Intel DZ77GA-70K and Core i7-3770K Review
Published: 23rd April 2012 | Source: Intel | Price: |
Maybe we've got complacent. Maybe we've got greedy. Or maybe Intel knocked the Sandy Bridge range out of the park and it's a tough act to follow. However you look at it, the Intel Core i7-3770K is most definitely the Sophomore Slump. Don't get us wrong, it's by no means a bad processor at all. If the i7-2600K and i7-2700K didn't exist then we'd be flogging our granny to own one. It's just they do and this is much of the same. If I could use a metaphor at this point, and as I'm the person writing it I can, then the Z77GA-70K and i7-3770K combination is a lot like a bowl of Kellogs Frosties. You might be really excited to begin with, but it becomes clear quite soon that all you've got is tarted up Cornflakes. I happen to love Cornflakes.
Ahem. Let's start again. At its heart the i7-3770K is a i7-2600K with a reduced nm process and the upgrade of HD4000 integrated graphics rather than HD3000, coupled to the ability to run Memory at frankly insane speeds. It doesn't overclock in a particularly eye-popping manner. It hasn't got a wealth of instructions to make a mockery of its clock speed in the same way that a 2500K annihilates a Q6600. It's the same thing we're all used to, but with a bit of a spit and polish.
That's by no means a bad thing. The 2nd Generation CPUs from Intel are a near-perfect blend of performance and affordability. Even the X79 and i7-3960X didn't give us so much performance boost that we considered selling organs to pay for one, so perhaps it was ridiculous to expect the 22nm Ivy Bridge CPUs to do so.
I'm very aware this reads like quite a downbeat conclusion. It's just this is exactly as excellent as the CPUs we already have. If you're in the market for an upgrade from system that's now a couple of generations old, then you couldn't do any better. If you disbelieve the hype then prepare to eat your hat, and shoes, and anything else you can find that is nutritious because this really is as good as everyone tells you that it is. But if you already have a decent LGA1155 setup, then you're probably better off waiting for a bit. The PCI Express 3.0 benefits are negligible. The HD4000 upgrade is good, but the HD3000 was no slouch and anyone wanting serious gaming would have a discreet solution anyway.
You'll notice I haven't mentioned the motherboard yet. That reasons are three-fold. Firstly almost nobody actually buys an Intel Motherboard, so it's a limited audience. Secondly we are saving our overclocking tests for another motherboard, so there isn't a huge amount to cover, and finally the pre-release BIOS on our model was dodgy at best, and would make it an exceptionally tough recommend under even the best of circumstances.
So if you haven't yet sampled the delights of the LGA1155 range stop reading right this very moment and hasten to your local emporium and exchange money for this box of treasures. In the same way that the previous generation was unquestionably OC3D Gold worthy, so the Core i7-3770K is too. It's just not worth upgrading from if you've already got one of those self-same 2nd Generation CPUs.