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Intel's new desktop CPU lineup: Benchmark results reveal little competition for 4th-gen Core

Michael Brown | June 3, 2013
Chipzilla will continue to dominate the CPU market, but AMD's APU strategy leaves it with a foot in the door.

We compared the Core i7-4770K processor's performance (at its stock frequency of 3.5GHz) to a range of Intel's third-generation Core processors: A 3.3GHz Core i3-3225, a 3.4GHz Core i5-3570K, and a 3.5GHz Core i7-3770K. Each of these processors is a quad-core CPU with an integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics processor.

We also compared the Core i7-4770K to AMD's best desktop quad-core processor, the 4.2GHz A10-5800K, which has an integrated Radeon HD 7660D graphics processor. We built out an MSI FM2-A85XA-G65 motherboard using the same memory, power supply, and SSD for our AMD test. Here again, we relied on the AMD CPU's integrated graphics.

Intel's Core i7-4770K took first-place finishes on nearly every benchmark, scoring a Desktop Worldbench 8.1 score of 347. Worldbench 8.1 is an amalgam of synthetic and real-world benchmark tests designed to provide a holistic look at a computer's performance. It measures graphics-intensive applications such as games, as well as CPU-intensive applications such as photo- and video editing. AMD's A10-5800K limped to a last-place finish here, scoring 197.

But Intel's new processor didn't exactly pummel its predecessor. The older Core i7-3770K delivered a respectable Desktop Worldbench score of 330--meaning it was just 5.2 percent slower than its newer cousin.

And when we measured only gaming performance, running BioShock Infinite at a resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels, with visual quality set to Low, AMD's processor snagged first place, delivering the game at a snappy 54.8 frames per second. Intel's Core i7-4770K performed better than any of its older cousins on this test, but its frame rate of 45.4 frames per second was more than 17 percent slower than the AMD's.

Power efficiency
To evaluate Intel's power-efficiency claims, we measured our test rig's power draw at idle and again while the machine was under load. The Core i7-4770K drew significantly less juice while idle compared to the older Core i7, but only slightly less power than the Core i5 (and insignificantly more than the Core i3). But it was 11 percent less efficient at idle than AMD's CPU.

Perhaps more importantly, it was 24 percent more efficient than AMD's processor while under load. We can't wait to get our hands on a new Ultrabook so we can perform some battery-life testing.


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