Intel i7 4790K Devils Canyon CPU Review
Summarising the i7-4790K is actually pretty easy.
Because it's very much a minor refinement of the i7-4770K, rather than a massive change of technology or architecture, then it has very similar overclocking performance. We know that our i7-4770K is an absolute stormer, capable of hitting 5GHz on the right motherboard. Equally we know of many people who struggle to squeeze 4.4GHz from theirs. So, as always, there is a bit of hit and miss involved in any maximum overclock.
However, the i7-4790K gives you all the tools necessary to get the absolute most from your CPU, regardless of the manner you wish to achieve it. Because of the greatly improved TIM the temperatures are a lot lower than the hot Haswell of old and, as we all know, heat is one of the primary limiting factors in any overclocking. Because the refreshed CPU runs cooler you can put even more voltage through, should you so wish. Even with our relatively modest 200MHz overclock there is clearly a big change in performance in certain tests when you up the ante. The stock CPU, which we'll get to in a moment, isn't a slouch but even a mild overclock really unleashes the beast. It's enough to put the i7-4790K ahead of its predecessor in certain benchmarks, which is always the mark of a good CPU. Doing more with less.
Where the Core i7-4790K really shines though is at stock. We know that many of you are uncomfortable with overclocking and prefer to run your processor 'as God intended'. Or perhaps you only have an average cooling solution and can't afford the extra heat generated from an overclock. Either way the 4.4GHz Turbo from the Haswell refresh is outstanding. On our test ASUS Z97A it never dropped below 4.4GHz either. Perhaps even more impressively, as if that wasn't enough, we could drop the core voltage down to 1v and still run at 4GHz. Low power draw, low heat but 4GHz of performance is outstanding. Just plugging it in and getting 4.4GHz is enough to tempt almost anyone.
Any negative is only dependant upon your current setup. If you've already got a i7-4770K then there probably isn't enough here to justify an upgrade. If you're not planning on overclocking then grabbing the K version is perhaps overkill, but we know a lot of people like having the best, even if they never take full advantage. For the rest of us, the i7-4790K is as brilliant as the i7-4770K, but refined in the areas the 4770K was lacking. Excellent, and of course it wins our OC3D Gold Award.