Intel Core i7-4790K Devil’s Canyon Processor Review

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Intel Devil’s Canyon Processors Arrive – Core i7-4790K

The Intel Core i7-4790K and Core i5-4690K are without a doubt the most anticipated processors to come to market for the LGA1150 platform since the first Haswell processors were released back in June 2013. Intel announced that they were going to be doing a Haswell Refresh in March and mentioned that they would be coming out with Devil’s Canyon.  Basically these are your typical K-Series unlocked 22nm Haswell parts, but they have been refined for enthusiasts that want the best processor possible for their Intel Z87 or Z97 plaform. What exactly does that mean?

NGPTIM

The Intel engineers wanted to bring the best Haswell processor possible to market, but they wanted to do something special for desktop enthusiasts. They heard the feedback about the thermal interface material being used on the ‘lid’ of the processor, so they changed the thermal interface material (TIM) that lies in between the die and the integrated heat spreader to improve it. Intel hasn’t said exactly what was done, but they did say that they are now using a Next generation Polymer Thermal Interface Material (NGPTIM) that will bring cooling improvements. They also added additional capacitors to smooth out power delivery to the die and that should allow for higher clock speeds and potentially better overclocking. 

 Intel Core i7-4790K CPU Clocks

The new Intel Core i7-4790K processor is a Quad-Core, 4.0GHz processor with 8MB of cache and Hyper-Threading, that ramps up to 4.4GHz with Intel Turbo Boost technology. The Core i7-4770K has a 3.5GHz base clock with a 3.9GHz Turbo Boost clock, so the 4790K has a 500MHz base and turbo clock advantage over the 4770K. This  means that you can expect about 14% higher performance just from that alone, so it looks like Intel is really trying to get the most out of Haswell with the final revision of it here with improved thermal performance, improved power delivery and higher clock speeds.

What do all these changes cost you? Not as much as you think…

Intel Devil's Canyon Pricing

Intel has interestingly priced the Core i7-4790K processor at $339.99 and the Core i5-4690K at $242 in quantities of 1000. This is the same suggested price for the Core i7-4770K and Core i5-4670K! It looks like Intel is trying to win the hearts of some enthusiasts with this pricing move. The standard Intel Core i7-4690 (3.6GHz/4.0GHz) is a locked part that runs $309.99 shipped, so for an extra $30 you are getting an unlocked processor that was cherry picked with better TIM on the die, more transistors for smoother power delivery and much higher clock speeds. If you are an enthusiast it looks like the Core i7-4790K is the LGA1150 processor to get, at least if you didn’t want to hold off for Broadwell to come before the holidays.

Intel Core i7-4970K and Core i7-4770K

Here is a look at the Intel Core i7-4770K (QE6S) on the left and the Intel Core i7-4790K (QG81) on the right.  From the top the processors look nearly identical, but Devil’s Canyon has some additional ‘dots’ on the top and bottom of the processor package that aren’t on the original 4770K.

Intel Core i7-4970K and Core i7-4770K Pins

Flipping the processors over you can see that the Intel Core i7-4790K has added capacitors that is said to smooth out the power delivery and help with overclocking performance.

intel-4970k-press-sample

Let’s take the Intel Core i7-4790K Devil’s Canyon Processor for a test drive on Intel Z97 test platform!

 

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  • She-Ra

    Basically devil’s canyon has the same overclocking scaling as the ivy bridge 3770K in both the I5 and I7 processors. Two generations news with a few more bells and whistles but the same OC cap as ivy. If you consider it comes in at 4ghz but only jumps to 4.5-4.7 which is the same as the 4770K. Essentially a chip that comes mildly overclocked which can be achieved in the 4770K with the exact same OC’d results. Obviously, that is the chip because of those added bells and whistles. The 22nm process is showing that it’s dated. Intel really needs some new silicon or something so they can hit 5ghz. PC gamers need the speed. They should also add a feature that uses internal graphics in tandem with PCI Express graphics cards. It’s really a simple solution adding integrated graphics. I am not talking about quick sync. I simply give intel ideas to revive their PC gaming market.

  • klepp0906

    Clock for clock they’re the exact same chip. So unless your convinced you can get an extra few hundred MHz out of a 4790 save your money.

    For me running a delidded watercooled haSwell at 4700mhz I can’t imagine (based on all results I’ve seen thus far) being able to attain a high enough overclock to make it worthwhile.

  • Kat

    I think the Intel Deviled Egg would be a better name…

  • anon

    I’d like to see this and the 4770k compared when they’re both overclocked as high as possible. “High as possible” depends on the sample of course, but I still think it’s more useful then comparing with stock speeds, since the 4790k’s is higher but at the expense of greater power draw and heat.

    • Thomas Dameron

      except that OCing a CPU as high as possible reduces its life to a few months and doesn’t give any useful information

      • anon

        I meant as high as reasonably achievable.

      • klepp0906

        It does?

      • dj3hac

        I ran an Intel E8500 @ 3.6ghz for years no problem at all, it’s still running in a dedicated server. It’s be going 24/7 at that speed for 6 or 7 years now.

  • Steven Kean

    Tempting upgrade from a 3570K…

  • Will Beams

    What the heck? 71c under load with a Corsair H105 Closed Loop Water Cooler??? Then how hot does the bloody thing get with an after market air cooler, let alone the stock cooler? Something doesn’t seem to be right here…

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Haswell has always been regarded as a fairly hot processor, so nothing out of the ordinary there! I actually thought that was low and was extremely happy with that. I used the latest version of Intel XTU and screen shots are in the review and everything was done more than once and was consistent.

    • Vinny

      they were using the integrated graphics that why it ran hotter….if you use a dedicated card it wouldn’t run so hot then :)

    • name

      I have the 4790k with an h110 and mine doesn’t go over 60C on a full load.

      • klepp0906

        Load it with IBT then and not Aida or something foo foo :p

        (Assuming your overclocked)

  • Coach

    Great review. I was very curious/anxious to read this. It’s selling at $279 at MicroCenter. VERY tempting! I want to see how the Broadwell’s do, but I’m sure they’re price point will be much higher.

  • OJ

    Hopefully some of the 4790ks do manage to hit 5GHz otherwise the extra features such as the smoothing caps and the thermal interface don’t achieve much. Although the the improvements lead me to assume that some 4790k chips should be more stable when clocked over 4.5Ghz.

    • Thomas Dameron

      umm, 500 MHz a core is actually a pretty good boost, especially considering that the 4770k was pretty shaky at anything over 4.3 GHz

      • Joe Joejoe

        And compared to AMD, a 500Mhz boost is more like a 4×1.5Ghz boost, especially when it’s on 4 cores rather than 8.

    • ricksanchez1

      I was disappointed they didn’t push the chip until it burned. If they ran all their tests, and more come along in a week, a $350 chip can’t be sacrificed for the point of testing?