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Review: Intel Core i7-4770R (22nm Haswell)

by Tarinder Sandhu on 6 March 2014, 15:00

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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Iris Pro graphics to the rescue

Which is the best all-round consumer desktop processor you can buy today? It would ideally need to be strong in the CPU department, ship with the latest technologies, and have an integrated GPU that can play many of today's games at a full-HD resolution.

AMD is likely to concede that its APUs aren't as powerful as those from Intel for CPU work, especially in instances where an application only takes advantage of a single thread, but will point to the industry-leading performance of the Radeon-infused integrated graphics in both games and applications that take advantage of OpenCL.

Intel's chips are better for CPU-side processing while AMD is stronger for gaming seems to be a prevalent Internet meme, though observers note that genuinely high-quality gaming can only be achieved by, if possible, using a discrete video card.

Intel does, however, have more potent integrated graphics for select desktop and laptop processors, where spatial considerations mean that discrete video cards from AMD or Nvidia are simply too big or hot-running to fit into razor-thin machines. Improving upon the desktop Core i7-4770K's HD 4600 Graphics are the HD 5000, Iris 5100 and Iris Pro 5200.

Intel Haswell Graphics comparison

 
Cores
Frequency (MHz)
GFLOPS
eDRAM (MB)
Max chip TDP (watts)
Overall chip size (mm²)
Iris Pro 5200
40
1,300
832
128
64
348
Iris 5100
40
1,300
832
No
28
264
HD 5000
40
1,100
704
No
15
264
HD 4600
20
1,350
432
No
84
177

In a nutshell, the HD 5000, Iris 5100 and Iris Pro 5200 graphics double the HD 4600's execution units, to 40, and given the maximum frequency is nearly the same, boost potential GFLOPS throughput to almost 2x. HD 5000 and HD 5100 Graphics are interesting insofar as they're specified on low-power processors that ship with a maximum TDP of 28W, making them ideal for Ultrabooks and thin-and-light laptops.

The fastest graphics part is known as Iris Pro, which is otherwise identical to the Iris 5100 apart from featuring 128MB of eDRAM on the same package as the processor, though not integrated into the die itself. The eDRAM acts as a massive last-level cache for both CPU and GPU applications.

Processors featuring Iris Pro 5200 Graphics

 
Cores
Threads
Core speed (GHz)
Turbo (GHz)
TDP (watts)
Type
Tray price (USD)
Core i5-4570R
4
4
2.7
3.2
65
Desktop
255
Core i5-4670R
4
4
3.0
3.7
65
Desktop
276
Core i7-4770R
4
8
3.2
3.9
65
Desktop
358
Core i7-4750HQ
4
8
2.0
3.2
47
Mobile
434
Core i7-4850HQ
4
8
2.3
3.5
47
Mobile
434
Core i7-4860HQ
4
8
2.4
3.6
47
Mobile
NA
Core i7-4950HQ
4
8
2.4
3.6
47
Mobile
623
Core i7-4960HQ
4
8
2.6
3.8
47
Mobile
623

Iris Pro 5200 graphics are found in two desktop Core i5 chips, five mobile Core i7 processors and a single desktop Core i7. Do be aware that the trio of desktop-designated Iris Pro processors use a different socket to the usual LGA1150 you're familiar with; they're based on the same FCBGA1364 form factor present on other mobile chips, but are designed to fit into all-in-one 'desktop' PCs.

The Core i7-4770R is of most interest to us. Marked by Intel as a desktop version and, on paper, featuring almost as much CPU processing ability as the regular Core i7-4770K, the Iris Pro 5200 GPU means it possesses about twice the graphical grunt. Putting it another way, and saliently ignoring price for now, Core i7-4770R should compete well with AMD's A10-7850K APU on the GPU side of things.

The enthusiast cannot purchase a Core i7-4770R processor alone and integrate it into a system of their choice. Rather, the chip is pre-packaged into all-in-one PCs and premium small-form-factor systems, and we took a look at one in the form of the Gigabyte Brix Pro just the other week.

It is also worthwhile examining the Core i7-4770R's performance because it provides solid insight into how the next generation of enthusiast-class Intel desktop chips are likely to perform. We know this because 'Broadwell K' chips are said to feature a form of Iris Pro Graphics.

So, without further ado, does the more-potent graphics, supported with eDRAM, make the Core i7-4770R the best all-in-one chip? Only one way to find out.