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Integrated GPU Gaming Performance

Intel Core i7-4790K Devil's Canyon Review 7

Starting with the generational differences between the Integrated Graphics, we start our gaming performance benches with them first. Curiously, the scores were almost identical. But of course, if you’re going to get a serious game on, an integrated graphics solution will be required. However, we will need to revisit this later, to see if there are any generational differences with Intel Quick Sync enabled applications.

Discrete GPU Gaming Performance

Intel Core i7-4790K Devil's Canyon Review 8

When paired with a capable graphics card, the scores are expected to go up. And then we see that, for most intents and purposes, for a gaming rig, the outgoing Core i7-4770K will game just fine. Or for that matter, so does the 3770K under gaming loads. These are all very high settings with DX11 tessellation making it pretty to watch. So we can safely say that, if you’re looking for a substantial upgrade in gaming performance, the M.2 slots on the Z97 boards will help you load everything faster, but you can probably keep your 3770K or 4770K.

Thermal Testing

Intel Core i7-4790K Devil's Canyon Review 5

When I first saw the top end full 100% resource core load temps, I cringed a little. But there’s a couple things to consider when you look at the temps. One, the idle temperature of the 4790K is better all around, especially idle. And two, the minimum core load operating frequency is 4 GHz jumping to 4.4 GHz, which we expect, should generate a bit more heat. But we also expected that the new thermal considerations (like the new IHS interface and other tweaks), should have lowered the temps even more overall.

However, Devil’s Canyon definitely Turbos up quicker than its predecessor, using very similar voltage. But overclocking does seem stunted due to high temps with even moderate efforts. We’ll have to look at this further in another article.

Final Thoughts

Intel Core i7-4790K Devil's Canyon Review 14

So how do we score Devil’s Canyon? It’s a very fast Haswell refresh that has no architectural equal. Stock clock users will love it thanks to a stock 4 GHz core which turbos to 4.4 GHz quickly, so you can get more done in less time. Although it seems that this is all we’re going to get out of the Haswell core without some significant breakthroughs or new advancements. We’re happy to get faster core operating frequencies, but enthusiasts however won’t be thrilled by Devil’s Canyon’s high operating temps, despite the efforts of the Intel team, to help tame it with an improved IHS and thermal compound.

Because of Devil’s Canyon’s high operating temps, in exchange for higher performance, at stock load, our excellent be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 hit 70C with the 4790K, making the 4770K 60C seem so much cooler. At an overclocked 4.8 GHz, 4790K rises to 85C easily. So to ensure stable and cool system performance, we recommend a cooler that can manage at least 220 Watts TDP. Anything with higher TDP will offer the best overclocking results. This basically means that you should throw out the stock cooler, if you haven’t already done so.

We can only imagine the challenge of cooling Devil’s Canyon in hotter climates. As long as you keep it cool, it’ll run for years and years. That said, Devil’s Canyon is recommended for those that need the very best quad core stock performance but not recommended for overclocking enthusiasts with limited thermal cooling experience.

We’ll try some other methods in an upcoming review, to see what it takes to tame Devil’s Canyon a bit more, and hit some overclocks worth talking about. But we’d still recommend it, if you’re building a new system today, and want great stock, out of the box, performance. Although we’ll have to knock the score down a tick over the Core i7 4770K because of the heat.

Pros:

  • Stock 4GHz with Turbo up to 4.4 GHz
  • Idle temps are very low
  • Consumes only a few more watts than the at stock clocks 4770K
  • The fastest Quad-Core processor out there

Cons:

  • Retail CPU doesn’t come with much needed higher performance heatsink
  • Limited overclocking due to heat

Overall Rating: 8.5 / 10.0

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