Like the rest of you we very much enjoy seeing what is possible from the top end hardware. There are few things more exciting than comparing a beastly piece of hardware to the previous market leader and seeing what would be achievable with a lottery win or the death of a wealthy uncle.
We are, however, equally aware that the majority of users haven't got the finances to run a system with a i7-4770K in it. Most of us don't even require the computational power it can provide. You only have to look at the popularity of the 2nd Generation Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5-2500K to know that a high-clocking, affordable CPU can sell by the container load. We hardly know anyone who hasn't had one of these processors at the heart of their system at one time or another.
With the release of Haswell and the 4th Generation of Intel CPU's we have, rightly, kept our focus on the range topping i7-4770K CPU in our early tests, but the performance of the Aria pre-overclocked bundles which were based around the Core i5-4670K, piqued our interest and we had to find our for ourselves if this really was the LGA1150 equivalent to the monster-selling i5-2500K.
As always with a processor the specifications are largely of interest to developers rather than the average user who just cares about how many clocks and at what speed they run. The i5-4670K is a pure quad-core, with no hyper-threading, based on a 22nm process with a low TDP of 84W and the latest Intel instruction sets.
|# of Cores||4|
|# of Threads||4|
|Clock Speed||3.4 GHz|
|Max Turbo Frequency||3.8 GHz|
|# of QPI Links||0|
|Instruction Set Extensions||SSE 4.1/4.2, AVX 2.0|
|Embedded Options Available||No|
|Max TDP||84 W|
|Intel® Turbo Boost Technology||2.0|
|Intel® vPro Technology||No|
|Intel® Virtualization Technology (VT-x)||Yes|
|Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d)||No|
|Intel® VT-x with Extended Page Tables (EPT)||Yes|
|AES New Instructions||Yes|
|Intel® Anti-Theft Technology||Yes|
|Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology||Yes|
|Thermal Monitoring Technologies||Yes|
|Execute Disable Bit||Yes|
|Intel® Secure Key||Yes|
|Intel® Identity Protection Technology||Yes|
Intel Core i5-4670K
Club3D HD7970 Royal Ace
Corsair Vengeance Pro 2400MHz
Corsair Neutron GTX
Windows 7 x64
With the Corsair H100i keeping our i5-4670K cool it was easy to push it very hard indeed. 4.8GHz at one 1.27 vCore is very impressive, and demonstrating that the i5-4670K is a genuine replacement for the excellent i5-2500K. With most games not taking advantage of Hyper-Threading this could be the weapon of choice for gamers.
The lack of Hyper-Threading hasn't greatly altered the power draw though, with the i5-4670K being equally as hungry as the i7-4770K.
It wont be a shock to see that the i5-4670K is comfortably out-performed by the Hyper-Threading i7-4770K in the CPU benchmarks and it certainly is. It's not a curb stomp but, as well see later, the solely CPU ones don't tell the full story. Of course the memory benchmarks are excellent. We never stop being amazed by how well the Zx7 chipset handles memory bandwidth.
We'd expect there to be some early pain because CPU benchmarks, especially in Sandra, are relentless in their ability to extract the maximum performance available and with only four cores the i5-4670K is at a natural disadvantage. However, we're actually quite surprised. Certainly the stock results bear out the lack of Hyper-Threading, but when overclocked it's capable of matching a stock i7-4770K. Hardly slovenly.
We're not sure if the latest update to SiSoft Sandra has changed the Cryptography algorithm or if the i5-4670K is just that impressive. So we'll reserve judgement until we've tested it further. Certainly the AIDA64 AES256 test didn't indicate that the i5-4670K was a cryptanalyst's wet dream.
Once again the raw horsepower of the Core i7-4770K cannot be denied, and yet the Core i5-4670K makes the most of the overclock to bridge the Hyper-Threading gap. 8.26 CPU Pts is hugely impressive from a quad-core CPU.
Our last batch of purely CPU based tests continue to demonstrate how well optimised the Hyper-Threading has become in recent years. Even a monster overclock isn't enough to overcome a lack of cores, even virtual ones.
x264 Benchmark 5.0
Video encoding is one of the most demanding things you can do with your computer. Surprisingly the overclocked i5-4670K is once again a match for a stock i7-4770K. Of course if all you're doing is encoding video then you'd be better off with Xeon's or even a LGA2011 setup, but it's nice to know that casual media sharers wont be left twiddling their thumbs with a Core i5-4670K.
Now we're finally free of the tests that only care about the amount of cores available, you can see that the Core i5-4670K has plenty of grunt for 99% of the tasks that you'll require it to perform. Whether it's the older PC Mark Vantage, or the much newer PC Mark 7, the Core i5-4670K is easily a match for the pricier i7-4770K, and certainly wont be the limiting factor in your setup.
PC Mark Vantage
PC Mark 7
Resident Evil 6
There is no question that the Core i5-4670K is more than enough for gaming needs, or at least it seems so with Resident Evil 6. Without the Y axis you would never guess which was a i7-4770K and which was a i5-4670K result, let alone stock or overclocked.
Despite the stern nature (ha) of the Unigine Valley benchmark the Core i5-4670K just keeps plugging away. We would have imagined that the 8xMSAA 1440P Ultra test would favour the overclocked i7-4770K, and yet the stock i5-4670K gives identical results. Very impressive.
It's sorely tempting to always go for the highest model in a range, but the Core i5-4670K once again shows that if you're planning on mainly gaming then you're just wasting your money going for the 4770K.
3D Mark Vantage
Understandably the Performance preset is run at such a low resolution that the i7-4770K is more than capable of giving a bigger score thanks to it's better clock speed and HT. But if you look at the Extreme preset which runs at the 1920x1080 resolution you'll actually play at, we see the Core i5-4670K is easily a match for its big brother.
3D Mark 11
We see the same situation in 3D Mark 11, although it's worth noting that the Performance preset is much closer than we saw in Vantage. If you're playing at realistic resolutions, then there is no need to even overclock the Core i5-4670K!
Finally the latest version of 3D Mark springs a surprise. The Ice Storm test, the gentlest 3D test we run, actually prefers the Core i5-4670K to the i7-4770K. Once you increase the image quality and volume of polygons and shaders with the Fire Strike tests, the Core i5-4670K once again holds its head high, even at stock.
When we first got wind of the Core i5-4670K we wondered, as we are sure you did, as to whether Intel have produced a successor for the vastly popular and powerful Core i5-2500K.
Unquestionably they have.
The Core i5-4670K is a pocket rocket. Stock performance is good, but it's the ease of the overclocking that really shone. Without the Hyper-Threading you have some more thermal headroom and this meant that we could squeeze a very impressive 4.8GHz out of our sample. We're not suggesting that all Core i5-4670K's will achieve this high clock speed, but equally it's good to know that it's possible if you get the right one.
We knew going in to our testing that the CPU Benchmarks would favour the Core i7-4770K more simply due to it's Hyper-Threading, and certainly the Core i5-4670K hardly set the world alight, yet neither did it have to sit in the corner in disgrace either. With our 4.8GHz overclock in place it regularly matched a stock i7-4770K. But nobody buys a CPU just to run calculation tests on it. Or at least nobody who demands intense calculations and transcoding will buy a Core i5.
What was consistently jaw-dropping was the real world performance of the Core i5-4670K. PC Mark gave a similar score with our i5-4670K as we've seen from our i7-4770K. We don't just mean that the overclock was impressive either, but the stock performance was always eye-opening.
Games, however, are where the Core i5-4670K really shines. At lower resolutions (1024 or 1280) you'll get higher average frame-rates or 3D Mark results with the range-topping i7-4770K, but as soon as you move to a resolution that you'll actually use, 1080P, then the difference between a stock Core i5-4670K and a 4.9GHz i7-4770K all but disappear. It's incredible.
We think this is the best CPU on the market at the moment when you compare the cost and the performance that you obtain. It's really easy to overclock, capable enough in video rendering or other CPU intensive tasks to not be frustrating, and in the daily tasks that we actually use our systems for, browsing, calendars, light image editing and gaming, it's an absolute beast and easily a match for anything you can put up against it.
We've waited a long time for a processor to finally dethrone the Core i5-2500K as the best bang-for-buck CPU around, and with the Core i5-4670K we finally have it. The King is dead, long live the King.
Thanks to Intel for supplying the i5-4670K for review. Discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.