely busy for the coming weeks and months.

It of course starts with new motherboards from the huge amount of vendors that exist. It's not just a matter of receiving a single motherboard from each vendor, we have up to nine motherboards from a single vendor at the moment. Weeks before launch the amount of motherboards we had already sat in double digits, and as the days go on the amount of boards we have to test is climbing at a rapid rate.

It's not just motherboards, though, a new platform often brings with it new memory. We saw the last generation Ivy Bridge platform bring with it a chance to achieve memory speeds much higher than we had seen before. The latest Haswell platform is said to take that a step further and that of course means that Corsair, G.Skill and others are jumping on the high speed memory bandwagon as quickly as they can.

We've then of course got multiple CPU models coming out for the desktop platform along with mobile versions of everything. Combining all this together means that we've then got a bunch of new systems coming from PC builders and of course laptops and ultrabooks coming from manufacturers.

Today, though, is all about two things. The new CPU's that we'll be seeing alongside the performance of the top dog Core i7 4770K. The second is the new Intel Z87 chipset. The particular Z87 motherboard that we'll be using today comes from ASUS in the form of the Z87-Expert.

Haswell Processors

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 03

The launch today is essentially split into three sections with TweakTown placing a large focus on just two of them. The first is the new line up of mobile processors, which are separated into H, M, U and Y with the latter two being designed for ultrabooks, which can be seen above. This today won't be our focus, instead we'll be concentrating on the last two areas.

As you can see above, the latter two areas are of course the desktop processors, which is exactly what we'll be covering on this page and the last item is the new Intel 8 Series chipset which we'll be looking at on the following page, again, though, the main focus will be the desktop version.

At launch the new line up of processors from Intel are essentially split into two key areas. The first is the i7 line up, while the other is the lower-end and cheaper i5 line up. Having a look below you can see not only all the models, but the main features that separate them all.

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 08

Looking across the CPUs here the first thing that really stands out is the fact that as you'd expect the "K" Series based i7 4770 offers an unlocked multiplier. Anyone who follows overclocking in the slightest knows that this is a feature that you want. The i7 4770K and 4770 are almost identical outside of the unlocked cores. Areas that are the same across the whole i7 line up include the four cores with Hyper Threading pushing that to eight and 1333 / 1600MHz DDR official memory support - of course, overclocking yields much higher speeds. All but the i7 4770R use the 4600 HD Graphics with a max Dynamic Frequency of 1200MHz outside of the 4770K which offers a slightly higher 1250MHz. As for clock speeds you can see they vary from 2GHz to 3.5GHz for base frequency and 3GHz to 3.9GHz for Max Turbo frequency.

I think finally the last few things we need to cover with the i7 line up is the pricing which starts from $303 and goes up to $339 for the "K" Series 4770. Max TDP depending on the model caries from quite a low 35w to a higher 84w, and outside of the "BGA" based i7 4770R, all processors are based on the LGA 1150 package, which also carries over to the i5 line.

Checking out the i5 line of processors you can see we've again got a "K" series based processor in the i5 4670k which brings with it that unlocked multiplier that overclockers need. Some of the similarities include 1333 / 1600Mhz DDR memory support, Intel 4600 series HD graphics, 1150MHz - 1200MHz Max Dynamic frequency on the said graphics and a Max TDP rating ranging from 35w - 84w.

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 09
Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 10

Looking above you can see that clock rates range from 2.3GHz to 3.4GHz for the CPU Base frequency and 3.3GHz to 3.5GHz for the Max Turbo frequency. Lack of Hyper Threading is one of the main differences when it comes to comparing the i5 and i7. All but one i5 processors have four cores and no Hyper Threading. You can see that the i5 4570T, though, offers only two cores and four threads. Finally finishing off with the price, you can see we're starting $192 and go to $242 for the unlocked i5 4670K.

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 03
Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 04

For the most part the most interesting processors to TweakTown readers will be the two "K" series processors as they offer that unlocked multiplier giving us the best overclocking advantage around. We're dealing with Intel's top Haswell CPU today, the i7 4770K.

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 05

Finally the last thing we want to cover is the package of the new processor. Above you can see the two box designs that will be used. The thinner left one will be for the CPUs that don't offer a fan, while the fatter right one will include the fan.

Intel Z87 Chipset

While the new 8 Series chipset is split into five different variations including the B85, H87, Q85, Q87 and Z87, our focus today will be on the higher-end Z87, as that's what most the boards we'll be looking at will use. Before we take a closer look at the specifics, let's just take a moment to see how the newer 8 Series chipset compares to the last generation 7 Series.

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 07

Looking above you can see starting from the top we've got I/O flexibility on the new 8 series chipset. As for USB ports, the same 14 are offered, but the new 8 Series offers six USB 3.0 ports up from four. You can also see that all USB ports are controlled by the xHCI verse just the four USB3 ports on the last generation board.

Like the USB ports you can see that the total number of SATA ports between both chipsets are the same, but the new 8 Series offers up to six SATA III instead of just two. PCIe on both chipsets are the same and you can see that legacy PCI has finally been removed from the chipset. You can also see that Digital Displays have now been moved from the processor with the latest generation.

Moving away from the general difference between the chipsets and having a look at the map you can see just what exactly we're dealing with when it comes to what the processor handles and what the chipset itself handles.

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 11

Looking above you can see the processor handles the PCIe lanes in a number of combinations including one x16 slots, two x8 slots or one x8 and two x4 ones. Below that you can see that the display is now running off the CPU, while the right side shows the memory support up to 1600MHz DDR officially.

As for the Z87 chipset, it handles a further 8x PCIe slot, 14x USB 2.0 and up to 6x USB 3.0 ports, Intel's Integrated Gigabit MAC and Ethernet connection, Intel HD Audio, 6x SATA ports and eSATA. From a technology standpoint you can see that Intel Rapid Storage Technology, Smart Connected, Rapid Start and Extreme Tuning are all supported by the chipset, but are optional extras.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and Overclocking

We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, MSI, Western Digital, MemoRight and Corsair.

We've got a ton of CPU's here today that we'll be comparing against the new Haswell i7 4770Km which will be running at both stock and overclocked speeds, with the latter being covered in just a moment. From Intel we've got the i7 2600K, 3770K, 990X Extreme Edition, 3930K and finally the 3970X Extreme Edition. As for the AMD side of things, we've simply included the FX-8150.

Before we get into the performance side of things we need to look at overclocking. Like with any new platform, you don't really know where to start, so overclocking can initially be a bit slow, tedious and generally not as strong as later in the game. Heading into the BIOS for the first time we move straight down to the voltages. The one thing I absolutely love about ASUS boards is that as you up the voltages, the number changes color letting you know if you're still at a safe level or too high.

As we go through the voltages we move to the point where we hit the last "yellow" before it turns "purple", letting us know that we're going a little too high. Once we'd done all that we headed in to the multiplier area and started messing around. We started at 50x and found ourselves unable to get into Windows. We then moved to 49x and found ourselves having the same issue.

Moving to 48x resulted in a clock speed of 4.8GHz and we got into Windows with no problem. We then fired up MediaEspresso, which we've found to be our best benchmark when it comes to testing stability. Unfortunately we didn't get too far into the encode process before we got hit with a BSOD.

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 12

We moved down to 47x and while we got further into our encode process, we still ended up hitting a BSOD. It wasn't until we moved to the 46x multiplier and came in with a 4.6GHz clock speed that we finally found everything was stable. It's a little hard to completely judge the overclocking on the processor at the moment because as we test more boards, get more updated BIOS' and grow more accustom to overclocking the CPU, we'll achieve higher CPU clocks.

Anyway with that all said and done, it seems fairly safe to get into the benchmarking side of things and find out just what kind of performance we're able to get out of this new Intel setup.

PCMark 7 and HyperPi

PCMark 7

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.04

Developer Homepage:

Product Homepage:

Buy It Here

PCMark 7 includes a range of tests that give different views of your system's performance. In the Advanced Edition you can choose which tests to run. The common use and hardware component tests are unavailable in the Basic Edition.

Overall system performance is measured by the PCMark test. This is the only test that returns an official PCMark score. The Lightweight test measures the system capabilities of entry-level systems and mobility platforms unable to run the PCMark test, but it does not generate a PCMark score. Common use performance is measured by the scenario tests - Entertainment, Creativity and Production - each of which results in a scenario score. Hardware component performance is measured by the hardware tests - Computation and Storage - each of which results in a hardware score.

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 30

Starting off with PCMark 7, you can see we're off to a strong start out the gate. At stock you can see the performance of both the standard PCMark preset and the Lightweight preset put the new i7 4770K ahead of everything else.

Of course those numbers are just improved even further when it comes to overclocking, as we really see our Haswell system separate itself from the rest of the pack.

HyperPi 0.99

Version and / or Patch Used: 0.99

Developer Homepage:

Product Homepage:

Download It Here

HyperPi is a front end for SuperPi that allows for multiple concurrent instances of SuperPi to be run on each core recognized by the system. It is very dependent on CPU to memory to HDD speed. The faster these components, the faster it is able to figure out the number Pi to the selected length.

For our testing we use the 32M run. This means that each of the four physical and four logical cores for the i7 and the four physical cores of the i5 is trying to calculate the number Pi out to 32 million decimal places. Each "run" is a comparative to ensure accuracy and any stability or performance issues in the loop mentioned above will cause errors in calculation.

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 31

Out of the box you can see that the HyperPi numbers on the new platform are extremely impressive. You're talking about numbers that are clearly ahead of all other setups here, including much more expensive ones.

Overclocking as you'd expect brings with it a performance boost and we look forward to gaining even more MHz off the CPU in the coming weeks as we use the platform more and more, and hence become better skilled at overclocking the new Haswell chips.


Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage:

Product Homepage:

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 32
Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 33

Looking at our CPU cache performance you can see out of the box the numbers are strong. We're sitting ahead of our other setups in some areas, while other times you can see we're sitting a little closer to each other. The new low $300 processor from Intel really does a great job against the much more expensive Extreme Edition offerings.

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 34

Memory bandwidth on the new platform is strong and you can see key improvements in all areas. We're look really forward to the numbers we're going to get in the coming weeks as we get some truly high-end memory kits.

PassMark PerformanceTest

Version and / or Patch Used: 7.0.1021

Developer Homepage:

Product Homepage:

Buy It Here

Fast, easy to use, PC speed testing and benchmarking. PassMark PerformanceTest allows you to objectively benchmark a PC using a variety of different speed tests and compare the results to other computers. Twenty-eight standard benchmark tests are available in six test suites plus there are seven advanced testing windows for custom benchmarking.

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 35

Looking above under PassMark you can see that there's not too much change between the i7 3770K and the new i7 4770K when it comes to stock performance. Overclocking as you'd expect helps separate the two setups, but also remember overclocking would also yield higher numbers from the i7 3770K as well.

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 36

Again we see strong numbers when it comes to memory performance under PerformanceTest. Not quite the same kind of improvements that we saw under AIDA64, though.

CINEBENCH, Adobe Lightroom and MediaEspresso


Version and / or Patch Used: R11.5

Developer Homepage:

Product Homepage:

Buy It Here

CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

CINEBENCH is the perfect tool to compare CPU and graphics performance across various systems and platforms (Windows and Mac OS X). And best of all: It's completely free.

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 37

Looking at CINEBENCH performance you can see our i7 4770K shows a nice jump compared to the i7 3770k. You can see we're behind the higher-end X58 builds, though across the board, especially the very expensive Extreme Edition processors from Intel.

Adobe Lightroom

Version and / or Patch Used: v3.4

Developer Homepage:

Product Homepage:

Buy It Here

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 software helps you bring out the best in your photographs, whether you're perfecting one image, searching for ten, processing hundreds, or organizing thousands.

Create incredible images that move your audience. Experiment fearlessly with state-of-the-art nondestructive editing tools. Easily manage all your images. And showcase your work in elegant print layouts, slide shows, and web galleries, as well as on popular photo-sharing sites. All from within one fast, intuitive application.

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 38

Looking at the Lightroom numbers you can see that the 4770k comes out ever so slightly ahead of the 3770k. Overclocking performance is really strong and you can see we come out ahead of our other setups. This is great considering the price difference between these CPUs.


Version and / or Patch Used: v6.5

Developer Homepage:

Product Homepage:

Buy It Here

MediaEspresso is a blazingly fast media universal converter that can transcode your videos, photos and music files and out put them to a huge range of portable devices including mobile phones, portable media players and even game consoles. With technologies like Smart Detect, Direct Sync and CyberLink's TrueTheaterâ„¢ video enhancements, you can not only forget about complicated format, resolution and output settings, but your converted file will come out the other side looking better than when it went in!

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 39

Out of the box you can see the Media Espresso numbers are slightly ahead of the previous generation 3770K. Overclocking to 4.6GHz you can sees bring our numbers in line with our high-end i7 3930K and slightly behind the much more expensive i7 3970X Extreme Edition.

3DMark 11 and Aliens vs. Predator

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0

Developer Homepage:

Product Homepage:

Buy It Here

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 40

Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Benchmark

Developer Homepage:

Product Homepage:

Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 41

Video card performance is as you'd expect with little change being seen across the board. We see a slight performance increase when it comes to the Performance preset when overclocking, but apart from that, everything else sits pretty close.

Power and Temperature Tests

Power Draw Tests

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 42

Power draw numbers on the new platform are excellent. Idle numbers at stock and overclocked are lower than any of our other setups. The same goes for load numbers at stock speed.

It's only when we overclock that we see it jump up, but mid 300 watt is an extremely impressive number considering the performance on offer from these new Haswell parts.

Core Temperature

Intel Core i7 4770K (Haswell 4th Gen) CPU and Z87 Express Chipset Review 43

Out of the box the i7 4770K runs a bit warmer than the i7 3770K when it comes to load numbers. Looking above you can see those idle numbers are up a bit more, sitting just a little lower than the i7 3970X Extreme Edition.

Overclocking, though, you can see jumps up into the 90c range, which was quite common with the 3770K as well.

We had hoped that it would've been a little lower. Saying that, performance was rock solid at all times and we never experienced any issues.

Final Thoughts

Intel's Haswell, Z87 and the i7 4770K are a good natural progression. We find ourselves sitting in that boat where if you're already on a strong Series 7 setup, you probably won't be in a rush to make the jump like we've seen from previous generation upgrades. Saying that, though, if you're going to build a new system now, we'd recommend that you jump straight on the Haswell bandwagon. It seems a little pointless to buy an older generation system when the new one has launched at a strong price point.

Saying all that, you can see under some benchmarks the difference in performance is extremely strong. The numbers under PCMark 7 for instance, the i7 4770K comes out ahead of all our other setups at stock and the gap becomes even larger when we overclock. You're going to certainly see some excellent gains in certain areas.

Overclocking is one area that we're looking forward to diving into more. As we mentioned earlier in the overclocking section, as we test more boards, get the opportunity to pick up some more processors, get the latest and greatest BIOS from companies and just generally get more comfortable with the platform, we should really see some great numbers out of it.

When it comes to the gaming side of things, performance is pretty much exactly what we'd expect. As usual, we really see little change when it comes to comparing the cheaper $200 CPUs against the monster $1000 ones. Saying that, we'll be taking a deeper look at gaming performance in the coming week or two.

We'll of course be moving into a much higher-end video card setup in the form of three way CrossFireX with a HD 7990 and HD 7970 GHz Edition to see just what kind of performance we're able to get out of the setup. We're hoping when we really start to flood our system, some changes become visible.

One of the more exciting features that surrounds the new platform, though, is the motherboard line up we're seeing from companies. It really feels like we have never seen a motherboard line up as strong as what we're seeing at this launch compared to any previous one. There are truly some fantastic motherboards launching straight away from companies like ASRock, ASUS and GIGABYTE to name just a few of the companies.

Along with that, what we've seen from the memory side of things is also really exciting. While previous experience tells us that the speed of your memory has little impact in most main areas, there's something exciting about seeing our memory climb past 3000MHz DDR and even beyond.

The latest platform from Intel really is quite an exciting one. We use the word platform because we are talking about so much more than just some new CPUs that are launching. If you weren't excited for Computex already, what we see in the coming week from companies surround Haswell should be truly exciting.

What do awards mean? Click for details!

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf

Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

Newsletter Subscription
We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.