Semiconductor giant Intel is set to release its first 4GHz microprocessor "within weeks". The new part will potentially kick-start the so-called "gigahertz wars", the competition between Intel and its rival AMD to see who can produce the fastest x86-compatible microprocessor.
The new Core i7-4790K "Devil's Canyon" will be the first of three LGA1150 form-factor parts based on the Haswell micro-architecture.
The full specification of the part is as follows: four cores with hyper-threading, 4.4GHz Turbo Boost clock speed, 8MB cache, 88 watt thermal design power (TDP), integrated HD Graphics 4600 core, running at up to 1,250 megahertz.
The chip will represent the first time that the 4GHz barrier has been broken in a mainstream part - especially since Intel called time on the speed wars with AMD almost exactly 10 years ago in May 2004, when it cancelled further development of the NetBurst micro-architecture and planned microprocessors codenamed Tejas and Jayhawk.
Instead, Intel and AMD focused on integrating more cores within single chips, as well as technologies such as Hyper-Threading, in order to provide more power to users via increasing clock speeds.
According to specialist microprocessor website XbitLabs, the parts will also better facilitate over-clocking, which will please many enthusiasts.
"The central processing units in the Devil's Canyon family will feature unlocked multiplier and improved thermal interface between the actual dies and heat-spreader, which should greatly improve overclocking," claimed the website.
It continued: "Many enthusiasts have complained about thermal interface of Intel Core i-series 4000-family Haswell chips and accused it of limited over-clocking potential."
While AMD can claim to have broken the raw 4GHz barrier first, raw clock speed is today a less important determinant of performance than it used to be.
AMD has shipped the FX-9590 microprocessor that clocks at 4.70GHz in default mode, but can run at 5GHz in turbo mode, for almost a year.