Alright, if you ran into some grammar / spelling issues in this review my apologies, let me just state that I wanted this review out fast and my grammar editors did not even have a chance to read up on this article. This CPU sample arrived this morning. So what to say about Devils Canyon. Well it is a great CPU series when you look at the standard clock increase. I mean 4 GHz as a base-clock is very impressive, and even more so when you see the turbo allowance up-to 4.4 GHz for the individual cores. Compared towards the Core i7-4770K the CPU receives a healthy clock increase, and it is by far the fastest quad core processor your money can buy you. Tantalizing is the combination of a product of this class with Z97, the H97/Z97 chipset might be a refresh as well, but the motherboard manufacturers have done intensely great work with their products. 2014 offers the best motherboards I have seen to date, and combined with say M.2 SSD storage, the combination of the processor, motherboard and storage unit might be just what the doctor ordered to get you migrated towards a new platform under the condition that your PC hardware is outdated and outperformed.
The overall temperatures when the CPU is overclocked with added voltage definitely is better opposed to the 4770K. I think that being in the 70 Degrees C at 1.4. Volts on a Corsair H110 LCS cooling kit really is respectable. But weirdly enough that doesn't show in the actual overclock results. In fact we can actually go 100 MHz higher with the 4770K (albeit with worse temps). No, it seems that after 4700 MHz on a proper cooler this processor will meet its threshold, and honestly I expected this CPU to pass 5 GHz with our cooling. Perhaps over time with a few BIOS updates this will change. But realistically I think your maximum OC target will be roughly 4600 ~ 4700 MHz if you search 100% stability. Our 4800 MHz tweak was stable enough, but not stable enough for hours of 100% CPU load. And at that stage we already needed 1.4 Volts. I am still running some overclock tests and right now I am at 1.45 Volts / 4800 MHz. This for now is 100% stable however temps are growing to roughly 85 Degrees C on the package sensor. Devils Canyon needs a lot of voltage to be overclocked, and as such requries hefty cooling to accomplish high overclocks.
What About The IGP?
Quite honestly, do you really care? Ah well, for gaming you are still looking at little performance for truly serious gaming with the integrated graphics. But credit where credit is due, ever since Haswell was released the IGP has gotten a nice chunk faster with selected SKUs allowing Intel to compete much better with AMD's APUs. Now we know that HD 4600 can do, but with this test had a driver issue. Regardless of our driver issues, if you flick down and forfeit on image quality and resolution, and things will get better fast. As huge as the overall performance improvement over the last generation IGPs really is, it remains entry-level performance for gaming on low resolution monitors though. But for mobile platforms the embedded GPU will be pretty good. We also need to separate gaming from the graphics core, realize that it is a multipurpose graphics processor. You'll have no issues with Blu-ray playback, heck it can even deal with 3D TV, post-process your media files and help out with video en/trans and decoding. The GPU is compatible with HDMI 1.4 and Display Port 1.2 next to the regular DSUB and DVI connectors of course.
Let's compare back and forth a little. The Intel reference board with a Sandy Bridge processor (2600K) without a dedicated graphics card idles at roughly 50 Watts. Once we stress the processor 100% on that platform we leveled out at 110 - 120 Watts. With Haswell (4790) we notice 42 Watts in idle and 109 Watts with processor load at 100%. So Haswell and its chipset are energy friendly. Realistically though they are not at all that far off from Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge. Once you add a dedicated graphics card the dynamic changes of course. Do we all really care about 10 or 20 Watts? No in this market segment not really, but obviously in the mobile and HTPC / Small form factor platform it makes all the difference. Mind you that once you increase voltage on the processor and start to overclock, you can nearly double your power consumption.
Let's Talk Money
A 4790K will cost you roughly 320 EUR, say 339 USD. This is Intel's top K model quad-core flagship product. Intel does not have any substantial competition within this market segment, this price is and will stay at that level. It is a great processor for the money though.
Though we expected a little more from the overclock results we have to say that the 4790K is worthy of being called the new flagship quad core processor. We feel that the 4 GHz base and 4.4 GHz Turbo clocks alone justify this release. So if you are in for a new system, this actually might be the CPU to get boys. Then again, if you apply good cooling, the 4770K might become cheaper and a fantastic alternative as well. Realistically another reason to upgrade would be the new Z97 motherboards, the motherboard manufacturers have done a tremendous job to make really cool gear with SATA Express and M.2 PCIe SSD storage. We already have shown you a wide selection of these motherboards in all our reviews. But sure, if you have a PC with say a Core i7 2600, 3770 or 4770, honestly we do not see a substantial enough reason for you to upgrade at if you are on the lookout for more performance unless you get that tummy feeling to tweak with something new. But sure, the overall package / infrastructure combo of Haswell with Z97 however offers more coolness thanks to the motherboard partners.
My personal advice to you is if you go for a new Z97 platform, the 4790K Devils Canyon processor is a great combo to get. Later this year though a truly big thing is gonna happen in the enthusiast PC space, we'll see 6 and 8-core Haswell-E processors with DDR4 memory. That's really what most of you guys are waiting on. Sure, we had hoped to see slightly better OC results as this CPU is very voltage hungry, but it is what it is and perhaps things will change after a few BIOS updates. Other then these remarks, we obviously can recommend the Core i7-4790K if you need to upgrade. The platform in its entirety is absolutely lovely and can be considered enthusiast grade in its best form, the performance is great and if you will build a gaming or content creation rig, this processor is more than fast enough for even the most complex multi-GPU setups. As such we can definitely recommend the processor. If you don't overclock, get the non-K 4790 model, but for the hardware tweakers and overclocking afficionado's out here, K is the way to go. Definitely recommended.
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