Gamer PC CPU is the Intel Core i5-3570K as best value

The other big trend at the recent Intel Developer Forum (IDF) are small computers, they are doing and as Tom’s Hardware’s Buying Guide notes. The net is that you want a good tradeoff, it is to get the Core i5-3570K for $225 which is only 100Mhz slower than the Core i7-3770K. You don’t get the fancy onboard graphics in the HD4000, but you don’t use that when you are gaming anyway and the slight processor speed difference doesn’t matter much since both are “k” which means they are unlocked. The only place where it might matter are highly threaded applications like video or photo editing. For gaming at most it is a few percent of performance and the GPU is much more important.

  • Next Unit of Computing (now that is a terrifically imaginative name). This is a $400 system that has a Core i3 and everything else in a 4″x4″ board. Wow.
  • Haswell is their next generation architecture. It has an integrated GPU for mobile. Not great if you have a dedicated GPU and want the max framerate but the shape of ordinary computing to come
  • Core i3. These are the low end chips that use 22nm technology
  • AMD Liano. If you want to be counter cultural, you get an AMD chip with 
  • Intel CPU Lineup 2012 shows the sweet spot looks like the new Ivy Bridge with new 22nm technology using 77W is about the best in terms of price performance. The older chips were Nehalems. It shows that until you get to the $500 CPUs, performance doesn’t increase all that much. So the 3470 is not a bad chip at the price given it costs $184 for 31.3 FPS vs. 41 fps for $332 for the 3770K. If you want to spend $1K for your chips, then frame rates really jumpt to over 50. As an aside, the big difference is the onboard graphics system. The 3470 uses the HD2500 (6 execution units) vs the HD4000 (16 execution units), but of course that doesn’t matter a lot if you are using a separate dedicated GPU. With Metro 2033 that uses DX11 and really pushes, it turns out that the onboard HD4000 is about 2x faster than the HD2500 based chips. Again this only matters if you don’t have a dedicated GPU. Basically, the 77W parts are the latest Ivy Bridge parts and there are two Ks which means overclockable for enthusiasts. Architecturally the Ks don’t get VT and other virtual machine features and the Core i7 get hyperthreading but the i5 does not. Not sure this matters much in games, but that is how the specs are done.
  • Ivy Bridge detailed analysis. Show show the i7-3770K is probably the ideal chip right now the heavy duty gamer with low poer and also good performance at a decent price. What does that means, well for a modest increase in voltage of 140mV, you can get to an amazing 4.4GHz overclock. Motherboard wise, you need a Z75 or Z77 motherboard to allow overclocking. That chipset as an aside allows up to three independent displays! An enthusiasts as an aside wants a Z77 because it allows you to cached your hard disk with SSD. Besides the die shrink, Intel unusually improved the GPU going from 12 EUs to 16EUs in the HD4000s. The Ivy Bridge chips don’t overclock as well because they are 40% smaller and when you ramp the voltage that means you have to dissipate the same amount of heat in a much smaller chip if you must know technically what is happening. 
Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz 4 / 8 8MB 3.9GHz 4000 77W $332
Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz 4 / 8 8MB 3.9GHz 4000 77W $294
Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz 4 / 4 6MB 3.8GHz 4000 77W $225
Intel Core i5-3550 3.3GHz 4 / 4 6MB 3.7GHz 2500 77W $205
Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz 4 / 4 6MB 3.6GHz 2500 77W

$184

  • Benchmark-wise, the Sysmark shows that the normally clocked i7-3370K is at 228  which is pretty amazing given the $1K processors of the previous Ivy Bridge (3960K and 3930K) are at 238 and 241. And the integrated HD4000 processor is pretty darn fast at 102fps on Metro 2033.
  • However a dedicated GPU is still going to be much faster so an Nvidia GeForce GT440 runs at 58.2 vs 37.2 for the onboard i7-3770K’s HD4000 with Battlefield 3. and similarly with Crysis 106.6 vs 61.9.

There is a graphics heavy system build at Tom’s Hardware. The review is a little strange since it posts a different final configuration on the first page, but it is a pretty good comparison that shows you’d rather get a pair of GTX670s than spend more for a 3970 processor vs a 3570K. 

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