The Intel Core i7-4790K Devil’s Canyon processor was impressive when it came to performance it shows off the true power of the Haswell architecture. The 500MHz clock speed increase at both the base and Turbo clock speeds is much more than your traditional Intel speed bump of 100-200MHz if that. This processor takes Haswell to the next level and really raises the bar once again. We saw performance increases of about 12-13% on many of the heavily threaded CPU benchmarks when compared to the Core i7-4770K, so if you care about performance the 4790K is certainly the chip to go with.
The one downside to that extra 500MHz clock boost across the board is that the TDP is higher and that means the power consumption is also up at both idle and load. At an idle we found the 4790K used about 4 Watts more power than the 4770K, but at load we were seeing 29 Watts more being used. We weren’t expecting to see 24% higher power needs at load, but it looks like the 14% higher clock speeds come at a cost and that is power consumption.
When it comes to thermal performance we did see some significant changes on the CPU temperature side thanks to the changed thermal paste. We doubted the results the first time around and re-did the thermal paste and reseated the CPU cooler on both processors a number of times to ensure the thermal paste was applied evenly and equally to both processors. The results stayed with a degree or two at most, which is right what we expected to see as our test room does heat up a degree or two at times due to outside temperatures and how many systems are running at once. The Next-Generation Polymer Thermal Interface Material (NGPTIM) Intel us using on both Devil’s Canyon processors defintatly works, so we hope that they continue using it down the road on all of the Broadwell processors or at least the K-series once again.
Overclocking performance was a little disappointing. There was a ton of hype around Devil’s Canyon and many were hoping to use that 50 multiplier to get to 5.0GHz with a good water cooling setup. We were able to get into Windows at 4.9GHz, but it wasn’t stable and we had to dial it all the way down to 4.7GHz to get it 100% rock solid. We have several Intel Core i7-4770K processors that can hit 4.7GHz with ease and even one that can do 4.8GHz, so we had Haswell processors that can reach this speed since June 2013. That said, the Core i7-4790K runs cooler at those speeds and that is important to many people.
Right now the Intel Core i7-4970K is available to pre-order for $339.99 Shipped at Amazon. The estimated ship date for the first batch of processors is June 20th and we expect that the initial batch will go quickly. Devil’s Canyon will not be a limited edition processor, so Intel will make as many as they need to in order to fulfill demand. We know Intel has been culling chips for months now, so it will be interesting to see how the retail processors perform compared to the engineering samples that were sent to media. We will also be very curious to see if the initial batch of processors overclock really well at the initial launch or if the results will be similar months down the road. Regardless, we like Devil’s Canyon and the Core i7-4790K was a breeze to use on the ASUS Z97-A motherboard. We just popped the 4790K into a budget friendly $143.99 motherboard and had it up and running at 4.7GHz by just changing the multiplier. It doesn’t get much easier than that and we hope that the retail chips will overclock just as easy!
Legit Bottom Line: The Intel Core i7-4790K is as good as Haswell is going to get and it is the enthusiast processor to get for any Z87 or Z97 motherboard!