DEVIL’S IN THE DETAIL
Intel’s Core i7-4790K Devil’s Canyon Processor
UNDERSTANDING DEVIL’S CANYON
With the success of the 4th generation Haswell series, it’s clear that Intel has made some remarkable headway for themselves in the CPU business. As we’ve said before about the Core architecture CPUs: it was after they revisited and modified the interface layout of one of the previous chips that its most successful CPU architecture was born. However, Intel felt that the Haswell CPUs could actually be improved upon, especially in the area of heat dissipation. The result of this endeavor was the release of the new Devil’s Canyon Core CPUs, and in this issue, we get to test out the Core i7-4790K.
Just to be clear, Devil’s Canyon is (obviously) a codename which is applied across the board for these new processors. This includes both the Core i7-4790K, as well as the Core i5-4670K. Once again, the Devil’s Canyon CPU is not a new generation of the CPU, but rather more of a refresh of the current generation: an improvement upon the past, if you will.
Compared to the Haswell Core i7-4770K, the Devil’s Canyon Core i7-4790K variant still uses pretty much the same technology. It’s still made with the same 22nm processing node and as the ‘K’ at the end of its name would suggest, this CPU is unlocked, which also means that it is overclockable. So what’s the difference, you ask? For starters, when the Core i7-4770K CPU came off the bench, it was factory-tuned to a frequency of 3.5GHz, and could still be pushed well into (and passed) the 4GHz territory.
With the Core i7-4790K, Intel was pleased as pie to confirm that this Devil’s Canyon CPU would come off the line factory clocked at 4GHz. The most impressive part about this chip was how it was still able to undergo overclocking, and was capable of breaking past the 4.4GHz mark with its turbo multipliers. How is this possible, you ask again? Well, you can chalk it up to Intel’s ingenuity to the Devil’s Canyon’s updated Thermal Interface Material (TIM). That, and some really nifty electronics engineering done by the brilliant minds at Intel’s research division.
Focusing a little more on the TIM, we really can’t tell you just how innovative it is. By comparison, the technology is actually a very small addition to the CPU in the grand scale of things. However, it’s this implementation that has allowed Intel to both bump up the clock speed, as well as to dissipate the heat emanated from the new processor, and thus lowering the overall thermal levels.
The new Devil’s Canyon processor (right) has a new Thermal Interface Material (TIM).