DEVIL’S IN THE DE­TAIL

In­tel’s Core i7-4790K Devil’s Canyon Pro­ces­sor

HWM (Malaysia) - - LAB EXAM - by John Law

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).

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