Intel Core i7-4790 (Haswell Refresh) Review
Some users prefer a processor that can be overclocked, while some are already content with what it can do right off the bat. If you belong to the latter group, then you’ll probably want to take a look at the Intel Core i7-4790 which is one of the many processors in the Haswell Refresh lineup that was launched earlier this year.
What’s in the box?
4th Generation Intel Core i7-4790 processor
Intel E97378-001 LGA1155/1156 Stock Cooler
Aluminum Heat Sink with pre-applied thermal paste
Intel Inside case badge
Manuals and Installation instructions
Overview and Key features
Prior to the launch of the Haswell-E family, the i7-4790 was the raw version of Intel’s flagship processor under the Haswell architecture. It’s not overclock-able like the 4790K, and it has a higher TDP compared to its low-power siblings such as the 4790S and 4790T.
It does, however, share a lot of similarities with the other variants of 4790 including LGA 1150 socket, Intel HD Graphics 4600, L2 Cache (4 x 256KB) and L3 Cache (8MB), as well as support for Intel technologies such as vPro and TXT that are not present on its “K” counterpart.
Specs-wise though, the 4790 doesn’t offer a lot of new things on the table that we haven’t seen on its predecessors (4770 and 4771) apart from a slightly higher stock frequency which is rated at 3600Mhz and higher Turbo Boost speed (4000MHz).
Performance and Benchmark
As one can expect from a top-of-the-line processor, the i7-4790 was able to comfortably handle pretty much whatever we threw its way. Whether we’re gaming on it or using it for fairly demanding productivity software, the processor didn’t buckle even one bit and provided a very respectable performance all throughout.
Intel Core i7-4790 3.7GHz Quad-core processor
Integrated Intel HD 4600 Graphics
ASUS H97-Pro Gamer Motherboard
16GB (4x 4GB) ADATA XPG V2 1600MHz dual-channel DDR3 RAM
256GB Micron C400 SED Solid-State Drive
Antec HCP-1200 80Plus Gold Certified 1200W PSU
Windows 8 Pro 64-bit
Intel HD Graphics Driver (version 126.96.36.199.3907)
Fraps (frame rate measurement)
3DMark 06 (CloudGate, Firestrike (Performance | Extreme) & CPU)
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3DMark 11 (Performance | Extreme)
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CineBench R15 (CPU | OpenGL)
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SiSoft Sandra (Arithmetic, Multi-Media & General Compute)
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PCMark 8 (Creative)
Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 (Basic | Extreme)
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PassMark PerformanceTest 8.0
3D Gaming Performance
In addition to the benchmark tests we performed on the i7-4790, we also tried playing a few games to measure how well can the chip’s iGPU (Intel HD 4600 Graphics) handle such task. Spoiler, it’s nothing to write home about.
GRID Autosport (1920×1080, Medium Settings)
Benchmark Result Analysis / Conclusion
Based on the data we gathered on various benchmark tests that we ran using the i7-4790, we were able to validate two things. First is how pedestrian the performance of the iGPU on this chip and, second, how much firepower each of the 4790’s core can spit out at any given time.
One can probably forgive the lackluster performance of the HD 4600 Graphics on gaming since we would assume that users are most likely to pair this processor with a dedicated graphics card. In fact, scratch that part, you owe it to yourself to purchase a decent GPU if you’re planning to play demanding games with this processor!
Intel Core i7-4790 specs:
Processor Family: Haswell-DT
LGA 1150 Socket
H81, B85, Q85 Q87, H87, Z87, H97 & Z97 Chipsets
3.6GHz Core Clock, 4.0GHz Turbo Frequency
Quad-core processor with eight (8) threads
L2 Cache: 4 x 256KB
L3 Cache: 8MB
Support for dual-channel 1333 / 1600MHz memory modules
Up to 32GB DDR3 RAM
Integrated Intel 4600 HD Graphics
350Mhz Base Frequency, up to 1.2GHz Dynamic Frequency
Supports up to 3 displays
84-watt Max TDP
Support for vPro, Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost Technologies
Intel Virtualization Technology (VTR-d, VT-x & VT-x w/ EPT)
On the brighter side, users will truly be satisfied with what the i7-4790 can offer in terms of processing power. Yes, the 200Mhz and 100Mhz speed bump on the core clock speed and Turbo frequency respectively may make this chip a tough buy for current i7-4770 users, but it should be enough to convince i7 Sandy or Ivy Bridge users to make the jump.
To conclude, the Intel Core i7-4790 is the best locked processor that the chipmaker currently has to offer. The increase in core and turbo frequencies may seem nominal on paper, but should be a welcome addition nonetheless considering that it’s priced the same ($312 Boxed / $303 Tray) as the processor it replaced. It’s also loaded with all the latest and greatest optimizations, tweaks and technologies from Intel which should come in handy for added boost in performance and stability.
Just to reiterate, this processor is intended for users who are, by no means, interested about overclocking. If you have, however, even a slight hint of curiosity about overclocking, then you’re better off getting the 4790K which only costs less than two thousand pesos more.
What we liked it about it:
* Slight increase in core and turbo frequencies
* Decent Turbo Boost frequency
* Excels in CPU-related tasks
* Relatively low power consumption
* Support for Intel XMP
* Doesn’t require high-end RAM for performance boost
What we didn’t like about it:
* Poor iGPU performance in gaming
* Not much to offer from the previous gen
* Somewhat sucky stock cooler
Disclaimer: The Intel Core i7-4790 featured here is provided by ASUS Philippines.