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Review: Intel Core i5-4440 (22nm Haswell)

by Tarinder Sandhu on 25 February 2014, 15:00

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaca65

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Mainstream appeal

There are few better feelings in technology than choosing parts for a new PC build, purchasing them, and then laying them down on the table ready for build time.

It's long been argued that PCs offer a better user experience than high-end tablets or the latest consoles. Truth is, you don't have to spend a great deal in order to build a decent PC that's both a capable workhorse and willing gaming machine.

AMD believes the way to go is to opt for one of its new Kaveri-based Accelerated Processing Units (APU). Baking in four cores and cutting-edge graphics seems like a good recipe for success, particularly with the emphasis on value, yet the premier A10-7850K, priced at £130, can leave a little to be desired on the CPU front.

We've previously compared this A10-7850K to an Intel Core i5-4670 that costs an additional £30. AMD and a few HEXUS forum members reckoned the comparison was unfair, weighted in Intel's favour, so we took the suggestions onboard and requested Intel provide us with the Core i5-4440 - a CPU that costs exactly the same as the best AMD APU.

This comparison is especially valid as either chip makes a good case for inclusion in, say, a £500 base-unit build. Do you go AMD, or do you go for Intel? Well, reviewing said Core i5 chip should provide ample means of determining whose processor is the best fit for a modern PC.

We've lined up a number of popular consumer Intel CPUs, all based on the latest Haswell technology, to see how the Core i5-4440 slots in.

Select Intel Core iX 'Haswell' Comparison

 
Cores
Threads
CPU Base Clock
CPU Turbo Clock
Onboard Cache
GPU Brand
GPU Max Clock
TDP
Box Price
i7-4770
4
8
3.4 GHz
3.9 GHz
8 MB
HD 4600
1,200 MHz
84 W
$312
i5-4670
4
4
3.4 GHz
3.8 GHz
6 MB
HD 4600
1,150 MHz
84 W
$224
i5-4440
4
4
3.1 GHz
3.3 GHz
6 MB
HD 4600
1,100 MHz
84 W
$187
i3-4340
2
4
3.6 GHz
NA
4 MB
HD 4600
1,150 MHz
54 W
$157
i3-4130
2
4
3.4 GHz
NA
3 MB
HD 4400
1,150 MHz
54 W
$125

Where does it fit in?


The Core i5-4440 uses four cores and can process four threads at once. The main differences between it and the popular Core i5-4670 are lower base and turbo frequencies for the CPU cores - it should benchmark about 15 per cent lower in this regard - and a slightly slower IGP. Both share the same 84W TDP and fit into any board that supports LGA1150 processors.

Folk who need a lower-power version of this chip would do well to take a look at the Core i5-4440S, which reduces core speed to 2.8GHz base and 3.3GHz turbo but ships with a 65W TDP - all for the same £130.

It's interesting that the Core i3-4340 is faster for light-load applications; it has a higher base and peak CPU core speed, as well as a Core i5-4670-matching 1,150MHz IGP, which runs a smidgen faster than the same-architecture graphics contained within the review chip. Intel ships all retail processors with a basic cooler and backs them with a three-year warranty.

Reasonable assumptions indicate that Intel will have the upper hand on CPU-centric benchmarks and AMD will return the favour when examining performance of the IGP.

And for those of you who are pondering whether or not your next PC will need to employ a discrete graphics card, we have also run a subset of numbers with a £110 GeForce GTX 750 Ti in situ, highlighting the performance uplift when using a dedicated GPU that's geared for small systems.