Intel obviously refocused all their efforts on resolving the “ARM problem”. The microprocessor giant obviously doesn’t want to hand over the compact mobile devices market to the competition, therefore all their engineering forced have been directed towards designing x86 processors with lower power consumption and excellent performance. The CPUs, which could successfully compete against the high-performance ARM products. At least, processors with this microarchitecture will be able to settle in ultra-compact notebooks-transformers and high-performance tablets. And there are a few very inspiring models in the new Haswell family targeted for these specific segments. Take, for example, low-voltage dual-core Core i5 Y-series with the average power consumption of only 6 W, which support Hyper-Threading technology and can work at 1.4-1.9 GHz frequency. Moreover, there will be at least a few dozen different SoC U-series processors on Haswell microarchitecture with 15 W TDP, which will target ultra-books.
The variety of products, which are currently being prepared for release after the Haswell microarchitecture launch, indicate clearly that Intel’s priorities have changed dramatically. Therefore, there is a good reason for why we didn’t see much progress in the new Haswell CPUs. Intel currently has no need or real interest in advancing the existing desktop platforms. The product we got today is what they managed to put together with minimal modifications to the microarchitecture, which is originally designed for mobile devices.
And frankly speaking, this product is not that impressive at all, especially in the eyes of computer enthusiasts. We tested the top of the line desktop Haswell, Core i7-4770K, and drew a number of bitter conclusions. First, Core i7-4770K is just a little bit faster than the flagship Ivy Bridge processor. Microarchitectural improvements only provide a 5-15 % performance boost, and the clock frequency hasn’t changed at all. Second, Core i7-4770K processor turned out a significantly hotter processor than the CPUs based on previous microarchitecture. Even though Haswell allows engineering energy-efficient processors with impressively low heat dissipation, its performance-per-watt has worsened a lot when they adjusted its characteristics to meet the desktop requirements. This resulted into the third item on this list: without extreme cooling Core i7-4770K overclocks less effectively than the previous generation overclocker processors. The specific CPU sample we tested this time allows us to conclude that these processors may get overheated at 4.4-4.5 GHz clock speeds even with high-performance air coolers. And fourth: Haswell processors require new LGA 1150 platform, which doesn’t boast any unique advantages, but merely offers more USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gbps ports. But currently this platform seems quite raw and awaits a new chipset stepping, which will fix some issues with the USB 3.0 controller.
In order to make up for all the above mentioned shortcomings, desktop Haswell offers the following: support of the new AVX2/FMA3 instructions, which are not yet utilized by existing software; 30% faster graphics core, and limited overclocking of the processor with a locked clock frequency multiplier. Unfortunately, all these advantages will most likely be useless for enthusiasts. Although, junior Haswell CPU models, from the Core i3 series, for example, may turn out quite appealing particularly due to these features. Although they are scheduled to be released a little later.
And at this time we have to wrap up our Core i7-4770K and LGA 1150 platform review with a slight feeling of disappointment. The arrival of the new Haswell microarchitecture into the desktop segment seems to be very similar to the Windows 8 launch. Intel seems to be offering something very new and progressive, but each advantage the newcomer has to offer is counterbalanced by at least two shortcomings, ruining the overall impression and taking away the desire to migrate to fourth generation Core processors. Obviously, Haswell feels out of place in the desktop segment, but we hope that the new revisions of the processor die and chipset will encourage further improvement of the LGA 1150 platform and desktop processors in particular.