Intel recently announced and released their ‘Haswell Refresh‘ processors which are merely higher clocked version of the original Haswell processors launched in 2013. However, there are two very special processors in this new lineup and they are codenamed ‘Devil’s Canyon‘. The Core i5-4690K and Core i7-4790K fall under this category. These are specifically designed with overclockers in mind and are expected to be released next month at Computex 2014. Intel also released their new 9 series motherboards recently and while these new motherboards are backwards compatible with Haswell processors from 2013 and the older 8 series motherboards are compatible with recently released Haswell Refresh processors, the upcoming Devil’s Canyon CPUs are not backwards compatible with 8 series chipset. Intel has told this several times via different presentation decks. However, a recent rumor reveals that motherboards manufacturers might open up the Z87 motherboards from 2013 for the new Devil’s Canyon CPUs.
Physically, there is no difference between the pin layout of Haswell, Haswell Refresh or Devil’s Canyon CPUs which could make or break the compatability with the 8 or 9 series chipsets. However, the Devil’s Canyon CPUs have slightly higher power requirements as compared to other CPUs and Intel has taken these requirements into consideration while designing the 9 series motherboards hence these new processors are not officially compatible with older 8 series motherboards. While talking to Hardware.fr, a motherboard manufacturer reveal that the difference between the power requirements of Devil’s Canyon and other CPUs is only 4 watts which is negligible and they are already validating the new CPUs with the older Z87 motherboards and its turning out to be fine. So if everything stays on track, the motherboard manufacturers might open up the Z87 motherboards for the Devil’s Canyon CPUs. This will not only make customers happy but it will also let the manufacturers clear the Z87 stock they have stuck in the retail channel since the release of 9 series motherboards.
Intel will probably not endorse this but similar things have happened in past. In 2013, Intel had blocked the overclocking ability of ‘K’ series unlocked processors outside the Z87 chipsets. They were not overclockable on H87 and B75 motherboards but motherboard manufacturers found a loophole and enabled the overclocking on H87 and B75 as well. Almost all manufacturers participated in this deed and it turned out pretty well. Most of them even advertised this as a ‘feature’. We tested the ASRock Fatal1ty B85 Killer which has this feature and we were successfully able to overclock our Core i7-4770K on it. Hence, we wont be surprised if Devil’s Canyon CPUs end up being compatible with Z87 motherboards.
However, for now, you should take this piece of information with a grain a salt. We will only know more once Computex 2014 officially starts next week.