Devil's Canyon: Intel Core i7-4790K OC'ing and Review

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Intel has been slowly releasing information about its Devil’s Canyon processors for a few months now. If you’ve been on top of the processor scene, you probably know that Devil’s Canyon is the codename for a new revision of Intel’s 4th Gen Core processors, based on the Haswell microarchitecture, that features a high performance polymer thermal interface material (TIM) and updated packaging materials, in addition to an array of additional capacitors to smooth power delivery to the core.

Devil’s Canyon’s updates are designed to resolve some thermal and overclocking related issues that were first introduced into Intel’s processor line-up with Ivy Bridge. If you recall, Intel started using a lower-performing thermal interface material between Ivy Bridge chips and their integrated heat spreaders that resulted in higher temperatures under load versus Sandy Bridge. Further compounding the issue, Intel moved Haswell's voltage regulator on-die, which created an additional hot spot on the processor itself. When overclocking, increased frequencies and higher voltages pushed temperatures up significantly with the Fully Integrated Voltage Regulator, or FIVR as it’s known.

The Devil’s Canyon details Intel had strategically released up until a few days ago was all high-level information and lacked specifics about particular model numbers, pricing, and performance. On June 3, however, Intel made all of the juicy details public and a soon thereafter we got our hands on the company’s current flagship Devil’s Canyon based processor, the Core i7-4790K. And today, we can finally give you the full scoop...

Belly Of The Beast: The Underside Of A Core i7-4790K

Intel Core i7-4790K Devil's Canyon Processor
Specifications & Features

Find The Intel Core i7-4790K @


The Core i7-4790K’s main features and specifications are listed in the chart above. The processor features four cores, but thanks to Intel’s Hyper Threading technology, it can process eight threads. It also has a base clock of 4.0GHz—the highest base-clock of any Intel processor to date—support for Intel’s Turbo Boost technology, which can crank clock up to 4.4GHz on all cores simultaneously, 8MB of cache memory, and 16 integrated PCIe 3.0 lanes. The Core i7-4790K is also outfitted with Intel’s HD 4600 series graphics engine (clocked at 1250MHz), and like all other “K-SKUs”, the processor is fully unlocked for easy overclocking. Save for its frequencies (and the updates made to Devil’s Canyon mentioned in the intro), the Core i7-4790K is similar to previous Haswell-based processors, like the Core i7-4770K.

Core i7-4770K (left), Core i7-4790K "Devil's Canyon" (right)

As we’ve already mentioned, Devil’s Canyon processors like the Core i7-4790K feature additional capacitors to help smooth power delivery to the die. Smoother, more consistent, and reliable power delivery to the processor should help stability under load, while overclocking, and could potentially help push its ultimate top-end frequency somewhat higher. The additional capacitors are visible in the picture above; that’s the underside of a Core i7-4770K on the left, the Core i7-4790K is on the right.

The processors are the same size, are also compatible with the same cooling solutions, and they work in the same LGA 1150 socket as well. With Devil’s Canyon, however, you may need a newer Intel 9 series chipset-based motherboard, like the recently released Z97X, though some motherboard manufacturers are planning to support the processors on high-end 8-series chipset motherboards as well.

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lipe123 6 months ago

No power consumption comparsion to 4770k (and the rest)?

marco c 6 months ago

@Lipe123 – Unfortunately, not yet. At least, I don’t have numbers I was comfortable putting in the article. My particular sample appears to have a problem with its IGP, so I’m not certain all parts of the chip are lighting up. The CPU behaves properly, but I couldn’t do any testing with the IGP enabled. I’m in contact with Intel though, and hope to have a replacement soon.

With that said, I do have some numbers I’ll share here. These MAY and likely WILL change if I get a replacement sample. With a discrete GPU installed, the system idles at 72 watts. And under 100% CPU load, it peaks at 159 watts. The numbers from my 4770K review are here:

With this particular sample (and in this newer Z97 mobo), DC’s power characteristics seem a little better then initial Haswells, but I can’t say for sure until I play with a perfectly working sample. Not a perfect answer, but I hope that’s helpful.

acarzt 6 months ago

Soooooo what i'm hearing is... if you already have a 4770k, it's not worth the upgrade....

marco c 6 months ago

Not unless you get top-dollar for your 4770K and it's a cheap upgrade. The 4790K is clearly faster, though.

mike coyne 6 months ago

Great reviews on new Intel Devil's Canyon i7 4790K. It was bit different and brand new CPU. It was impressed that it can overclocked to 4.80 GHz on air cooling. I wish i should get this and cheap price than I9 4960X. I got Intel i7 4960X bit over 1 month ago. It still fastest CPU in my PC. As I said, Nice reviews and good read about new i7 4790K. I enjoyed to get know about new technology on Intel processor.. I have been use Intel CPU for many years and am fan of Intel.

Realneil 6 months ago

It is a good CPU.

The i5-4690K is very intriguing though,.......I may be able to afford that,...............

rapid1 6 months ago

Strange the 4770K beats it in aggregate multimedia performance by a noticeable amount you would think that would be it's best area's of performance. I think I will wait for the next round personally my 4770K is doing just fine although it is tempting. I have a brand new at the time of purchase (less than a year ago) ASUS MB that will update so I could run it but I would only do it if I got relatively within 50 dollars of the price selling my 4770 K which it would seem to be at least to me not possible with this one being available for the same retail price.

BigKihd 5 months ago

This would be great to have, although I am fine with stock speeds.

BadSeed27 5 months ago

A little disappointed to put it mildly.  There was sooo much hype around this and the enthusiast community started believing we would see MUCH bigger overclocks.  Looks like I'll hold out and put a Broadwell on my christmas list instead.

nfs3freak 5 months ago

Looking forward to more info on this cpu. I'm still on the i7-3770k and see no need to upgrade but I'm curious how this compares to mine.

RafyCell 4 months ago

i wish i could buy one of this by the end of the year .

or should i wait for ddr 4 ?

altshep123 4 months ago

Now you all have me torn... I was seeing awesome reviews everywhere for this CPU.  My goal is to be able to game hard if I want to, overclock because I can and tinker with video production.  Are there better options out there with these goals in mind, at the same price?

nfs3freak 4 months ago

Great review! Looks like I'm still gonna hold out until the next generation of Intel chips even though I have an i7-3770k

MADSKILLZ412 4 months ago

It's a much better choice than the i7 4770k which is at a similar price, but it doesn't necessarily perform better. It is clocked much higher, but if they are at the same clock speed they perform almost exactly the same. Still an awesome upgrade an overall great chip.

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