Everyone who is even slightly up to date with IT news knows about the traditional “tick-tock” system that Intel uses when presenting new processors. While “tick” presents introducing a new production process, a completely new microarchitecture and, by extension, better performances, “tock” presents small improvements which can practically be seen as just a facelift. Therefore, Haswell is a far lesser improvement than Intel would have you believe. Simply put, the company did everything to make us believe that Haswell is a great improvement, although it really isn’t. Proof for that is the most powerful version of Core i5 model that we’ve received for testing.
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Core i5 4670K

This processor is made in High-K Metal Gate 22-nanometer production process, and like its predecessors, it’s a quad-core model with integrated graphics. The processor doesn’t have many improvements, that is, it does, but aside from a long list that would look impressive, their functionality is lacking. Simply put, if we would try to list all of them, you’d be impressed, but all of that doesn’t have any support in terms of practical benefits. Intel introduced improved hardware prefetch, branch prediction mechanism, enlarged buffers, registers, etc. Cache memory wasn’t increased or physically changed, but instead of uniformed frequency, now cache, GPU and CPU work on different frequencies. While it was the opposite in the previous generation, Intel claims that this system is better, but saying that it’s an important improvement is a bit of an overstatement. The next architecture could change back to the old system, depending on what suited Intel the most. Introduction of the second generation AVX instructions is maybe the most important change, because they do improve various domains, such as gaming, multimedia, etc. In any case, as is the usual, CPU can be improved only slightly with somewhat better performances, higher frequencies, but changing a complete system along with the motherboard because of that would be a completely irrational move. On the other hand, in case you’re deciding now, it’s best to buy the current generation and hope that there won’t be any changes until the next one. Core i5 4670K is a quad-core processor, and HyperThreading technology is lacking, as usual. Therefore, OS detects four logic cores, while eight is reserved for Core i7 series. The tested processor works with a 3,5 GHz clock, and because of the implemented TurboBoost technology it can reach up to 3,8 GHz, as long as it remains within limits of the set TDP of 84 W. It should also be noted that the processor doesn’t have higher frequency than the successor, even though it’s usually increased by at least 100-200 MHz, in order to achieve better results and impress the users.

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Intel Core i5 4670K
 
Code name Haswell
Base frequency (TurboBoost) 3.4 (3.8) GHz
L1 / L2 / L3 cache 256 KB / 1 KB / 6 MB
Manufacturing process 22 nm HighK Metal Gate
Declared TDP 84 W
Cores / threads 4 / 4
Socket LGA1150
GPU HD 4600 (GT2)
GPU Frequency 350 - 1200 MHz
Number of EU in GPU 20
Price sample
Contact www.intel.com

New GPU… again

Intel knows exactly what is lacking in their products, and it’s usually the GPU. As long as this company has existed, in terms of GPU, they never had the ability to offer something really good to their customers. In times when AMD’s APU is being lauded, because they excellently implemented the Radeon technology in a processor, Intel had to improve its own technology. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that a lion’s share of effort was invested into graphics section of the new generation of processors. First of all, new graphics solutions will gain a common name. Iris will be the designation of three different graphics systems with GT1, GT2, GT3 names. The most powerful one, GT3, will be found in the best processors and will probably be reserved only for advanced models. Aside from having twice the number of EU, GT3 is the only one which has local memory at its disposal. It’s a 123 MB eDRAM whose designation means embedded RAM. We suppose that eDRAM will work on extremely high clock, in order to compensate the reduced capacity and that it will enable it to have better performance compared to GT1 and GT2. This is good news for the fans of integrated GPU, because GT2 that’s found in Core i5 4670K is very good. The name of the integrated graphic system at hand is Intel GMA HD4600. It’s very interesting that name doesn’t differ from naming convention used by AMD. Aside from the aforementioned 20 EU, this GPU has rather modest hardware capabilities. With 4 texture and 2 ROP units, HD4600 looks unimpressive and it’s on par with the worst discrete GPUs. Frequency of 350 to 1200 MHz is rather good, though. The improvements in this field are obviously based on adding new technologies and improving the architecture, but in this case, it’s not enough. DirectX 11.1 is supported and ShadeModel 5.0 and QuickSync reached its third generation. The leap in the performances is obvious.  For the first time, you can say that many newer games are actually playable. Instead of watching a slideshow, caused by low FPS, most of the games worked pretty well, even in the 1080p resolution. Needless to say, most of the games we’ve played were with low to lowest possible detail level, but it should be noted that it is an iGPU.

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Sandy Bridge E Core i7 3960X (left) vs. Haswell Core i5 4670K (right)
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Test results
 
Cinebench R11.5 x64
OpenGL [fps] 25.99
CPU [pts] 6.08
CPU Single Core [pts] 1.65
MP Ratio 3.68
x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 (Pass1/Pass2) [fps] 190.7 / 39.6
x264 HD Benchmark 5.0 (Pass1/Pass2) [fps] 58.4 / 13.79
Blender v2.64 [s]** 232.45
AIDA 64 2.5 memory read / write / copy [MB/s] 19419 / 22039 / 25704
AIDA 64 2.5 memory latency [ns] ** 43.6
TrueCrypt
AES [GB/s] 1.6
TwoFish [MB/s] 447
Serpent [MB/s] 257
7-Zip 7.20 x64 komp./dekomp. [kB/s] 15475 / 185606
WinRar 4.20 Benchmark [KB/s] 5228
3DMark 11 Entry Preset
Final Score E 2584
Physics Score 2258
Graphics Score 7151
3DMark 11 Performance Preset
Final Score P 1357
Physics Score 7432
Graphics Score 1376
1920x1080 0xAA 0xAF
Unigine Valley 1.0 (DX11, low / medium, tesselation dissabled) [fps] 14.4 / 12.3
Crysis Warhead (DX10, Performance / Mainstream) [fps] 43.7 / 24.9
Crysis 2 (DX11, high / very high) [fps] 10.8 / 8.2
Just Cause 2 (DX11, low / medium) [fps] 35.9 / 34.6
Metro 2033 (DX11, low / medium) [fps] 24.3 / 21.6
Dark Void (DX11, low / medium) [fps] 40.4 / 37.8
Dirt Showdown (DX11, ultra low / medium) [fps] 66.5 / 32.4
Street Fighter 4 (DX11, low / high) [fps] 80.5 / 53.7
**Less is better

A timid recommendation

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Core i5 4670K can be recommended if you pay attention to the above statement. Simply put, if you have a computer that doesn’t need an upgrade, don’t even think about buying it. This is especially true if you have SandyBridge or IvyBridge-based CPU. Also, it makes sense to buy Haswell only if you’re buying a new PC due to the fact that it uses a new socket. In terms of performances, purchasing it would be justifiable only if you’re relying on an integrated GPU. On the other hand, those who rely only on Intel iGPUs, graphics performance probably don’t matter to them. All in all, a sensible question presents itself – what is the intended audience for Intel’s newest CPU? Probably those people that like to follow trends and that’s where the list ends.