Intel Announces New Devil's Canyon CPU: 4GHz Base Clock, 4.4GHz Turbo Mode

Last year, Intel launched two new processor cores -- the Core i7-4770K, based on the Haswell core, and the Ivy Bridge-based Core i7-4960X. Both chips were incremental updates over their predecessors; Haswell may have delivered impressive gains in mobile, but it failed to impress on the desktop where it was only slightly faster than the chip it replaced. Enthusiasts weren't terribly excited about either core, but Intel is hoping its new Devil's Canyon CPU, which launches today, will change that.

The new chip is the Core i7-4790K and it packs several new features that should appeal to the enthusiast and overclocking markets. First, Intel has changed the thermal interface material from the paste it used in the last generation over to a new Next Generation Polymer Thermal Interface Material, or as Intel calls it, NGPTIM. Hopefully the engineering team was so busy designing the material that it skimped on the branding much for that acronym.

Devil's Canyon NGPTIM

If the new material itself delivers, it could give overclocking performance a much-needed boost. When Intel moved Haswell's voltage regulator on-die it won power consumption advantages for itself in mobile but created an additional hot spot on the die itself. This was only exacerbated when overclocking; higher clocks and voltages drove the FIVR (Fully Integrated Voltage Regulator) temperatures up dramatically. Overclockers reported that removing Haswell's lid could boost clock speeds by several hundred MHz.

The other addition to the Haswell core is a great many additional capacitors, which have been integrated to smooth power delivery at higher currents.

Unfortunately we don't have performance figures to show you quite yet, but Intel has assured us that the chip should be in-channel and available for purchase by the end of June, not the fall release date that has been rumored at some other sites. Pricing is yet to be determined but based on pricing of the current Core i7-4790 and some rumors flurrying about, the new enthusiast chip should retail around $365.  This new chip gives Haswell a nice lift -- if the overclocking headroom delivers on top of that, enthusiasts might be able to hit 4.7-4.8GHz. At launch, high-end Haswell overclockers had trouble getting much past 4.5GHz without extreme cooling solutions or de-lidding the processor.

New Pentium Swings For The Stands

The other new chip launching today is Intel's Anniversary Edition Pentium. Released to celebrate the 20 year launch of the Pentium brand, the G3258 will be clocked at 3.2GHz with two cores (no Hyper-Threading), a 3MB L3 cache, and a fully unlocked multiplier. With an estimated price of $70-$85, this chip could echo the old Celeron cores of the early 2000s, when chips that could match Intel's Pentium II family were going for a relative song.

In this case an overclocked G3258 won't rocket past a Core i5, but an overclocked Pentium could reasonably match a Core i3-4330 depending on top frequency. Until we know more about how Intel has binned these chips we won't be able to say for certain how the two stack up. Also keep in mind that the new Pentiums don't support AVX -- that technology isn't used in most modern applications, but if you have a program that makes use of it you may take a sharper than expected hit to top-end performance.