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Test Specs and Methodology


Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz
(3.7 to 3.9GHz Turbo)

Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz (3.7 to 3.9GHz Turbo)

Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4GHz
(3.4 to 3.8GHz Turbo)


Intel DZ87KLT-75K
BIOS KLZ8711D.86A.0334

ASUS P8Z77-V Pro
BIOS 1908

ASRock Z68 Professional Fatality Gen3


8 GB - 2x 4GB Corsair Vengeance
DDR3-2400 C10 CMZ16GX3M4A2400C10

4 GB - 2x 2GB Kingston HyperX
Genesis DDR3-2133 CL9


Cooler Master Hyper TX3

Intel Boxed



Gigabyte NVIDIA GTX460OC 1GB

System Drive

KINGSTON HyperX SH100S3120G 120GB SATA 6Gbit/s Solid State Drive

Aux Drives

Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 3.5" 3TB SATA
Seagate Backup Plus 1TB 2.5" External USB 3.0
WD My Book 3.0 2TB 3.5" External USB 3.0



Corsair Vengeance C70 Mid Tower

Cooler Master CM STORM
Enforcer Mid Tower


FSP 'Aurum Series' AU-750M 750 Watts Power Supply


DELL Ultrasharp U2412M 24" LED backlit LCD Monitor

Operating System

MICROSOFT Windows 7 Ultimate Service Pack 1 64bit
May 2013 updates and Internet Explorer 10

Graphics Driver

NVIDIA GeForce 314.22


Storage Driver

Intel Rapid Storage 12.5

Intel Rapid Storage 11.7


The aim of our initial launch review of Haswell is to determine what advantages the new platform (CPU and Chipset) provide over the previous generation if we exclude the integrated graphics and rely on a baseline add in graphics card, a GeForce GTX460.

Overclocking and Integrated graphics we will cover in a follow-up review.

We selected the Corsair C70 case and 2400 RAM for their value proposition. The C70 offers excellent cooling with its three bundled fans with option for more and is enthusiast friendly. The RAM kit is an affordable entry point for high speed memory and Haswell/Z87 is able to utilise these speeds more effectively than older generations

Corsair C70 Haswell build

Corsair C70 Haswell build

Corsair C70 Haswell build

Corsair Vengeance DDR3-2400 Quad Channel Memory Kit

Corsair Vengeance DDR3-2400 Quad Channel Memory Kit

The motherboard supplied as part of the Intel Haswell Review Kit is a pre-production sample and during our testing we experienced some cold boot issues. The board's watchdog feature would unnecessarily fire on POST and shut the system down or power on failed randomly. Disabling the watchdog feature fixed most but not all issues.

DZ87KLT-75K and i7-4770K

However the overall stability of the board was correct. Performance was down a few % due to the early BIOS and PCB compared to the Retail ASUS Z77 board for Ivy Bridge. In many tests, Z87 was slower than Z77 in pure graphics performance. The board is included for the purposes of running tests on Haswell and we will not focus on it in this specific review.

Our original aim was to test both Ivy Bridge and Haswell with 4 DIMM of 2400 DDR3 as per our Corsair Memory kit to show the strength of both chips memory controller. However the Haswell review kit has a documented errata where 4 DIMM of 2400 or above would cause the CPU speed to drop by 100MHz overall. We therefore tested with only 8GB/2 DIMM in both Haswell and Ivy Bridge

Limited time with the review kit meant we could not do a deep-dive into SATA and USB performance. Basic checks were performed for the USB 3.0 sleep issue and C6/C7 sleep states issue.

For the Intel 'Kinsley' board, the official fix for the USB3 sleep issue is to disable power management on both USB 3 hubs used on the board in windows settings.

Additionally, Kinsley ships with C6/C7 CPU power states off by default as do most other third party boards. Desktop Haswell chips only utilise C7, Intel advised us mobile chips feature up to C10 CPU power state.

We adjusted the following BIOS settings from their defaults.

  • Disable watchdog
  • Disable boot sound
  • Disable network boot
  • Disable UEFI boot
  • Change cooling to balanced
  • Change memory to XMP

The SSD in our machines under test uses the SandForce SF-2281 controller which suffers from poor random I/O performance as well as severe performance degradation especially when the drive fills up.

The Trim feature in SSDs only clears deleted LBAs, it does not reallocate (De-fragment) fragmented files not does it defragment free space. Sequential and Random performance suffers when the drive is in such a 'dirty' condition especially when many write and deletes have been performed on the drive.

Our 120GB Kingston-Sandforce SSD delivers worst case performance of 470 Sequential Read/Write and 160MB/s Random Read. Best case is over 500MB sequential read/write and 220MB/s Random read.

One way to clean the drive up is to delete the partitions before re-imaging the drive. This way the whole drive is 'Trimmed' and cleans for imaging.

The natural actions of running disk intensive tests and installing applications to the test drive degrades it down from the clean state. Suites which incorporate disk tests such as PCMark or Passmark are affected by the different performance.

It is not a real-world use if we cleaned the drive up between each individual test. Not only would it wear the drive out, but the typical user expects dynamic performance from their new SSD

Older benchmarks such as 3DMark2001 are included for legacy comparisons.

Apps and Settings



Test Settings

Alien V Predator

Aliens vs. Predator D3D11 Benchmark V1.03

Texture Quality 3, Shadow Quality 3, Anisotropic 16, SSAO 1, Tessellation 1, Advanced Shadows 1, MSAA 4

Batman Arkham City


DX11:MVSS & HBAO, High Tesselation, Very High Detail, All details on, Normal Physx

DX9:No Dx11, High , No Physx

Bioshock Infinite

Pre-sets Selected via benchmark menu


2.67 build 57131






1920x1200, Game Preset

Cyberlink MediaEspresso


Both Hardware Encoding and Decoding Enabled for GPU, disabled for CPU

Deus Ex Human Revolution


1920x1200, MLAA, 16x AF, Soft Shadows, High SSAO, High DOF, Triple Buffering, Post Processing, Tessellation

Dirt2 / Dirt 3

1.1 / 1.2

1920x1200, Ultra Pre-set, 4x MSAA

Futuremark Benchmarks

All patched to latest versions


Grand Theft Auto IV

Title Update 7

1920x1200, Maximum details, 16x AFX, Detail distances 50,50,100, -norestrictions switch used if necessary


Quicksync: Nighty Build svn5466, OpenCL: 5476





Just Cause 2


1920x1200, Maximum Details on NVIDIA, 4x AA, 16x AF.



Lost Planet 2


1920x1200, Maximum Details Including Motion Blur, 4x AA. DirectX 11 Mode.

Metro 2033


DX11:Very High Quality,Tesselation,DOF ENABLED




Resident Evil 5


1920x1200, Maximum Details Including Motion Blur, 4x AA. DirectX 10 mode


SPECviewperf 11

1920x1200 , 4x AA enabled

Street Fighter IV


1920x1200, Maximum Details except Ink,4x AA, 16x AF

Total War: SHOGUN 2


All Ultra,MLAA, Soft Shadows, Tesselation, HDR,SSAO

Trackmania Nations Forever


1920x1200, VHQ Pre-set, 4x AA 16x AF



Game pre-sets

World In Conflict

Demo 1.0

1920x1200, Maximum Details, 4x AA, 16x AF. DirectX 10 Mode