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Overview of the processor Intel Core i5-4690K. What is under the cover of Devil’s Canyon? / Processors and memory

So, the middle of this year was marked by the renewal of Intel’s line of processors for personal computers, conducted without the traditional introduction of a new microarchitecture. Emerging problems with the commissioning of 14-nm technology delayed the release of the next generation of Broadwell processors, so Intel had to come out of the situation with the help of Haswell microarchitecture and processors, which are manufactured using a 22-nm process technology. Old Haswell a year ago were replaced with new ones – with increased clock speeds and some other improvements. In itself, such an update is not of great interest, but along the way Intel made a number of high-profile statements about the revision of the attitude towards enthusiasts and that desktop systems of various form factors become henceforth an important item in the priorities of the company. This was the reason for hopes for the recovery of the desktop segment, in which a number of interesting novelties are expected in the short term: Haswell-E eight-core, Broadwell unlocked with built-in graphics of Iris Pro class, and economical Skylake processors with even more powerful graphics core and supporting DDR4 SDRAM. Moreover, some signs of revival in the desktop market can be noted today: the Haswell Refresh processors that appeared in May increased the performance of the current LGA1150 desktop platform, and the new overclockers Devil’s Canyon became a curious option for overclocking systems.

On the pages of 3DNews we also talked in detail about Haswell Refresh (see “Review of Core i7-4790 and Core i5-4690 processors.” What is Haswell Refresh? “), And Devil’s Canyon (see” Core i7- 4790K: testing Devil’s Canyon “). However, the series of our reviews of new Intel products to the present day did not look complete, as she overlooked one of the overclocker’s novelties – Devil’s Canyon’s younger, related to the Core i5 series. Today we will correct this shortcoming. And along the way we will do what only the most radical enthusiasts can do – remove the lid and find out what the new Intel processors differ from their predecessors from the point of view of the entrails.

⇡ # Core i5-4690K in details

A detailed story about the Core i5-4690K will not be too long. This processor, although it belongs to the overclocking family of Devil’s Canyon, does not have an equally impressive set of innovations, like its older brother, Core i7-4790K. The flagship Devil’s Canyon is interesting for three reasons: it has significantly increased clock speeds, it has an improved power scheme with additional capacitors, and a new thermal interface with improved thermal conductivity is applied under the processor cover. The Core i5-4690K has only two key properties left: the new thermal interface and additional capacitors have not gone away, but the frequencies of this processor are quite ordinary. Nominal frequency is set at 3.5 GHz, and in turbo mode with low computational load it can increase to 3.9 GHz. In other words, only the older Devil’s Canyon, belonging to the Core i7 family, was able to take the 4-gigahertz bar, the younger Core i5-4690K in terms of the passport characteristics is similar to the ordinary Core i5-4690 generation Haswell Refresh.

This means that the Core i5-4690K is a four-core Haswell without support for Hyper-Threading technology, which has a 6MB cache memory, a dual-channel controller DDR3 SDRAM an integrated HD Graphics 4600 graphics accelerator and a PCI Express controller for 16 lines. Its specifications (and also the characteristics of other LGA1150 processors with an unlocked multiplier) look like this:

Core i7-4790 K Core i7-4770 ] K Core i5-4690 K Core i5-46 70 ] K
The code name Devil’s Canyon Haswell Devil’s Canyon Haswell
Nuclei / flows 4/8 4/8 4/4 4/4
The technology of Hyper-Threading There are There are No No
The clock speed 4.0 GHz 3.5 GHz 3.5 GHz 3.4 GHz
The maximum frequency in the turbo mode 4.4 GHz 3.9 GHz 3.9 GHz 3.8 GHz
The unlocked multiplier There are There are There are There are
TDP 88 W 84 W 88 W 84 W
HD Graphics 4600 4600 4600 4600
The frequency of the graphic core 1250 MHz 1250 MHz 1200 MHz 1200 MHz
L3-cache 8 MB 8 MB 6 Mbyte 6 Mbyte
Support for DDR3 1333/1600 1333/1600 1333/1600 1333/1600
Technologies vPro / TSX-NI / TXT / VT-d There are No Only VT-d and TSX-NI No
Extensions of the instruction set AVX 2.0 AVX 2.0 AVX 2.0 AVX 2.0
The packaging LGA 1150 LGA 1150 LGA 1150 LGA 1150
The price (in the box / OEM) $ 350 / $ 339 $ 350 / $ 339 $ 243 / $ 242 $ 243 / $ 242

Formally, in comparison with the previous overclocker model of the Core i5 series, the new Core i5-4690K can offer only increased by 100 MHz passport frequencies. In the light of the unlocked multiplier, such a difference is a trifle, so the demand for the Core i5-4690K can be based only on its best overclocking, due to the improvement of the heat sink from the processor chip in the Devil’s Canyon family. By the way, it’s funny that, despite such a frivolous speed increase and the same clock speed as the Core i7-4770K, the Core i5-4690K – again like the Core i7-4790K – has a thermal package at 88 watts, not 84 watts. A logical explanation for this fact is impossible to find.

One would think that for the Core i5-4690K, like the older Devil’s Canyon, the manufacturer has set quite high supply voltages, but no, we did not see anything like that. The sample sent to us worked in nominal value at 1.1 V, and when Turbo Boost 2.0 was activated this voltage increased only to 1.135 V.

The typical real frequency of the Core i5-4690K with active turbo mode and high computational load is 3.7 GHz.

With the release of Devil’s Canyon, overclocking processors for the LGA1150 received support for virtualization VT-d and a set of instructions for working with transactional memory TSX-NI. Core i5-4690K is no exception. However, vPro and Trusted Execution technologies, claimed by corporate users, were bypassed by this processor, unlike its more expensive colleague.

To the above, it only remains to add that customers can get slightly better frequencies and improvements in the thermal interface and processor power scheme for free. Core i5-4690K is officially not more expensive than its predecessor of the same class, so it is likely to be able to easily drive out the Core i5-4670K from the store shelves. However, whether it is worth to worry about the release of a new overclocker processor to the owners of the previous Core i5 with the unlocked multiplier, will depend on the real overclocking potential of the novelty. To his study and proceed.

⇡ # Dispersal

The Core i5-4690K’s Devil’s Canyon series gives hope that this processor has better overclocking potential than the previous Haswell. This idea is imbued with the entire advertising company, deployed by Intel on the occasion of the release of a new generation of processors for enthusiasts. However, do not forget that with the release of Devil’s Canyon, in fact, almost nothing has changed. They are based on the Core i5-4690K including the absolutely same semiconductor crystal of the C0 version as in all other Haswells that were produced during the last year. Therefore, the whole advantage of the novelty is based only on a new internal thermal interface and on a more stable internal power scheme.

On the example of Core i7-4790K we already observed that these innovations in Devil’s Canyon give not too noticeable effect. Operating temperatures in comparison with the results of past overclocker Haswell are falling somewhere by 10 degrees, and the increment to the overclocking potential obtained at this expense does not exceed 100-200 MHz. But from the Core i5-4690K one could expect a little more: this processor has lower rated voltages, and therefore offers more room for variation of this parameter. Plus, the absence of Hyper-Threading technology in it is a good reason for some reduction in heat release.

However, the practice was far from our calculations. Above 4.4 GHz available copy of Core i5-4690K we could not disperse.

All the old problems in the face of the strong heating of the processor core during overclocking and the difficulties with efficient tapping of its heat met us in full growth. So, to ensure the work without failures at a frequency of 4.4 GHz, the processor power voltage had to be increased to 1.275 V, but in this case the temperature under the load almost reached the critical 100 degrees when throttling turns on. That is, further overclocking was simply impossible, at least if we use the LinX 0.6.5 utility as the stability criterion with the support of the AVX2 processor, which is mercilessly warming up the processor. The situation could not save even the Noctua NH-D15 supercooler used in the test system.

Thus, with the example of the Core i5-4690K given to us, Intel clearly demonstrated the fact that Devil’s Canyon is not required to overclock faster than previous Haswell overclockers. The semiconductor core in the new processors has remained old, and with it, Devil’s Canyon inherited all its characteristic negative features from their predecessors.

⇡ # Devil’s Canyon Scalping and Thermal Interface Quality Evaluation

The fiasco with the overclocking Core i5-4690K made us even for a second to doubt whether this processor is really Devil’s Canyon. But no, there can be no doubt: Core i5-4690K has both a new internal thermal interface, and additional capacitors in the power scheme. To see this, it is enough to look at it from below – as expected, additional electronic components appeared on the abdomen.

Left – Core i5-4690K (Devil’s Canyon), right – Core i5-4670K (usual Haswell)

Quite possibly, for the tests we did not get a very good specimen of Devil’s Canyon. But it should be understood that no obvious guarantees of the best – the earlier – no one gave up. And if the overclocking of Core i5-4690K to a modest 4.4 GHz seems unsatisfactory, then you can try to increase its frequency potential by a method that helped well Haswell processors before – removing the processor cover and replacing the internal internal thermal interface with more efficient. Moreover, in our case, this experiment is doubly interesting: Devil’s Canyon has not carried out such experiments, so we do not know anything about the specifics and expediency of dismantling such a processor.

As you know, you can remove the cover from the LGA1150-processor in several ways. The easiest is to move it with effort from the surface of the processor board. The main tool required for this operation is the vice.

The processor is clamped in a vice so that one sponge rests against the edge of the processor board, and the second – into the side edge of the processor cover. Then the screw is twisted, increasing the force until the lid is separated. With a detailed description of this procedure, you can find in our special material “Overclocking Haswell in an adult way: removing the cover and replacing the thermal interface.”

This is the method we applied to the sample Devil’s Canyon, the lid of which was detached from the processor board almost immediately – without serious effort. The number of scalps in our laboratory Haswell inexorably approaches the top ten, and it’s no exaggeration to say that the heat dissipating cover of our Core i5-4690K was much weaker than all its predecessors. It can even be assumed that, along with the Intel thermal interface in Devil’s Canyon, it replaced the sealant that holds the lid on the processor. And if this is the case, then the scalping of Devil’s Canyon will definitely become more secure than before, an event, since the less durable adhesive compound holding the lid reduces the likelihood of damage to the processor during its power disassembly.

A familiar picture opens under the cover of Devil’s Canyon – a gray mass is applied to the processor chip, which acts as a thermal interface. By its shade and appearance, it even seems that it is exactly the same as used in Haswell processors before.

However, Intel says for no reason that Devil’s Canyon uses a new generation of polymer thermal interface material – NGPTIM (Next-Generation Polymer Thermal Interface Material). Differences become obvious, as they say, to the touch. If the old thermal interface material was more like a hardened chewing gum, and from the processor chip it had to literally scrape, then the new one has completely different properties. It is plastic, it does not crumble at all, and it can be removed as a usual high-quality thermal paste – a soft cloth. That is, the announced changes in the internal processor thermal interface of Devil’s Canyon are really real.

After removing the cover, you can pay attention to some change usually hidden from the user’s eye part of the processor board. Additional capacitors appeared not only from the bottom of the processor, but also next to the crystal, which once again emphasizes the essential changes in the power scheme of Devil’s Canyon.

Left – Core i5-4690K (Devil’s Canyon), right – Core i5-4670K (usual Haswell)

However, the main question, the answer to which interested us in the first place, is a test of the effectiveness of NGPTIM. Therefore, we decided to replace the regular Intel thermal paste with other options and compare the temperature of the processor with the temperatures that were observed during the operation of the Core i5-4690K before it was disassembled.

Comparison of temperatures was made after the processor was assembled to its original state (not without the aid of glue on a silicone base), after NGPTIM gave way to other thermal interfaces. As an alternative, three thermoplastics were used: domestic KPT-8, the commonly used Arctic MX-2 and high-performance liquid metal Coollaboratory Liquid Pro. To remove heat in the test system, a new Noctua NH-D15 supercooler installed on the processor via Arctic MX-2 thermal paste was used. The frequency of the processor during these experiments increased to 4.2 GHz, the voltage was set at 1.2 V, and the Turbo Boost 2.0 technology was turned off. The processor was heated by two types of load: the extreme load that is received in the utility of the set of instructions AVX2 utility LinX 0.6.5, and the usual, created by the popular program for transcoding video Freemake Video Converter 4.1.4.

The most important conclusion, which follows from the results obtained: the new Intellectual thermal grease NGPTIM is not very effective with high efficiency. It is, of course, better than that incomprehensible substance that existed in Haswell before, but still it is impossible to call it effective. In fact, it only slightly exceeds the thermal conductivity developed by Soviet engineers in 1974, KPT-8 and does not hold out to cheap, but high-quality Arctic MX-2. And this means that the relevance of scalping Devil’s Canyon is preserved, because the change in these processors of the internal thermal interface can significantly improve their temperature regime. In our case, for example, the replacement of Intel NGPTIM with liquid metal resulted in a decrease in the operating temperatures of the processor cores by up to 16 degrees. And this, obviously, will be quite enough for the processor to get an additional frequency potential available through overclocking.

For example, after we replaced the regular thermal paste with the more successful Coollaboratory Liquid Pro, we managed to push the Core i5-4690K overclock to 4.6 GHz.

Naturally, such overclocking required a stronger increase in the supply voltage. So, full stability in LinX 0.6.5 was confirmed when applying to the processor 1.46 V. By improving the heat dissipation, the temperature remained within acceptable limits, though on the verge. With the regular Intel thermal interface on the possibility of such a serious increase in the voltage could not be thought of.

Иными словами, скальпирование Core i5-4690K с последующей заменой NGPTIM на Coollaboratory Liquid Pro развязывает руки в свободном манипулировании напряжением питания процессора и вследствие этого увеличивает его частотный потенциал. Например, в нашем случае разгон улучшился на 200 МГц. Примерно такой же эффект давала замена штатной термопасты жидким металлом и ранее — в обычных оверклокерских процессорах Haswell. То есть выход Devil’s Canyon не отменяет основного прицнипа: главное орудие радикального оверклокера — это тиски.

Очень жаль, что полюбившаяся оверклокерам в Sandy Bridge бесфлюсовая пайка процессорной крышки к кристаллу припоем на основе индия так и не вернулась в 22-нм процессоры Intel. Если судить по поведению скальпированного Devil’s Canyon с заменой полимерного термоинтерфейса жидким металлом, современные процессоры могли бы стать куда более привлекательным вариантом для разгона. Могли бы, но не стали. Как прокомментировала этот факт сама Intel, к моменту выпуска Devil’s Canyon она не успела перестроить свой производственный процесс для внедрения в него пайки. Но в будущих оверклокерских Broadwell эта эффективная технология теплоотвода, по всей видимости, вернётся. Хочется верить. Ну а теперь перейдем к тестам.

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