Intel reaches 5GHz with new Core i7 chip for gamers

Intel's flagship Core i7-4790K quad-core chip is the company's first to top 4GHz in normal operation

Intel is shipping a new Core i7 chip for gamers that runs at 4.4GHz -- and can be overclocked to 5GHz.

The Core i7-4790K is a quad-core chip based on the Haswell microarchitecture. It draws 88 watts of power and has 8MB of cache, integrated graphics, memory controllers and support for the latest I/O technologies. It also supports multithreading and allow cores to process two tasks at one time.

The chip, now Intel's flagship PC processor, is mainly for gaming and enthusiast desktops.

It's Intel's first chip capable of running at over 4GHz under normal conditions. It can be overclocked to 5GHz in air-cooled systems, said Renee James, president of Intel, during a keynote speech at the Computex trade show in Taipei.

Intel's not the first chip company to reach 5GHz though: Advanced Micro Devices offers FX chips for gamers with clock speeds of up to 5GHz.

Chip makers moved away from cranking up chip clock speeds in favor of adding cores as a way to boost performance about a decade ago. Bumping up clock speeds generated more heat and consumed more electricity. Performance improvements over time have also come by shrinking chips and integrating more components such as graphics cores.

But AMD and Intel haven't given up on clock speed altogether: They continue the battle on their flagship chips with the aim of capturing the performance crown.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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