Product on Review: Core i7-4790K
Street Price: £269.99 GBP / $339 USD
A little over 12 months have passed since our reviews of the original unlocked Intel Haswell CPUs, the Core i5-4670K and Core i7-4770K. Rather than release a whole new generation Intel have instead returned to LGA1150 and opted to refresh the Haswell line-up on the now mature 22nm lithography process, in so doing increasing the performance for users whilst holding prices stable.
Alongside last month's Haswell refresh was the introduction of Intel's 9-series motherboards – in the form of the Z97 and H97 chipsets for overclocking and mainstream markets respectively. An incremental evolution of the 8-series, it brings support for new storage interface technologies as standard in addition to the latest Haswell chips straight out of the box. The 9-series will also support desktop variants of Haswell's 14nm successor, Broadwell, when that CPU is released.
Despite their reveal in March, unlocked 'K' CPUs weren't included in the first round of Haswell Refresh CPUs, and so gamers and enthusiasts have had to wait the intervening six weeks for their fix of new overclockable chips. The update has not been quite as cut and dried as one might have expected however; Intel have decided to do something a little special for the unlocked chips in the form of Devil's Canyon.
Devil's Canyon CPUs – sold under the Core i7-4790K and Core i5-4690K – are designed with higher base clocks and higher overclocks in mind. At one stage many were working under the impression that the i7-4790K would be a simple multiplier bump of the i7-4770K, bringing very little added value to the market over its predecessor. As we will see in the review the 4790K is a substantial engineering improvement, creating a major lead in both stock speeds and additional overclocking headroom without a price increase.
Intel on their Core i7-4790K
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