Saturday, May 10, 2014

[Rant] Devil’s Canyon?

If you are a PC enthusiast, you must have definitely heard about Devil’s Canyon. What is it? It is a CPU made by Intel, based on the same Haswell architecture that is aimed at PC enthusiasts.

What’s so special about it, for Intel to give it a special name? Intel says, it is a CPU made for overclocking. They say that the thermal interface material (or TIM) inside Devil’s Canyon is better than the “junk” that is in the current line of Haswell CPUs. So, it should run cooler because the heat will be transferred efficiently from the CPU to CPU cooler. So it should give more overclocking headroom. If you didn’t know, the current Haswell CPUs run so hot when they are overclocked – about 20C hotter than Sandybridge.

Is that all?

I sure hope not. I mean, you could do even better by delidding the CPU. One clue as to that there could be more changes in the CPU is that it requires a whole new chipset. The upcoming Z97 chipset. (The new boards will come out on 14th of May). If Intel only replaced the TIM, then there is no need for a new chipset, right?

It seems the new CPUs have a slightly different power circuitry. Look at the following two images. The one on the left is the Core i7 4770K and the one on the right is the Devil’s Canyon chip.


So, something is different. There are some components missing in the current Haswell chips. That’s good.  I hope that would result in higher overclocks. The improved TIM would give – hopefully – Sandybridge like thermals. I’m not sure if the die and the IHS will be soldered as Sandybridge though. That would be perfect. But that would also add cost.

Today, some more news surfaced the internet saying that these Devil’s Canyon chips would come out as Core i5 4690K and Core i7 4790K. Apart from the above mentioned info, the 4790K seems to be further a speed binned chip. It’s not a measly 100MHz speed bump as the other Haswell Refresh parts, but a whole 500MHz speed bump for base clocks. The first consumer chip from Intel to hit 4GHz base clocks. Woohoo! (clock on the following image to view a larger image)


Well, that’s great news, BUT, no enthusiast cares about stock clocks. For example, my 4.3GHz 4770K still is faster than this chip. This chip needs to be able to hit at least 5GHz to call this is a proper overclocking chip. Man, if you can hit 5GHz without causing a meltdown and wouldn’t cost more than $350, we have a pretty sweet CPU at our hands. Though I’m sure Broadwell will best this CPU eventually.

So what do you guys think? Would Intel be able to win back the enthusiasts’ trust? I sure am going to keep a keen eye on these Devil’s Canyon chips (a.k.a Core i5 4690K and 4790K) and would definitely replace my 4770K (which overclocks like crap and runs so hot) if it is a worthy upgrade.

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