The Ivy Bridge Core i7 3770K costs $313 per CPU in 1000 part lots. This should put the final retail price at under $400 (but not always). At $400 per CPU with the performance you can get this is not a bad deal. Of course you will need to upgrade to the Z77 chipset to use this CPU, but that should not be too big of a deal and you are setup for a few future performance benefits like PCIe Gen 3, USB and SATA 3.0 from the PCH instead of needing add-in controllers (although those will still be present). $400 is also that a bad price when you consider that there is nothing from AMD to compete with this CPU (which is actually very sad).
At the point we are in the CPU wars Intel could very well just sit back and take a break. However we are not seeing this as they have really done some work on the Core i7 3770K. The new instruction set which combines some improved and new instructions along with the new IGP in the form of the GMA 4000 (on the 3770K) show off what you can do when you start to combine power with finesse. There is a downside though. Ivy Bridge is the first generation CPU on the new 22nm process; this means that the lithography is not as mature as the 32nm process that was being used on Sandy Bridge. As you begin to get smaller the chances for leakage are much greater. We sort of see this in what happens during overclocking. With Sandy Bridge it was not uncommon to be able to reach 5GHz and able with air cooling or simple closed loop water. With Ivy Bridge the best we have hit has been 4.8GHz stable and even then the temperatures are much higher than we would have liked. Now while this means the 3770K is not an overclocker’s dream it does not take away from the great performance that we saw in almost all of our testing. Is Ivy Bridge worth the upgrade? Well if you are interested in getting the most out of your multi-media content then we would say absolutely. The performance increases here are good enough to be worth the expense of picking up a new CPU and motherboard. On the other hand if you are looking at gaming, or some of the higher-end content creation and you are working with Sandy Bridge E CPUs you might want to wait until Ivy Bridge – E hits the market sometime later this year.
Discuss this in our Forum