Intel releases fastest ever Core i7, clocked at 4GHz

Intel has unveiled its fastest ever desktop processor. The Core i7-4790K, introduced today at Computex in Taipei, features four Hyper-Threaded cores all running at a base frequency of 4GHz. Under load, a single core can ramp up to an eyebrow-raising 4.4GHz. The counterpart Core i5-4690K, with a base clock of 3.5GHz, has also been announced.

These “Devil’s Canyon” chips are based on the Haswell core, but upgraded with “next-generation” thermal interface material, enabling faster performance without the need for an upgraded heatsink and cooling system. Additional capacitors have been attached to the CPU package to ensure a strong and stable power supply.

Aside from their operating frequencies, the new chips are functionally identical to the current flagship i5-4670K and i7-4770K models: they feature 6MB and 8MB of onboard cache respectively, and integrated Intel HD 4600 graphics in both models. They’re also both fully unlocked, so anyone wanting to push frequencies even higher is free to do so. Pricing is expected to match the older models when the updated processors go on sale later this month.

Existing motherboards may not support Devil’s Canyon out-of-the-box, however: on 8-Series motherboards a BIOS update may be needed to accommodate the slightly increased TDP of 88W (up from the 84W of standard Haswell parts). All boards based on the new 9-Series chipset will support the new chips, as well as next-generation 14nm Broadwell processors, which are expected to arrive before the end of the year.

Anniversary Pentium

Alongside its new premium chips, Intel has unveiled a new low-cost desktop processor dubbed the “Pentium Processor Anniversary Edition”. Nominally, the release marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Pentium processor – although, as Intel VP Lisa Graff acknowledged at the launch, the first 60MHz Pentium processor in fact went on sale in March 1993.

At any rate, the new Pentium has almost nothing in common with the original: it’s a dual-core design based on the very modern Haswell core, with a 3.2GHz base frequency representing more than fifty times as many instruction cycles per second as its namesake. The 3MB cache is a step up from the 16KB of the original too. Uniquely for a modern Pentium, the chip is unlocked, so enthusiasts on a budget can performance can push performance to the limit.

Like the new Core i7 and i5 parts, the Pentium Processor Anniversary Edition goes on sale this month, although a model number and pricing have yet to be confirmed.

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