Computex 2014: Intel Officially Releases Devil's Canyon, Core i7-4790K

Subject: Processors | June 3, 2014 - 02:30 AM |
Tagged: Intel, i7-4790k, devil's canyon, computex 2014, computex, 4790k

Back in March, we learned from Intel that they were planning to release a new Haswell refresh processor targeted at the overclocking and gaming market, code named Devil's Canyon. As we noted then, this new version of the existing processors will include new CPU packaging and the oft-requested improved thermal interface material (TIM). What wasn't known were the final clock speeds and availability time lines.

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The new Core i7-4790K processor will ship with a 4.0 GHz base clock with a maximum Turbo clock rate of 4.4 GHz! That is a 500 MHz increase in base clock speed over the Core i7-4770K and should result in a substantial (~10-15%) performance increase. The processor still supports HyperThreading for a total of 8 threads and is fully unlocked for even more clock speed improvements.

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All of the other specifications remain the same - HD Graphics 4600, 8MB of L3 cache, 16 lanes of PCI Express, etc.

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Intel spent some time on the Devil's Canyon Haswell processors to improve the packaging and thermals for overclockers and enthusiasts. The thermal interface material (TIM) that is between the top of the die and the heat spreader has been updated to a next-generation polymer TIM (NGPTIM). The change should improve cooling performance of all currently shipping cooling solutions (air or liquid) but it is still a question just HOW MUCH this change will actually matter. 

You can also tell from the photo comparison above that Intel has added capacitors to the back of the processor to "smooth" power delivery. This, combined with the NGPTIM should enable a bit more headroom for clock speeds with the Core i7-4790K.

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In fact, there are two Devil's Canyon processors being launched this month. The Core i7-4790K will sell for $339, the same price as the Core i7-4770K, while the Core i5-4690K will sell for $242. The lower end option is a 3.5 GHz base clock, 3.9 GHz Turbo clock quad-core CPU without HyperThreading. While a nice step over the Core i5-4670K, it's only 100 MHz faster. Clearly the Core i7-4790K is the part everyone is going to be scrambling to buy.

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Not to be left out, Intel is offering an unlocked Pentium processor for users on a tighter budget. This dual core CPU runs at 3.2 GHz base frequency and includes not just HD Graphics but support for QuickSync video. 

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At just $72, the Pentium G3258 will likely be a great choice for gamers that lean towards builds like the one we made for the Titanfall release.

I was hoping to have a processor in hand to run benchmarks and overclocking testing on, but they haven't quite made it to the office yet. The 4.0 GHz clock speed is easily emulated by any 4770K and some BIOS tweaks but the additional overclocking headroom provided by the changed thermal interface is still in question. Honestly, based on conversations with motherboard vendors, Devil's Canyon headroom is only 100-200 MHz over the base Haswell parts, so don't expect to reach 6.0 GHz all of the sudden.

Later in the week we'll have the Core i7-4790K in hand and you can expect a full review shortly thereafter.

June 3, 2014 | 07:36 AM - Posted by CB (not verified)

Will Devil's Canyon run on Z87?

I'm hoping so since both Haswell refresh and the new unlocked Pentium do.

June 3, 2014 | 07:48 AM - Posted by CB (not verified)

I guess they will. Just checked Asus's webpage for my motherboard and it list this for latest BIOS:

"Z87-C BIOS 2003
Enhance compatibility for new Anniversary Edition and Devil's Canyon CPU."

June 3, 2014 | 10:20 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

This is going to be dependent on the design of the Z87 motherboard and the vendors ability to update BIOS/UEFI for the new DC processors.

I do not believe ALL Z87 boards will be updated...

June 3, 2014 | 12:34 PM - Posted by HM (not verified)

I wonder if the "unsupported boards" will at least boot with this CPU with some kind of microcode related error? because it should be pretty much the same as any haswell otherwise!?

4790 seems pretty nice, even for the non OC crowd because of the high stock clock, and people always love cooler CPUs anyway...

and I'm very curious about the $72 unlocked Pentium, I didn't expect Intel to release it for such a reasonable price, but... at the end of the day you still need a Z board for that, which kind of defeats the purpose of a cheap CPU, if only they didn't block the H81-b85 overclock boards we had last year from Asrock and others...

June 3, 2014 | 05:29 PM - Posted by lolo (not verified)

We don't want a TIM ... we want to be soldered to IHS like Sandy Bridge ... pls ...

June 5, 2014 | 12:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This won't happen. With dies this small you can not solder them as they get damaged. Intel did not stop soldering because of trying to save money.

June 3, 2014 | 07:23 PM - Posted by Brett from Australia (not verified)

Thanks for the heads up Ryan on these new Intel CPU's. The numbers look impressive, will also be interested to see what performance you can get from Intel HD graphics 4600.

June 5, 2014 | 05:54 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The DEVIL...is in the details.

June 10, 2014 | 09:13 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

When is this released ? I want to pre order one

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