32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
The best CPU on the market for the price,
As part of a new build, I was debating whether or not it was worth investing in the new Haswell CPUs or whether just to go with the tried and tested third generation. I decided to go with Haswell and I can't say I'm disappointed.
My previous build had a Phenom II, which whilst good in its day was really starting to show its age. The difference between this and the Phenom was night and day, and is everything you'd expect from an i5. Performance compared to previous generations isn't hugely improved (~10% increase at most), but then 10% is better than no improvement at all. The stock cooler is actually fairly decent when I tried it out, although I was getting 70c on load which was a little bit too hot for my liking. Installing an aftermarket cooler (Evo 212 in my case) reduced this to around 55c on load, which is obviously a much nicer number. While heat isn't an issue, it does run quite hot (and can run pretty hot as the Tj Max is rather high on these), so don't be too alarmed if you're hitting pretty high temperatures. Haswell seems to run a tad hotter, but it's not by much.
Installation is as easy as any other CPU, however when putting the clamp down from the motherboard I did really have to force it down, almost to the point where I thought I was breaking it. It even left a small scuff mark on the metal casing on top of the CPU. However this is normal and so don't be alarmed if this happens, it needs to be secured tightly. Apart from that it's pretty much just a standard installation, fairly straightforward (and of course also comes with an included Intel sticker, lovely!).
Buying the K variant allows overclocking (as it's unlocked), and therefore is as easy as raising the CPU multiplier in the BIOS. You can then mess around with all the other settings if you're going for gold with your overclock (such as voltages and the clock speed), but if you're just looking for a mild to standard overclock then it really is as easy as it sounds. Some extreme overclockers have reported that the Haswell line isn't quite as good for overclocking as the older generations, but for the majority of people who just want to overclock to ~4GHz or less, then you won't have any issues. Just watch your temperatures, and also bear in mind that it's fairly common for one core to run 3-8c hotter than the rest.
As it's a new socket type and there are no revolutionary new features, it's admittedly probably not worth the upgrade if you already own a Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge CPU. However if you're doing a new build or are looking to upgrade from an older CPU, then it's definitely worth investing in a 1150 socket motherboard and getting the Haswell line for roughly the same price as previous generations. A ~10% performance increase is always welcome and you're future proofing yourself a lot more for the next Intel releases. Unless you do heavy video editing, rendering or modelling, you won't benefit from the i7's multitasking capabilities, and so this CPU is currently the top of the line for the price for gamers and power users alike.