Given that the new Ivy Bridge based processors use the existing Socket 1155 motherboards it should come as no surprise that they look near identical to the Core range with the metal heatspreader on the top. Two grooves are cut in the side of the CPU PCB to assist in placing it correctly on the motherboard and the standard metal clamp holds them in place. On the underside we have the socket 1155 pin layout.
The i7-3770K processor is a 22nm part that runs at 3.5GHz as standard. This clock speed is achieved via a 100MHz bus and 35x multiplier (unlocked) and we have four cores on this CPU with Hyper-Threading which gives the processor the ability to run 8 threads at any one time. Cache levels are similar to previous i7 socket 1155 CPUs with 4x32Kbytes of L1 data and instruction, 4x256Kbytes of L2 and 8MB of L3.
As with the last generation the Ivy Bridge i7 features Turbo Boost technology which varies the speed of the cores dependant on the workload with the 3770K hitting a maximum of 3.9GHz when available.
One of the key differences in the design and manufacturing of the new CPUs is the use of "3D" or Trigate Transistors which allow Intel to pack more into a smaller space than the previous generation with minimal increase in cost and a reduction in power use. The other key difference is the inclusion of a new GPU within the range. Previous Sandy Bridge i7 models included a DirectX 10 compatible Intel HD 3000 based GPU; with the Ivy Bridge processors we get a bundled HD 4000 part with support for DirectX 11 and featuring a maximum clock speed of 1150MHz. Intel have also ensured that key features such as HDMI 1.4/Blu-Ray 3D are supported by these new processors and also offer GPU computing enhancements.
In recent months we have taken a look at a number of Z97 boards, including Gigabytes exceptional Z97X- Gaming G1 WIFI-BK and their more affordable, mainstream Z97X-Gaming 5. Of course when it comes to motherboards there are many needs and budgets which require solutions and so as with their...