Intel Core i7-3770K CPU review
Easily the best Ivy Bridge chip you can buy
Some chips achieve greatness. Others are born into it. From the moment the i7-3770K was announced, it was clear it was going to be the most desirable choice for the discerning Ivy Bridge user. Its four cores, 3.5GHz clock and 8MB of cache give it supremely high-end specs for a desktop system, and the technology to match: its Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU is more than capable of handling both multimedia and plenty of recent games (with graphics settings turned down, at least).
The only problems seen on the 3770K are those that exist with Ivy Bridge as a whole: as a die-shrink of Sandy Bridge, there's not a huge amount to impress you except for its slightly improved graphics and better power efficiency. If you're coming from a high-end Sandy Bridge chip, you're not going to find much of an improvement here.
However, if you're on anything substantially slower, the 3770K will look as impressive in your system as it does on paper. As those who understand the serial number can tell, the 3770K is the multiplier-unlocked version of the 3770, which is around £15 cheaper but lacks the capacity for overclocking. Considering that the ability to overclock Sandy and Ivy Bridge CPUs is part of what has given them their reputation, buying the locked version is an error you may come to regret, especially over such a small amount as £15.
Not that price is a problem; as it happens, the 3770K is actually one of the best value chips in Intel's line. It's a little more expensive than the chips that perform closest to it, but with only £30 between it and the older i7-2700K, it's worth spending the extra money for the technology, even if it's not substantially better performance-wise.
Indeed, we can only think of one reason not to buy the 3770K, and that's the fact that it's the best LGA1155 chip on the market right now, so unless (and until) a better one comes out, you'll be left with nowhere else to go!
• Price: £256.88
• Socket: LGA1155
• Clock speed: 3.5GHz
• Cache: L3/8MB
• Process: 22nm