In our recent review of the Intel Core i7-4770K processor we detailed the highs and lows of the LGA1150 platform at large. Despite certain positive developments, Intel's new platform doesn't look good to us. It is rather a disappointment. The new generation of CPUs with Haswell core come at about the same prices and have the same clock rates as their predecessors. There are but minor improvements on the microarchitecture level, so the performance benefits are negligible as well. Intel’s CPUs have become a little more economical when idle but need much more power at high loads. It has become harder to overclock them, even in comparison with the Ivy Bridge series which was hardly overclocker-friendly in its own right. As for the good news, the performance of the integrated graphics core has been improved substantially while the support for new AVX2 instructions may make Haswell CPUs faster than their predecessors if implemented in software products.
Intel's 8 series chipsets, known previously under the codename of Lynx Point, come in 11 varieties. Most of them are chipsets for mobile and embedded systems. The Q87 and Q85 are designed for corporate applications. The B85 is for business. The H87 is the basic version whereas the Z87 is the most advanced chipset for computer enthusiasts. Compared to its predecessor Z77 Express, the Z87 offers the same total number of USB and SATA ports: 14 and 6, respectively. However, there are now six instead of four USB 3.0 ports and six instead of two 6 Gbit/s ports. That’s all the difference, actually, unless you attach importance to the fact that the word “Express” has been dropped from the names of the new chipsets.
We can hardly hope that the LGA1150 platform with its minor improvements and substantial downsides can revive the stagnating PC market but we have to deal with what we have, so our job now is to test Z87-based mainboards. Intel, the developer of chipsets and CPUs, hasn’t treated us to anything special lately, but we may get something exciting from mainboard makers that have prepared numerous innovations for the release of the LGA1150 platform.