Desktop users who run computations-heavy applications are always glad to see faster processors but Intel’s latest CPUs have only provided a performance gain of 5 to 10% with each new generation which was ensured by minor microarchitecture optimizations. Their clock rates didn’t change much. This year, Intel didn't manage to bring its Broadwell generation to market and had to rely on increasing clock rates, though. In other words, the new Devil's Canyon series provides the expected 5-10% performance gain but in an unusual way which can be described as "official overclocking".
The increased clock rates are not the only difference, though. Intel also revised the power system and added more capacitors to it. The developer also tried to do something about the high operating temperature associated with Haswell-based CPUs. The improved efficiency of the internal thermal interface translates into a 10°C temperature reduction compared to the original Haswell. Does it make the Devil’s Canyon much more interesting? It depends on your point of view, actually.
Announcing the Devil’s Canyon series, Intel targeted them at overclockers. But we guess that overclockers won't like them. What Intel did to improve overclockability provides but a small practical effect. Out of the two CPUs we tested today only one could work continuously in overclocked mode – and the frequency gain was a mere 100 MHz. The operating temperatures are still as high as before, so overheat remains a serious problem. All of this means that switching to a Devil's Canyon model from an overclocker-friendly Haswell doesn't make sense. In either case you have to remove the CPU's cap and replace the default thermal interface with something more efficient if you are really in for overclocking.
If viewed as ordinary flagship products for the LGA1150 platform, the senior model, Core i7-4790K, looks most attractive thanks to its increased default clock rate. It is Intel's first processor to notch 4 GHz, so it is 10 to 15% faster than its predecessor. Its power consumption and heat dissipation grew but slightly whereas its price is the same as its predecessor’s. Overall, the Core i7-4790K is the fastest quad-core CPU available today and one of the most enticing offers in the top-end market segment. The second new model, Core i5-4690K, doesn’t have such a high default clock rate, yet its price is equal to that of the Core i5-4670K. It will surely find its customer, too.
According to the latest news, the announcement of Intel’s next-generation products codenamed Broadwell is postponed to the second quarter of 2015, so the Devil’s Canyon series is going to be the best offer for the LGA1150 platform for a very long time. They may even remain attractive even after the Broadwell is announced because we are not sure if Intel’s upcoming flagship CPUs will be able to work at such a high clock rate as the Core i7-4790K or will roll back to the traditional 3.5-3.9 GHz. Thus, the senior Devil’s Canyon model looks quite a solid future-proof investment.