Intel Core i7-4790K Haswell Refresh “Devil’s Canyon” Processor Review
The Intel i7-4790K is a great processor from its speed to its handling of heat through the new interface material for added efficiency in the newer builds of systems for potential buyers. While there is no reason to toss your i7-4770K in the garbage, the i7-4790K is better than the former in every way even if relatively small and is what Haswell should have been since the beginning.
Same Pricing as Core i7-4770K ($339.99 US)
Better Thermal Conductivity
Next Generation Polymer Thermal Interface Material
Fully Compatible With Z97 Chipset
Improved Overclocking Support (Aimed primarily at overclockers)
Built on existing 22nm Haswell architecture
Overclocking is prone to slightest change errors
Back in June 2013, Intel launched their Haswell generation of processors (4th Generation Intel Core) which was an architecture scaling from 95W desktop parts to 4.5W Mobility parts. The Haswell architecture was decent in terms of power efficiency and was the first to bring 22nm to the consumer market but over at the desktop side, things weren’t all that great. The Core i7-4770K processor, the flagship of the desktop lineup had enhanced just about everything over the 3770K, it featured a faster graphics chip, better overclocking support and was priced similar to its predecessor however the core performance of the Haswell chips wasn’t a dramatic improvement over Ivy Bridge and to make things more bitter, the processor was unable to reach high overclocks due to the low quality TIM (Thermal Interface Material) used for packaging the processor.
The Core i7-4770K remained Intel’s flagship processor till Q1 2014 and we were all hoping that Intel would sooner or later launch their 5th Generation Broadwell processors based on the updated 14nm microarchitecture but during late late 2013, Intel reported that they will be delaying Broadwell due to 14nm node production vows and this resulted in the time-frame shift from mid-2014 to early 2015. Broadwell does comes out during the Holiday season this year but the upcoming SKU is aimed for mobility market rather the destkop one which launches in Q2 2015.
Intel did launch the Haswell Refresh processors and Z97 chipset in the premises which did gain some attention. The Z97 products which motherboard makers launched were met with great response since companies were able to expand the feature set of the existing Z87 chipset based products (little to no difference compared to Z97) and deliver improved designs for overclockers, enthusiasts and gamers.
This resulted in Intel having more or less nothing to launch during the 2014 time frame on the desktop platform. However, Intel reassured their commitment to the desktop platform at GDC 2014 when Intel’s Lisa Graff (GM and VP of its Desktop Client Platforms Group) announced that the company would introduce new chips in the desktop market which will include a new generation of unlocked desktop processors under the Haswell and Pentium brand and the launch of the long awaited X99 chipset platform powering Intel’s next generation HEDT Haswell-E processors. We saw the Haswell Refresh lineup earlier this year which included several new chips but failed to deliver any noticeable changes other than clock frequencies bump.
The masses were waiting for Intel’s new processors, codenamed Devil’s Canyon featuring the next flagship Haswell chip, the Core i7-4790K. But before we talk about Devil’s Canyon, let’s take a look at the Haswell architecture which is the foundation of Intel’s 2013 and 2014 line of processors.
Haswell Architecture Insight
As previously mentioned, the Haswell architecture makes use of 22nm Tri-gate 3D transistor technology which is an improvement over the regular Tri-gate transistor technology featured on Ivy Bridge. The Haswell architecture makes use of a two chip platform technology which includes the processor itself and the Lynx Point 8-Series PCH (Platform control hub). The 8-Series chipset is featured on the LGA 1150 socket motherboards with which Haswell processors are compatible.
The Haswell die is largely similar to its predecessors Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge. The Haswell die comes with up to four cores which share the same L3 cache. It features 1.6 Billion transistors and a die size of 177mm2. The Ivy Bridge die featured 1.4 Billion transistors in a 160mm2 die. A large portion of the die is dedicated to the Intel’s HD graphics in Haswell processors which also shares the same L3 cache. Other than these, the Haswell die include system agent, display agent, Memory controller I/O and PCI-e 3.0 memory controller. The Haswell instruction set includes Intel VT, AMT 9.0, Intel TXT, SSE4.2, Hyper Threading, Turbo Boost 2.0, AVX2, AES-NI, PCLMULQDQ, Secure key, Intel TSX, PAIR (Power aware interrupt routing and SMEP. Haswell for the first time features C-states of C0, C1, C1E, C3, C6, C7 and enhanced Intel Speedsted technology.
Haswell processors would provide a nice overall improvement as far as x86 performance is concerned but the bulk of advancements lie inside the 4th generation HD graphics core. The reason behind Intel pushing graphical power other than IPC improvements is mainly due to AMD pushing the graphics processing boundaries with their APUs which with the current HD 7000 series cores offer improved visuals compared to Intel’s HD 4000 offerings on Ivy Bridge. With Haswell, Intel wants to change the game and they are making several HD graphics chips for various tiers. The HD 4600 or GT2 graphics chip would be fused on most of the Haswell mobile and complete desktop line up. There are also faster GT3 variants but would be limited to low-power and desktop R-series which can be seen here. We will discuss more about the HD 4600 GPU in the article later on.
Haswell Block Diagram
We already detailed the Haswell die above, what you see below is the block diagram for Haswell platform. You can see that the processors is directly connected to the Lynx Point PCH through DMI 2.0 and FDI. The PCH offers USB 3.0/USB 2.0, SATA 6 GBps (Native), High definition Audio, VGA, integrated LAN, PCI-e 2.0, TPM 1.2 and Super IO/EC.
Haswell Overclocking and Power Management
Intel’s fourth generation Haswell core would feature Integrated voltage regulator “FVIR” and enhanced BCLK overclocking. Board manufacturers today offer a wide variety of products which help drive overclocking needs for consumers and enthusiasts.
Intel’s Haswell comes with a dynamically adjustable and fully unlocked Turbo Boost Technology limit that ensures users get the most out of their processors when they need it. Core ratios have been unlocked upto 80 in 100 MHz increments while the CPU voltage is completely controllable via the iVR (Integrated Voltage regulator). DMICLK or BCLK allows for an unlocked PCH clock controller with increments upto 200 MHz while PEG and DMI will offer variable/adjustable ratios based on the BCLK frequency. Similarly, the GPU core also features an unlocked design that allows for frequency adjustments (60 Ratio in 50 MHz increments) and fully programmable voltage via iVR. An unlocked memory controller allows for upto 2933 MHz overclock on the DDR3 modules.
Intel has provided key details on the upcoming iVR through which voltage on CPU and GPU could be dynamically adjusted. Currently, voltage management is accomplished with the use of external VRM’s on the motherboard. There are in total four voltage override modes through the iVR module on Haswell chips which are accounted for when running the processor in default and overclocking mode. With the next generation Haswell processors, we would be looking at an increased BCLK of greater than 167 MHz (non-continuous) compared to the peak 116.95 MHz on Ivy Bridge along with a select CPU PEG/DMI ratios of 5:5, 5:4, 5:3 which is quiet impressive. The next few slides details various performance tuning ratios available on Haswell core for CPU/GPU/DDR/PEG,DMI and Ring.
For power management, Intel has developed new C-States such as C6 and C7 while Speedstep which is naively enabled would adjust frequency, core voltage based on user workload. Available C-State would differ on various SKUs.
Intel’s new processor will get a numerical naming scheme; 47xx, 46xx, 45xx and 44xx. The 47 and 46 series processors are quad-core offerings and will be available from launch. HD4600 however will not be uniformly implemented across the processors. The alphabet suffix will continue to be the same (i.e.“K” for fully unlocked processors, ‘T’ & ‘S’ for low TDP variants) while the new R-Series would be supplied in BGA packages making use of the HD 5200 “Iris Pro” graphics chip.
Intel LGA 1150 Socket
The Intel LGA 1150 was first introduced during the launch of Intel’s 8-Series platform (Haswell and Z87 Express chipset). As denoted by its name, the LGA 1150 has 5 less pins compared to the LGA 1155 socket which supports Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge processors.
The LGA 1150 socket will be featured on the 9-Series chipset motherboards and will extend support to new CPUs which include Haswell Refresh, Devil’s Canyon (Haswell Refresh K-Series) and Broadwell. Broadwell, which is the codename for Intel’s next generation 14nm processor is planned for launch in 2015 for desktop PCs. The socket on 9-Series chipset boards will also feature support for all existing Haswell processors which will provide current user with an easy upgrade path over the new series.
Intel did one thing right with the new socket and that’s the socket positioning which allows LGA 1155 socket coolers and mounting brackets to remain compatible with the newer socket. So if you have a old LGA 1155 socket cooler that you wish to use with the new LGA 1150 socket? It could be done so, but do note that while the socket looks the same as LGA 1155 socket, the processors are incompatible due to different pin layout so you don’t want to try putting an Ivy Bridge or Sandy Bridge processor into the LGA 1150 socket otherwise it would damage the pins permanently.
Cooler Compatibility With LGA 1150 Socket
While Haswell processors ship with their own boxed coolers and cooler makers providing retention brackets for LGA 1150 compatibility, it should be noted that LGA 1150 socket is easily compatible with both reference LGA 1150 boxed coolers and custom products.
So if you’re upgrading from LGA 1155 to LGA 1150, you can easily equip your cooler on the latest socket from Intel without any sort of trouble.
Intel 9-Series Z97 Platform Control Hub (PCH)
Intel’s upcoming processors would be compatible with the 9-Series “Lynx Point” chipset fused on the LGA 1150 socketed motherboards. There are different tiers of the chips on the Haswell Refresh platform which include Z97 and H97. The motherboard we would be testing today is based on the Z97 PCH. The 9-Series chipset in a whole isn’t much different from 8-Series Lynx Point. The following chart mentions key differences between both platform control hubs:
|Item||8-Series “Panther Point”||9-Series “Lynx Point”|
|I/O Port flexibility||Yes||Yes|
|Total USB 3.0/2.0 Ports||14 USB Ports||14 USB Ports|
|USB 3.0 Capable Ports||Upto 6||Upto 6|
|xHCI Ports||All USB Ports by xCHI||All USB Ports by xCHI|
|PCI Express||Upto 8 PCIe 2.0 (5GT/s)||Upto 8 PCI-e 2.0 (5GT/s)
PCIe M.2 Storage Support
|Total SATA Ports||6 SATA||6 SATA|
|SATA 6 GB/s Capable Ports||Upto 6||Upto 6|
|Legacy PCI||No Legacy PCI for any SKU||Legacy PCI on certain SKUs|
|Digital Display I/F||Display moved to processor||Display moved to processor|
|Analog Display I/F||VGA||VGA|
|SPI||SFDP, Quad Read||SFDP, Quad Read|
The main feature of the Intel 9-Series chipset is support for Intel’s Haswell Refresh, Devil’s Canyon and Broadwell processors which means that the new Z97 and H97 will have higher longevity. Aside from that, there’s also PCIe M.2 slot storage support which is 67% faster than SATA Gen 3 (6 GB/s) and its speeds matches SATA Express which are rated at 10 GB/s. Various motherboards have also included M.2 Ultra and SATA Express ports which give user more accessibility. The Z97 chipset will remain as Intel’s high-end mainstream offering while the enthusiast platform will be updated with the X99 chipset in Q3 2014.
It should be noted that due to improvements in 4th and 5th generation core processor power efficiency, the requirements for the processor’s power supply have also been altered. Intel recommends that the users running the Haswell Refresh CPU platform check the list of tested PSUs for ones capable of supporting the latest Intel Core processors. The list can be found at: http://www,intel.com/go/powersupplies/.From the filters at the top right of the page, set 12V2 Min Load 0A to “Yes” to see which PSUs have been found to support the processor’s new power requirements. To make use of the power supplies that meet the 12V2 Min Load 0A, you have to enable the “Lowest CPU Idle power setting”. This option is located under the power tab section and you must set the “Intel Dynamic Power technology” to custom in the primary power settings section in supplied UEFI BIOS on the motherboard.
Intel’s Devil Has Arrived – Meet the Devil’s Canyon Processors
Earlier this year, Intel launched their 9-Series platform which we have compared with 8-Series in the table above. The launch included Intel’s Z97 chipset powered motherboards and the Haswell Refresh processors. The Haswell Refresh processors weren’t met with great response since they are virtually the same chips from last year with a 100 MHz clock increment. However, the Z97 motherboard stack from manufacturers was impressive, featuring enhanced designs over their Z87 counterparts and a categorized stack which meant that the products could be designed for specific tiers including gaming, overclocking and mainstream use. The Z97 motherboards were met with a great response from the enthusiast and overclocking community but the processor stack was old and had to be updated.
The Z97 chipset powered motherboards did feature support for Broadwell processors but their launch had already been pushed to Q2 2015 which meant users would have to stick with Haswell processors for a year more until they had something new to mess around. This is when Intel announced Devil’s Canyon, a new processor line built on the same Haswell microarchitecture but eliminating some of the issues which had made Haswell a hectic product to overclock and use.
While the Haswell processors were met with a great response and backed by a variety of overclocking features, the processors didn’t happen to be great at overclocking due to the cheaper application of TIM between the IHS (Internal Heat Spreader) and the Haswell silicon itself which resulted in the heat to remain trapped between the chip due to poor contact.
Intel fixed this issue once and for all with their Devil’s Canyon processors. The Haswell Refresh K-Series processors in specific are codenamed Devil’s Canyon which would offer users an improved design that incorporates updated packaging materials, improved TIM (Thermal Interface) and processors that are specifically re-engineered for enhanced performance and overclocking. So many users who have been waiting for Intel to update their TIM design since Ivy Bridge can now check out the new processors for their overclocking needs. To be specific, Intel is going to use Next Generation Polymer Thermal Interface Material (NGPTIM) inside their Devil’s Canyon processors offering better heat dissipation to allow overclocking. Along with the new packaging components, Intel also bumped the clock speed to a whole new level which can be seen below in the specs sheet:
Intel Devil’s Canyon CPU Lineup
Following is the list that details each Devil’s Canyon processor along with their predecessors that Intel has launched with their desktop processor platform. The Core i7-4790K is the flagship processor of the lineup and the one which we would be reviewing today.
|Intel Pentium G3258||Intel Core i5-4670K||Intel Core i5-4690K||Intel Core i7-4770K||Intel Core i7-4790K|
|Codename||Haswell||Haswell||Devil’s Canyon||Haswell||Devil’s Canyon|
|Graphics||HD Graphics||HD 4600||HD 4600||HD 4600||HD 4600|
|Base Clock||3.2 GHz||3.4 GHz||3.5 GHz||3.5 GHz||4.0 GHz|
|Turbo Boost||3.2 GHz||3.8 GHz||3.9 GHz||3.9 GHz||4.4 GHz|
|L3 Cache||3 MB||6 MB||6 MB||8 MB||8 MB|
Intel Core i7-4790K
The Core i7-4790K will be the flagship processor of the Haswell Refresh lineup and the first 22nm consumer CPU to obtain clock frequency of 4 GHz and a maximum boost clock of 4.4 GHz which is also a first for Intel. It will feature 4 cores and 8 threads along with a fully unlocked design which will allow users to overclock the chip past the limits thanks to the improved thermal design and updated package materials. The Core i7-4790K will feature a 88W TDP and would come with the latest HD 4600 graphics chip clocked at 1250 MHz. The Core i7-4790K retails at $339.99 US.
Intel Core i5-4690K
The Core i5-4690K will be the fastest Core i5 Series processor of the Haswell Refresh lineup featuring a clock frequency of 3.5 GHz and a maximum boost clock of 3.9 GHz matching the specs of the Core i7-4770K in a way. It will feature 4 cores and 4 threads along with a fully unlocked design which will allow users to overclock the chip past the limits thanks to the improved thermal design and updated package materials. The Core i5-4690K will feature a 88W TDP and would come with the latest HD 4600 graphics chip clocked at 1250 MHz. Pricing is not known at the moment. The Core i5-4690K retails at $239.99 US.
Intel Pentium G3258:
Aside from the Haswell based Core processors, Intel also announced their 20th Anniversary Pentium edition unlocked processor. The Pentium G3258 is a dual core with two threads featuring a core clock of 3.2 GHz. It doesn’t come with Turbo Boost tech but will be supported on both 8-Series and 9-Series platforms unlike Devil’s Canyon which will feature support on just the 9-Series chipset based Z97 motherboards. Featuring the 22nm Haswell architecture, the chip comes with 3 MB of L3 cache and a TDP of 53W. The instruction set includes SSE4.1, SSE 4.2, EM64T and VT-X. The Pentium G3258 retails at $69.99 US.
Intel Core i7-4790K “Devil’s Canyon”
With 4.0 GHz Boost Clock Across All Cores
The Intel Core i7-4790K is the flagship Devil’s Canyon processor featuring an updated design over the previous Haswell flagship parts. The Core i7-4790K sticks to the four core and eight thread design we have been looking at since i7-860 “Lynnfield” and i7-920 “Bloomfield” however features a new microarchitecture design compared to them coupled with faster clock speeds.
The Core i7-4790K is clocked at 4.0 GHz base and 4.4 GHz Turbo and features 8 MB of L3 cache. The TDP has gone a few watts up from 84W “Haswell” to 88W “Devil’s Canyon”. The FVIR “Fully integrated voltage regulator” and a boosted graphics core is the main reason behind the wattage increase but it still is lower compared to the power gushing Ivy bridge-E 130W TDP and Piledriver 125W/220W TDP parts. The processor we have is and ES sample with the C0 revision, stepping 3.
The Core i7-4790K features a boosted graphics core codenamed “GT2″ and labeled HD 4600. The HD 4600 core packs 20 execution units with a clock speed of 1250 MHz which drops down to 350 MHz in idle mode. It has 2 ROPs and 4 TMUs and packs enough punch to run most of current generation games with low-medium settings. But it doesn’t matter since most of the buyers would probably have a discrete GPU solution to run their games and would hardly ever use the HD 4600 chip.
Intel Core i7‐4790K Processor Key Features:
- Next Generation Polymer Thermal Interface Material (NGPTIM): New Thermal interface for better heat dissipation and high-performance overclocking support.
- 4 GHz Clock Speed: Intel’s First Native 4 Ghz processor for faster application loading and gaming performance.
- 4.4 GHz Boost On All 4 Cores: With a massive 4.4 GHz boost across all cores, Intel’s 4790K delivers improved performance in demanding applications.
- Enhanced Packaging Materials: The Intel Devil’s Canyon processors use a new and enhanced packaging design which results in better stability and support for overclock.
- 8‐Way Multi‐Task Processing: Runs 8 independent processing threads in one physical package.
- Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0: Dynamically increases the processor frequency up to 3.9 GHz when applications demand more performance. Speed when you need it, energy efficiency when you don’t.
- Intel Hyper‐Threading Technology: Allows each core of the processor to work on two tasks at the same time providing amazing processing capability for better multi‐tasking, and for threaded applications.
- Intel Smart Cache: 8MB of shared cached allows faster access to your data by enabling dynamic and efficient allocation of the cache to match the needs of each core significantly reducing latency to frequently used data and improving performance.
- CPU Overclocking Enabled (with Intel Z97 Chipset): Fully unlocked core multiplier, power, and DDR3 memory ratios enable high flexibility for overclocking.
- Graphics Overclocking Enabled (with all Intel 9 Series Chipsets): Unlocked graphics multiplier allows for overclocking to boost the graphics clock speed.
- Integrated Memory Controller: Supports 2 channels of DDR3‐1866 memory with 2 DIMMs per channel. Support for memory based on the Intel Extreme Memory Profile (Intel XMP) specification.
- Chipset/Motherboard Compatibility: Compatible with all Intel 9 Series Chipsets
- Built‐in Visuals: New enhanced built‐in visual features deliver a seamless visual PC experience for doing everything from simple e‐mail to enjoying the latest 3D and HD entertainment. The built‐in visuals suite includes:
- Intel Quick Sync Video 2.0 Technology: Media processing for incredibly fast conversion of video files for portable media players or online sharing.
- Intel InTru 3D9: Stereoscopic 3D Blu‐ray playback experience in full HD 1080p resolution over HDMI 1.4 with 3D.
- Intel Clear Video HD Technology: Visual quality and color fidelity enhancements for spectacular HD playback and immersive web browsing.
- Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel AVX): Increased performance for demanding visual applications like professional video & image editing.
- Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 2.0: Increased performance for demanding visual applications like professional video and image editing.
- Intel HD Graphics 4600: Significant 3D performance for immersive mainstream gaming on a broad range of titles. The dynamic graphics frequency ranges upto 1250 MHz.
|Power Supply:||Xigmatek NRP-MC1002 1000 Watt|
|Hard Disk:||Kingston HyperX 3K 90 GB (OS)
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200.12
|Memory:||4 x 4 GB Kingston HyperX 2400 MHz
10th Anniversary Edition Memory Kit
|Case:||Cooler Master HAF 932|
|Video Cards:||MSI GeForce GTX 780 3 GB
w/ Core i7-4790K
w/ Core i7-4770K
|Cooling Solutions:||Phantek PH-TC14PE Triple Fan|
|OS:||Windows 8 Ultimate 64-bit|
Overclocking Intel’s Core i7-4790K Devil’s Canyon Processor:
Overclocking on the i7 4790K was pushed to 4.73 GHz with a multiplier of 48 and a BCLK downstepped to 99 MHz. The overclocking itself was rather difficult at first given how everything is tied to the BCLK, but a few blue screen of death’s later and some really weird disk boot failures due to the RAM being overvolted, this was as stable as I could get this CPU. In the norm, talking to other reviewers, this also seems to be the relative capacity of the i7-4790K chips.
The Intel supplied sample was bogus during testing and we were unable to get it clocked higher than 4.7 GHz without supplying it with a 1.43 (surplus) voltage but we had already happened to come across a retail sample which showed better results than the sample chips.
Intel Core i7-4790K “Devil’s Canyon” – CPU Benchmarks
PCMark 7 is a complete PC benchmarking solution for Windows 7 and Windows 8. It includes 7 tests combining more than 25 individual workloads covering storage, computation, image and video manipulation, web browsing and gaming. Specifically designed for the full range of PC hardware from netbooks and tablets to notebooks and desktops, PCMark 7 offers complete Windows PC performance testing for home and business use.
The POV-Ray package includes detailed instructions on using the ray-tracer and creating scenes. Many stunning scenes are included with POV-Ray so you can start creating images immediately when you get the package.
3DMark Vantage is a DirectX 10 video card benchmark test for Windows that is designed to measure your PC’s gaming performance. While the overall benchmark is great, the utility also provides a good indication of the CPU performance.
WinRAR is a powerful archive manager. It can backup your data and reduce the size of email attachments, decompress RAR, ZIP and other files downloaded from Internet and create new archives in RAR and ZIP file format.
Super PI is used by many overclockers to test the performance and stability of their computers. In the overclocking community, the standard program provides a benchmark for enthusiasts to compare “world record” pi calculation times and demonstrate their overclocking abilities. The program can also be used to test the stability of a certain overclock speed.
AIDA64 Performance Benchmark
AIDA64 Extreme is a streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking software for home users. AIDA64 Extreme provides a wide range of features to assist in overclocking, hardware error diagnosis, stress testing, and sensor monitoring. It has unique capabilities to assess the performance of the processor, system memory, and disk drives. AIDA64 is compatible with all current 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Windows operating systems, including Windows 8.1 Update 1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Update 1.
Intel Core i7-4790K “Devi’s Canyon” – Gaming Performance
Intel i7-4790K – FireStrike Performance
FireStrike is currently the most demanding game-like benchmark that is used to calculate a graphics score along with a physics score for a combined overall score. It is very trendy currently as the latest Futuremark offering and something I just had to do for this CPU. It was run with the default Performance benchmark run and not Extreme which is fairly taxing and not very optimized – it’s meant to make a PC chug unless it has 3-way SLI with overclocked memory core.
Intel i7-4790K – Metro: Last Light Performance
Metro: Last Light took everyone by surprise when it overtook Metro 2033 with incredible gameplay and moreover stunning PC optimization for graphics that are simply luxurious and brilliant in their own bleak post-apocalyptic way. The title is a perfect performer for benchmarks in real-world scope.
Intel i7-4790K – Crysis 3 Perfomance
Crysis 3 is the technical and graphical benchmark that most gamers look to for its over-the-top graphical demands. Despite the fact that the game is horribly optimized for most platforms, it is the measure for a lot of people. We went ahead and benchmarked it for the performanceophiles.
Power Consumption and Thermals
The power consumption of the Devil’s Canyon chips are slightly higher compared to its Haswell predecessor. The TDP is 88W for the 4790K compared to the 84W of the 4770K.
The reason behind this is the large GPU core and dedicated VR module which helps deliver better performance and stability. Overall, we are looking at the same consumption rate as Haswell with improved performance. We used a relatively high end cooler – Phantek’s PH-TC14 PE with Triple fans and Noctua NH-T1 thermal paste which work absolutely great for overclocking.
On idle, the 4790K operates at 36 degrees Celsius at stock and 40 degrees Celsius with a VCore bump. This is not bad, considering the overclock to 4.73 GHz. The 4770K Stock Idle temperatures are 42 degrees Celsius and 46 degrees Celsius overclocked. With load, the temperature between the overclocked 4790K and 4770K is a Delta T of 9 degrees with the 4770K capping out at 94 degrees Celsius. The i7-4790K definitely wins out in terms of thermal consumption efficiency and is something that is more than enough for the overclocker looking to win a serious sub-zero competition in the market.
So what’s the verdict? Well, one thing is clear: the i7-4790K outperforms the i7-4770K at nearly everything from operation speed, to thermal conductivity and overclocking. Does it realistically make it a better CPU for most owners of the 4770K? Not a chance. The majority of people who buy PC parts do so for video games over operating applications such as editing software or 3D Rendering. And even if it comes to editing suites, we would be hard pressed if there are any real substantial usage differences that are more than 20% to be actually noticeable.
The main focus of the new unlocked series processors is to assure that Intel is still focused and committed towards the desktop audience. A few years ago, we were hearing news that Intel would be phasing out the socket in favor of soldered chip but I think those rumors have come to an end and from the roadmap we have seen, Intel’s lineup up till Skymont is socketed and will feature performance K-Series SKUs for overclockers and enthusiasts and will stay in harmony with the mobility market which is expanding on daily basis.
In the end, when it comes to the majority and real-world gaming applications which is the main selling point of computer hardware, the 4770K and the 4790K can live in harmony without there being a big fight or buyer’s remorse for either party. Upgrading to an i7-4790K will make no sense to owners of the 4770K and the i7-4790K seems to be the obvious choice for new buyers because it retails at the same price of its predecessors, comes with better packaging components, has more overclocking tendency and is compatible with both Z87 and Z97 chipset motherboards.