Taking a look at the 3770K and the Z77, there are certainly some added benefits of going with them over the 2600K or 2700K. Looking at them price-wise... the 3770K is priced at $313 which puts it right in the same price slot as the 2600 and 2700K as well as the 3820. This enables you to decide which features are important to you and to buy the one that fits you most. If memory bandwidth is more important to you, go with the 3820. If you want the best value, go with the 3770K as it has HD4000 graphics and now supports USB 3.0 natively.
If you already own a Sandy Bridge processor, you would literally be upgrading for the added benefits of having native USB 3.0 and Intel's HD4000 as well as Lucid's Virtu MVP which is almost ubiquitous across all major Z77 motherboards. We do not believe that the 3770K delivers a good enough proposition for users who already own a Sandy Bridge family product to switch to Ivy Bridge if they are on a desktop. On laptops, there is still a strong argument for switching as a result of the lower power consumption.
Now, if you're looking for a brand new computer and want the fastest without spending many thousands of dollars, the 3770K and Z77 are certainly for you. They deliver all of the latest technologies at a pretty affordable price while keeping power consumption down and still leaving plenty of overclocking headroom (25%). So, in that sense, when you take the 3770K out of the context of all the other Intel processors and look at it from a new product aspect, it is really quite a good value especially when paired with a motherboard like the Z77X-UD3H.Conclusion
After having benchmarked the 3770K and compared it against its brothers and sisters from the Sandy Bridge family of processors it is fair to say that Ivy Bridge is without a doubt faster and that Ivy Bridge-E will once again take that performance level to the enthusiast and server platforms with added cache, cores, and memory bandwidth.
Even though we were able to overclock the processor to 4.9GHz we were still left a little disappointed that we were unable to attain 5GHz stable on the 3770K which we had hoped would be possible with the die shrink from 32nm to 22nm and all of the talk of improved power consumption and the like. If you own a Sandy Bridge processor and don't care about native USB 3.0 or PCIe gen 3.0 or the HD 4000 integrated graphics, then Ivy Bridge and the Z77 are not for you.
That said, we do believe that the Ivy Bridge processors are very well designed and positioned to do quite a bit of damage on the low-end of the desktop market and laptop/ultrabook sector. We find ourselves much more excited to see Ivy Bridge in Ultrabooks than we are in desktops and hopefully that will change with Ivy Bridge-E but we get a sense that desktop platform has been stale ever since AMD has stopped competing with Intel on the high end. We really hope that AMD is able to recapture some market share from Intel with Trinity and that they will be able to create more value for consumers and perhaps make Intel work a little more. Currently, though, Intel owns the performance segment and they have closed the gap between themselves and AMD when it comes to integrated graphics performance.
Expect to see more Ivy bridge coverage from us including mini-ITX systems and boards as we explore the smaller form factors for big computing. In our opinion, Mini-ITX is the most exciting form factor for Ivy Bridge because of its performance and power consumption combined with the relatively small form factor. We are really excited about the mini-ITX space and look forward to bringing more coverage about Mini-ITX Ivy Bridge systems soon.
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