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


In early May, Intel released a new revision of its current Haswell architecture to support new chipsets Series 9. Called "Haswell Refresh" came to slightly improve in the fourth generation of Intel Core processors, adding a slight speed increase, in order to renew the​​ existing processor´s family. However, none of these processors belong to K range, i.e., those chips with unlocked multiplier designed for the more enthusiastic users who want squeeze the most of their processors.

Intel Core i7-4790K  

Now, almost two months later, coming on the market called Devil’s Canyon, the expected Haswell- R processors with unlocked multiplier and some more surprises. We talk about Intel Core i7-4790K and Core i5-4690K, both models use LGA 1150 socket, and although were initially expected to be only compatible with motherboards with chipset Z97, finally it is possible to use with mother boards based on Intel chipsets Series 8.

In the same way, in order to make a good use of the blocked multiplier, we will need a motherboard with a Z series chipset, however, as it already happened in the past, some manufacturers are jumping this limitation with BIOS updates, allowing overclock on other boards initially not intended for it.

Intel Core i7-4790K

Improvements and innovations of Devil’s Canyon.

When Intel introduced the third generation of Intel Core processors, Ivy Bridge, decided to change the system union of the internal chip with IHS (Integrated Heat Spreader) from previous families, so if Sandy Bridge embed an internal weld that served as thermal bonding between the chip and the HIS, from then Ivy Bridge decided to use a thermal past that offered wore results in terms of heat transfer.

Intel Core i7-4790K

Now, one of the innovations of this Devil’s Canyon is the introduction of an improved system polymer-based thermal interface, which connects the chip with the housing, so the thermal conductivity of the processor system gets better. Besides, new capacitors have been added at the back to smooth the power delivery to the chip. All this together helps improve the internal temperatures of the processor, something that redound in the overclocking possibilities and a bigger presence of Turbo Boost 2.0, improving the overall processor performance.

Intel Core i7-4790K

Here we can see the highest number of capacitors Devil’s Canyon (left), compared to the previous Haswell K (right)

These innovations, together with an increase in speed of 100 MHz in the case of Core i5-4690K and a more generous 500 MHz for Core i7-4790K, are what characterize the new Devil’s Canyon.

Intel Core i7-4790K. Features and specifications.

We have before us the most powerful Intel processor, with permission from the CPU of enthusiast range LGA 2011, with a top working speed to all that has launched the company until now; something that, together with the Haswell architecture with higher IPC (instructions per cycle) of the domestic market, makes the Core i7-4790K in a whole wonder and in a processor to consider for those seeking a high performance (the maximum possible) within the LGA 1150 platform.

Intel Core i7-4790K

While it seems that in recent years, after the appearance of the first multi-core processors, we have forgotten the ancient wars of the MHz and the Pentium 4, we must not forget that core i7-4790k is the first processor to reach 4 GHz base within the catalog of Intel chips, that actually reaches 4.4 GHz when comes into operation the turbo Boost 2.0 technology.

Intel Core i7-4790K

The most powerful Intel processor for the LGA 1150 platform offers 4 cores, resulting in 8 threads, thanks to the Hyperthreading technology, working at the mentioned speeds of 4.0 GHz in standard way and 4.4 GHz with turbo Boost. Is accompanied by 8 MB L3 cache and integrated Intel HD 4600 GPU with an operating speed of 1250 MHz.

The integrated memory controller remains with no changes, supporting dual-channel DDR3-1600. Also remain unchanged its 16 PCI-Express 2.0 lanes. Its TDP is 88W, " we won" 4 W compared to Core i7-4770K in return for more than 500 MHz of native speed, certainly in this aspect Intel has done a great job.

Intel Core i7-4790K

In the other hand, it maintains the characteristics of those already honed his predecessor in the Haswell architecture: a manufacturing process with 22 nanometer 3D Tri-Gate transistors, about 1,400,000,000 billion transistors on a die of 177 square millimeters, with integrated voltage regulators on the chip for a better energy efficiency.

Intel Core i7-4790K

Test Equipment.

Like every processor with Intel´s K tag, the Core i7-4790K comes with unlocked multiplier, and this is for nothing but to vary its speed easily. Let’s see what he can do.

To accomplish performance testings escorting the Intel Core i7-4790K, we have a motherboard MSI Z97 Gaming 7, two modules of 4 GB RAM Corsair Vengeance Pro 2133 MHz and a liquid cooling system integrated, the Thermaltake Water 3.0. More read: Gigabyte Z97x Gaming G1 Review

Intel Core i7-4790K

Serial speeds.

There is no doubt that we are in front of the latest Intel´s effort to satisfy the overclock´s enthusiasts. We already have mentioned the problems that arose in the wake of Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridgde, it seems that Intel has listened to the user community of its processors and has decided to take a big step in the right direction.

Definitely we have to note that we are in front of a processor that maintaining the same architecture based on improvements, get to increase 500 MHz operating frequency over its predecessor, the Core i7-4770K. This amount is really significant and is able to increase both the base frequency and turbo mode, we exceed a velocity of 3.5 / 3.9 GHz 4770K to 4.0 / 4.4 GHz of this 4790K. This way, without need of hold the overclock we already have a major jump in performance, and most importantly, maintaining a virtually identical use and all states of energy introduced with the efficient Haswell architecture.

Intel Core i7-4790K CPU-Z


We have sought a moderate overclock that anyone with a little patience can get into their house without advanced refrigeration systems, indeed the Water 3.0 we have used has a unique single radiator, with a similar performance to cooler air of some range. This means that the voltage used is always attempted to keep within (about 1.36 v max) recommended range and maintaining temperatures of acceptable CPU cores, which don´t exceed 60-70 degrees with the Intensive PC use. We have also decided to maintain the HiperThreading activated and the saving systems and processor technologies powered, as we seek a usable overclock 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


With these premises, Core i7-4790k is able to reach 4.8 GHz stably for a conventional use, with games, multimedia tasks and a general use of the operative system. If you seek maximum stability, including demanding tests that put the processor in almost impossible loads with a normal use, then we will need to go down to 4.7 GHz, always maintaining that range of voltages and temperatures that we discussed.

Naturally, skipping those premises and refining much more the board, deactivating some options and raising more the voltage, the 4790K reaches 4.9 GHz stably, and even 5 GHz for specific test. But here we talked about punctual overclocks that few people will keep constantly on their computers and that require advanced cooling systems to keep safely. Neither should we forget that each processor is different, and within the same model we can come up with some model more or less lazy at the time of increase their speeds above normal.

In a word, there is a slight improvement over the previous Haswell, specifically regarding to the 4770K, however it is not a processor aimed at breaking overclock records, at least not with conventional cooling systems. In this sense, the Sandy Bridge get a higher speed without problems, yet, are talking about an architecture with some time on the market, and with a performance clearly inferior to this Core i7-4790K. It´s possible that those who seek the maximum speed at all costs stay with the thorn stuck, but in terms of pure performance there is nothing to scold to this processor.


Next, we will show you several tests to which we submitted this processor, including different overclock speeds.

Performance Test.

We have submitted Intel Core I7-4790K to many performance pure processor tests, in order to see what it can and be able to compare it with other chips on the market, from test who measure the performance of its 4 cores and 8 threads, such as the cinebench, to reference test where only measured the performance of each core.

An aspect to stand out in this processor is that with the serial speeds and with the cooling that we had used, is able to keep the turbo mode in 4.4 GHz without any reduction in the speed of any core, even when we perform the test that use the 8 threads of the processor like Cinebench, the Core i7-4790K has remained at 4.4 GHz without any hint of faltering, certainly a plus point in which possibly most notice the improvements integrated in Devil’s Canyon family.

SiSofware Sandra 2014.

Intel Core i7-4790K Test

Cinebench R11.5.

Intel Core i7-4790K Test

Cinebench R15.

Intel Core i7-4790K Test

Super Pi 1M

Intel Core i7-4790K Test

The results are as expected, with a performance at the same speed, much like the Core i7-4770K. Enhance, as already mentioned above, in its performance at serial´s speeds thanks to those 4,400 MHz which is able to reach without any problem or overclock.

Analysis and conclusion.

The new Devil’s Canyon are a small step in the evolution of the range of Intel processors. As already has happened in the last families of the company chips, is not a major jump in the performance: the architecture is the same, and the performance per cycle remains, the highest in the market, but remains, and neither we get results that make us jump with excitement with the overclock, but, in the case of the i7-4790K, we have all the improvements that Haswell architecture introduced a year ago, especially those focused on improved energy efficiency, with an considerable speed increase, that make this chip stand out from its predecessor just taking it out of its box.

All those who are looking to squeeze even more this architecture, may do so without much trouble, as we have seen, to about 4.8 GHz with conventional air cooling systems or RL preassembled and maybe something more with serious liquid coolings.

However, with this processor takes place a curious situation: it´s about a chip with unlocked multiplier of the K series, however, where we saw the greatest potential is in its use as it comes standard with these 4.0 GHz and these 4.4 GHz Turbo Boost which is able to hold in most situations in its 4 cores and 8 threads. This certainly makes it more interesting for those who are looking for a high performance processor, even those without any plans to overclock their processor.

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