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Testbed and Methods

We will benchmark the new Devil’s Canyon processors in comparison with their predecessors Core i5-4670K and Core i7-4770K, the top Haswell-based models of the last year. Besides them, we'll throw in an AMD FX-9590. AMD has cut its prices to make its products more competitive, so the senior model FX-9590 is now officially priced at $230 and may be compared with Intel’s Core i5 series.

In order to show you the performance scalability of the Devil’s Canyon processors at overclocking, we will benchmark our Core i5-4690K and Core i7-4790K both at their default frequencies and in overclocked mode (even though their top clock rates are not much higher than the standard ones).

Below is the full list of hardware components we used in our testbed.

  • Processors:
  • AMD FX-9590 (Vishera, 8 cores, 4.4-4.7 GHz, 4x2MB L2, 8MB L3)
  • Intel Core i7-4790K (Haswell Refresh, 4 cores + HT, 4.0-4.4 GHz, 4x256KB L2, 8MB L3)
  • Intel Core i7-4770K (Haswell, 4 cores + HT, 3.5-3.9 GHz, 4x256KB L2, 8MB L3)
  • Intel Core i5-4690K (Haswell, 4 cores, 3.5-3.9 GHz, 4x256KB L2, 6MB L3)
  • Intel Core i5-4670K (Haswell, 4 cores, 3.4-3.8 GHz, 4x256KB L2, 6MB L3)
  • CPU cooler: Noctua NH-D15
  • Mainboards:
  • ASUS M5A99FX Pro R2.0 (Socket AM3+, AMD 990FX + SB950)
  • ASUS Z97-Pro (LGA1150, Intel Z97)
  • System memory: 2x8GB G.Skill [TridentX] F3-2133C9D-16GTX DDR3-2133 SDRAM (9-11-11-31)
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti (3 GB/384-bit GDDR5, 876-928/7000 MHz)
  • Storage: Intel SSD 520 240GB (SSDSC2CW240A3K5)
  • Power supply: Seasonic Platinum SS-760XP2 (80 Plus Platinum, 760 W)

We carry out our tests in Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional x64 with the following drivers:

  • AMD Chipset Drivers 14.4
  • Intel Chipset Driver 10.0.14
  • Intel Management Engine Driver
  • Intel Rapid Storage Technology
  • Nvidia GeForce 340.52 Driver


General Performance

As usual, we use the Bapco SYSmark suite to estimate performance in everyday computing tasks. It emulates a user working in popular office and digital content creation and processing applications. The test produces a single score indicative of the computer’s average performance across different applications. SYSmark has been updated recently, so we use the latest version, SYSmark 2014, for our tests.

The Core i5-4690K is 3% faster than the Core i5-4670K in terms of their clock rate whereas the Core i7-4790K is 14% faster than its predecessor i7-4770K. With these things in mind, we can easily explain the SYSmark 2014 results. The Core i7-4790K is as much as 27% ahead of the Core i5-4690K, which is a much larger gap than between the previous top models of the Core i7 and i5 series. Our overclocking increases the frequency of the Core i5-4690K and Core i7-4790K by 25% and 13%, respectively, so the gap between them narrows to 17%.

Now let’s take a closer look at the performance scores SYSmark 2014 generates in different usage scenarios. The Office Productivity scenario emulates typical office tasks, such as text editing, spreadsheets, email and web-surfing. This scenario uses the following applications: Adobe Acrobat XI Pro, Google Chrome 32, Microsoft Excel 2013, Microsoft OneNote 2013, Microsoft Outlook 2013, Microsoft PowerPoint 2013, Microsoft Word 2013, and WinZip Pro 17.5.

The Media Creation scenario emulates the creation of a video clip out of prepared materials (digital images and videos) using Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended, Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 и Trimble SketchUp Pro 2013.

The Data/Financial Analysis scenario is devoted to statistical and market analysis. It processes a lot of numerical data in two applications: Microsoft Excel 2013 and WinZip Pro 17.5.

The gap between the Devil’s Canyon processors and their Haswell predecessors remains constant across the various applications. Overclocking always gives you a predictable and positive outcome. The difference between the Core i5 and Core i7 depends on the type of load. The Core i7 is known to be superior in content authoring and computations-heavy applications. The Core i5-4690K, in its turn, will suffice for everyday tasks, especially as it only falls 7% behind the Core i7-4790K when both are overclocked to their maximums. The same goes for gaming, but we’ll cover that in more detail in the next section of our review.

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