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Overclocking to 5GHz? We put Intel Devil’s Canyon CPU to the test

Haswell refresh that's hot to trot

The heat is on

For testing I used the same setup as I used when recently tested Asus’s Z97-A motherboard: 4GB Patriot Viper Extreme DDR-3 2133MHz memory, Zotac GTX760 Amp graphics card, Crucial M550 512GB SSD and a Noctua NH-U9B air cooler – so not an extreme setup by any means.

Intel Devil's Canyon Core i7-4790K CPU overclocking temperature results

Benchmark temperature variations

Intel Devil's Canyon Core i7-4790K CPU overclocking power consumption results

Power consumption – measured at wall socket

Using Prime95, I ran the CPU for 30 mins at Idle and then 30 mins at 100 per cent load. First I tried an overclock with the Asus EZ app in the Z97-A’s BIOS, which raised the memory from 2133 to 2175.8MHz and the CPU to 4.08GHz (BLK 102MHz, 1.104v) – a very modest increase. Time to get the hands dirty in the BIOS.

With a 1.375v voltage tweak, I managed to get the sample to run stably at 4.7GHz. At 4.8GHz, it would boot into Windows and run Cinebench R15, but when it came to running Prime95 it would only manage a few minutes before causing a BSOD, not exactly what you would call stable.

Intel Devil's Canyon Core i7-4790K CPU

Devil's Canyon: Extreme overclocking potential – your mileage may vary

The Reg Verdict

With a 4GHz base clock on all the cores, Intel’s i7-4790K is without doubt a powerful CPU, regardless of whether you’re interested in the overclocking aspects of the "K" series chips. As for overclocking, well my early sample couldn’t manage Intel’s claims of 5GHz on air cooling and a scout around the web shows I’m not alone. It may be a different story for retail samples and with liquid cooling it might be easier to achieve.

On the plus side, the new processor is pretty close in pricing to the previous i7-4770K, which only reaches 3.9GHz in Turbo mode, so if you are planning to build a fast system out of the box, then choosing the i7-4790K is pretty much a no-brainer. ®

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Intel Devil's Canyon Core i7-4790K CPU

Overclocking to 5GHz? We put Intel Devil’s Canyon CPU to the test

Intel hits 4GHz as the base clock with its new quad-core Core i7 Haswell flagship processor that's unlocked out of the box for fun-packed overclocking thrills.
Price: £260 RRP