Intel announces new overclock-friendly CPUs

March 21, 2014

Intel has announced a new set of processors targeted specifically at people who like to overclock their CPUs. While the last few generations of Intel CPUs have had parts that can be overclocked (the K designation), these were generally expensive and limited in their range.

The new processors are being specifically targeted to what Intel calls “enthusiasts”, saying they are the “heart and soul of the desktop”. The processors go under the “Devil’s Canyon” codename, and offer up to 8 cores and 16 execution threads, as well as support for the new DDR4 memory standard. The most notable change, however, isn’t as immediately visible: the new CPUs will use a much more efficient thermal interface material (TIM) between the actual CPU die and the heatspreader (the metal plate on top of the package). This will allow for much better transfer of heat out of the die itself and into the cooling system (whether a heatsink or liquid cooling solution), allowing for much more stable high-speed overclocking.

There will also be an Intel Pentium Anniversary Edition to mark 20 years of the Pentium brand. While the Core brand has replaced Pentium as Intel’s flagship, the Pentium lives on as an economical low-to-mid-range CPU, fitting somewhere between the Celeron and the Core brands. The anniversary edition will offer a fully unlocked clock multiplier, bringing back the early days of the Celeron, where the cheap processors proved to be much more overclock-friendly than their higher-powered Pentium II brethren.

This enthusiast-friendly approach will also continue into the future with plans for unlocked Broadwell CPUs. Broadwell is the successor to Intel’s current Haswell line-up, however the company has not yet revealed full details of what it will bring. Processors in the Broadwell range will feature Intel’s Iris graphics technology, making them the first overclockable integrated graphics solutions from the company as well.

The new processors should start appearing around the middle of the year.