Core i7-4790K: how Devil Canyon was created

Core i7-4790K: How the Devil Canyon was created

At the Computex 2014 trade show in Taiwan, the first Intel desktop processor to support 4.0 GHz base frequency. The optimization affected only the internal architecture of the processor and left it fully compatible with existing platforms. To install it today at the hardware level, you do not need to change absolutely nothing.

Announced the model Core i7-4790K belongs to the new family of Devil’s Canyon, focused on the most demanding users, hardcore gamers and overclockers. Another name left over from early press releases is Haswell Refresh. It more accurately reflects the essence of the changes.

Core i7-4790K (photo: wccftech.com).

Core i7-4790K (photo: wccftech.com).

The psychological barrier of four gigahertz processors of the Haswell series with the Ivy Bridge-E microarchitecture was overcome before, but only in the turbo mode or during manual overclocking. The increased frequency was set for them for a short time and only for the most loaded kernel.

The platform was named after the eponymous place in Oklahoma, where in 1834 the first formal contact took place between the government of the United States and the lowland Indians.Devil's Canyon hints at the merging of many optimization technologies. Each of them does not look like a breakthrough separately, but together they help the Haswell series processors to become even more efficient.

& quot; Devil's Canyon & quot; inspired Intel employees.

Devil's Canyon inspired Intel employees.

The Devil’s Canyon series has been deeply optimized, with the result that all four cores of the Core i7-4790K are capable of initially running at 4.0 GHz for an indefinitely long time and automatically accelerate to 4.4 GHz as the computational load increases.

Like other processors with the “K” index, the Core i7-4790K multiplier is not blocked. It can take values ​​up to eighty, so if necessary, it is easy to perform manual acceleration by changing the multiplication factor. However, the real situation in which additional overclocking is required for a new processor is hard to imagine. Each of the four cores runs in dual-threaded mode (Hyper-threading technology), so the operating system "sees" eight logical cores. Download them at least half and longer than a few seconds, most users simply have nothing.

Scheduled release of Intel processors for desktop computers (image: 3dcenter.org).

Scheduled release of Intel processors for desktop computers (image: 3dcenter.org).

At a preliminary briefing, Intel Vice President Lisa Graff (Lisa Graff) explained that the Devil’s Canyon micro-architecture was updated in a record short time and under extremely tight restrictions. For the first time the task of such optimization was put to the engineers of the company in December last year.

“We gave our specialists a new goal: we need a CPU, all four cores of which are capable of operating at 4 GHz,” commented Graff. “At the same time, we also asked a lot of limits: forbidden to change the cooling system and socket, set the condition that the new processor should work with our existing chipsets.”

It was a really difficult task, and it didn’t do without small sacrifices. The increase in frequency while maintaining the existing technical process always leads to an increase in heat generation, and the directives of the vice-president are easier to circumvent than the laws of physics. Therefore, motherboard manufacturers are encouraged to release a BIOS / UEFI update in order to take into account the increased TDP from 84 to 88 watts.


Intel Haswell processor core circuit diagram (Image: guru3d.com).

Four watts is that small concession, which was given at the price of deep redesign and expansion of the auxiliary element base. The new processor core is called Haswell-DT Refresh.Intel engineers made a number of modifications in an attempt to squeeze the maximum frequency. They needed to make changes to the package of the processor core and strengthen the substrate. In addition, they added a huge amount of capacitors to provide stable power at higher frequencies and took care of improved heat dissipation.

A weak spot in all cooling systems is a loose contact between the heat-spreading lid of the processor and its core, on the one hand, and the cooler radiator (or water cooling system plate), on the other. The Core i7-4790K is compatible with the previous coolers and CBO for Socket LGA 1156/1155/1150 on the fastener connectors, and a new thermal interface was developed to increase the heat exchange efficiency inside the processor itself.

It has a high thermal conductivity and is not the most euphonious name - NGPTIM, which stands for “Next Generation Polymer Thermal Interface Material”.


Devil’s Canyon’s differences from the original Haswell series (image: pcper.com).

The quad-channel memory controller of the previous record-breaker Core i7-4820K raised its TDP to 130 W, therefore, to reduce heat generation, the Core i7-4790K processor received a dual-channel DDR3-1600 memory controller.

The reasons for using the GT2 graphics core (Intel HD Graphics HD 4600) with twenty pipelines operating at a frequency of 1,250 MHz instead of the expected 1,350 MHz are similar. Among the supported APIs are DirectX v.11.1, OpenGL v.4, and the framework for performing non-graphical general-purpose computing OpenCL v.1.2.

Otherwise, everything remains as before. The list of differences allows us to conclude that the Core i7-4790K is easily installed on existing motherboards with an LGA 1150 socket. Theoretically, the new processor should work correctly with all Intel Lynx Point chipsets presented a year ago.

New technologies in the ninth series of Intel chipsets (image: tweakimg.net).

New technologies in the ninth series of Intel chipsets (image: tweakimg.net).

Among them are the basic chipsets H81 and H87, top-end Z87 and intermediate B85, Q85 / Q87, focused on business applications. Of course, the Core i7-4790K is also supported by the updated Lynx Point chipsets of the ninth series, presented now only in the versions H97 and Z97. However, due to the increased power requirements and lack of time for advanced testing, Intel still officially recommends installing the Core i7-4790K only on boards with top-end Z87 and Z97 chipsets.

End users will be able to purchase a Core i7-4790K in June. Deliveries with a cooler (box) are traditionally available at a price of $ 350 or an option for assemblers (OEM) for about eleven dollars cheaper.

Younger brothers

In addition to the flagship family of Core-i7, updated top models in other processor lines of Intel. Almost simultaneously, Core i5-4690K and dual-core Pentium G3258 processors were announced, the output of which was timed to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the Pentium brand.

The best of today's middle-class Intel processors, the Core i5-4690K, differs from the Core i7 by the lack of support for Hyper-threading technology, so there are only four physical and logical cores. By architecture, it is no different from its older brother, but much more affordable. Its estimated cost is $ 250.

The youngest processor from the updated line Haswell received the name Pentium G3258. A pair of single-threaded cores operates at 3.2 GHz, providing a very comfortable temperature. Most low-profile coolers used for assembling HTPC and other computers in small-sized cases will cope with the level of 53 W TDP.

The integrated graphics of the Pentium G3258 is the simplest: Intel HD Graphics with a GT1 core and a dozen execution units. For non-gaming home and office computers, this is more than enough, and with an estimated price of $ 80, the new Pentium looks very attractive.

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  • Core i7-4790K: how Devil Canyon was created

    Core i7-4790K: how Devil Canyon was created

    Core i7-4790K: how Devil Canyon was created

    Core i7-4790K: how Devil Canyon was created

    Core i7-4790K: how Devil Canyon was created

    Core i7-4790K: how Devil Canyon was created

    Core i7-4790K: how Devil Canyon was created

    Core i7-4790K: how Devil Canyon was created

    Core i7-4790K: how Devil Canyon was created

    Core i7-4790K: how Devil Canyon was created

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