I7 8700k intel
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Intel Core i7-8700K review
With Coffee Lake processors like the Intel Core i7-8700K, Intel had to up the core count on its mainstream processors. This was absolutely necessary, and franky, it’s hard to imagine what would have happened if Team Blue didn’t put out something like the Intel Core i7-8700K in light of how AMD has redrawn the battle lines with Ryzen and Threadripper.
And, so, here we are.
The Intel Core i7-8700K is easily the best processor in the Coffee Lake lineup, with 6-cores, 12-threads and higher core clocks than any of the AMD Ryzen chips. After using this processor for a week, Team Blue’s 2017 flagship is everything we could ask for, even more than a year later: with otherworldly gaming performance and hyperthreading numbers that put the first generation Ryzen chips in their place. It even overclocks like a champ.
Cores: 6 Threads: 12 Base clock: 3.7Hz Boost clock: 4.7GHz L3 cache: 12MB TDP: 95W
Pricing and availability
Priced at $359 (about £270, AU$460), the Intel Core i7-8700K takes on AMD’s best Ryzen 7 processors including the $399 (£319, AU$499) 1700X and $499 (£399, AU$649) 1800X.
Even if this CPU has two fewer cores than its Red-colored rivals, the 8700K pulls ahead with higher base and boost clocks of 3.7 and 4.7GHz, respectively.
A hexa-core mainstream processor is a big step forward for Intel, who previously placed anything with more than four-cores within its high-end-desktop (HEDT) E- and X-series ranges.
Speaking of, the hexa-core Skylake-X Intel Core i7-7800X may come close in price at $379 (£349, AU$495), but those X299 motherboards will cost a bit more than the new Z370 chipset. And, if you’re thinking about moving up to Coffee Lake Refresh, you’ll certainly have to pony up for a new motherboard, as older Z270 platforms, don’t support the 9th-generation’s higher power delivery demands.
While we’re adding up all the extra costs, bumping up the core count has resulted in a small price premium. Its predecessor, the Kaby Lake Intel Core i7-7700K, was a bit more affordable at $349 (£299, AU$459).
GPU: Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti (11GB GDDR5X VRAM) RAM: 32GB Vengeance LED DDR4 (3,200MHz) Motherboard: Asus ROG Strix Z370-E Gaming Power Supply: Corsiar RM850x Storage: 512GB Samsung 960 Pro M.2 SSD (NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4) Cooling: Thermaltake Floe Riing 360 TT Premium Edition Case: Corsair Crystal Series 570X RGB Operating system: Windows 10
The Core i7-8700K brings Intel’s multi-core performance up to and well above the high benchmark Ryzen has set this year.
This chip soundly overtook AMD’s competing Ryzen 7 1700X in Geekbench 4, with a score several thousands of points higher – by extension, this makes the previous-generation Intel Core i7-7700K’s multi-core numbers look like a joke.
What’s even more impressive is Intel’s latest part beat the pants off its predecessor in all our single-core tests, too.
All of this processing power also ends up helping the 8700K convert video as fast as some of the industry’s most overpowered CPUs, like the Intel Core i9-7980XE and AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X – though these aforementioned chips will still win any hyper-threading race through sheer brute force.
When it comes to gaming, in our testing, there’s not going to be a huge improvement over last generation. Compared to last year’s Core i7-7700K, the shiny new hexa-core CPU increased frame rates across the board, with the greatest improvements seen in titles running at Full HD and Ultra quality settings.
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Features and chipset
Intel worked some black magic to squeeze 18 cores into the tiny Intel Core i9-7980 XE, and some of that witchcraft has found its way into the Intel Core i7-8700K. Rather than packing in two more cores than we ever saw on Kaby Lake, the processor package hasn’t grown by a single millimeter.
While that’s impressive, it’s also slightly annoying that this new generation of CPUs still demands us to buy into a whole new motherboard.
However, the Z370 isn’t actually much of an improvement over last-gen’s Z270 chipset. It still only supports dual-channel memory and, out of the 40 available PCIe lanes, only 16 are directly connected to the processor. The other 24 PCIe lanes share a single DMI 3.0 connection to the processor – which means you can only squeeze out the full potential of two GPUs – or one graphics card and two M.2 NVMe SSDs.
Thankfully, Z370 does have a silver lining of adding official support for DDR4 2,666MHz memory – up from the 2,400MHz frequency seen on Z270 – and improved power delivery for some of the greatest overclocking we’ve seen on a mainstream processor.
Overclocking and heat
Obviously, with a core count increase comes the inevitable rise in power consumption. However, we weren’t expecting the Intel Core i7-8700K to be twice as power hungry as its Kaby Lake predecessors. Still, at idle, the 6-core chip sips electricity at an average of five wats, way less than the 12 watts the AMD Ryzen 1700X gulps, so Intel hasn’t completely abandoned energy efficiency.
On the flipside, the 8700K is more than happy to soak up extra current and push itself beyond its rated maximum 4.7GHz frequency.
We easily achieved a 5.0GHz frequency across all the cores just by giving the processor an extra 0.02 volts of juice, and only saw the maximum temperature jump to 85-degrees Celsius and 152.84 watts of power consumption. Another extra dab of juice allowed us to further clock up the Intel Core i7-8700K to 5.1GHz across all cores without significantly detrimental effects.
Pushing the six-cores to 5.2GHz unfortunately proved to be too unstable to even get Windows 10 to load properly. While this might seem disappointingly short from the 8700K’s maximum speed of 4.7GHz, we’re impressed with how little extra heat and power demands overclocking created.
At the end of the day, the Intel Core i7-8700K stays relatively cool, maxing out at just 76 degrees, while operating normally and comfortably under a Thermaltake triple radiator as its cooling blanket. The only time it got a bit hot under the covers was when we overclocked the processor to that 5.1GHz mark, where it reached a peak temperature of 87 degrees.
Intel Core i7-8700K proves Team Blue is still the top dog in the processor world. Coffee Lake is a clear improvement over Kaby Lake with impressively higher single-core and multi-core numbers, and ever-so-slightly better gaming performance. What’s more, the staggering hyper-threading performance puts it well above AMD’s octo-core Ryzen processors and even into the realm of some high-end desktop (HEDT) parts.
The Intel 8700K gets a little hotter and more power hungry than we would like, but that was somewhat expected with the bump up in cores. What we didn’t expect as a pleasant surprise was the ease of overclocking the processor to 5.1GHz, not to mention the relatively low-impact of doing so.
The toughest pill to swallow out of all of this is having to get a new motherboard to even use Coffee Lake-S. But, if you’re willing to spend the money to upgrade both components, the Intel Core i7-8700K is the best mainstream processor on the market, and it comes with all the bragging rights of having the highest benchmark numbers in its class.
Intel Core i7-8700K Review Leaks Out - Beats The i7-7700K In Gaming
There have been two embargo breaks in the last 24 hours, first Intel had to let reviewers publish the 8th Generation desktop processor details two weeks earlier because the information was out already and now, one of the top Chinese tech sites, Expreview, has leaked out the entire review of the upcoming Coffee Lake flagship processor, the Core i7-8700K.
Intel Core i7-8700K Review Leaks Out – The Fastest Processor For Gaming, 7% Faster Than The Core i7-7700K In Gaming at Same Clocks
So the review tests the Intel Core i7-8700K in several scenarios against the Core i7-7700K and the Core i7-7800X. The thing to note is that the Core i7-8700K is designed for the mainstream platform but since the core count has been bumped up to 6 on the flagship, the comparison with the HEDT Core i7-7800X makes a lot of sense. Comparison with the Core i7-7700K is also worth noting as the Core i7-8700K replaces the older flagship mainstream CPU at just about the same price while being better in every possible way. Before we point out the benchmarks, lets take a look at the specs for the Core i7-8700K.
Intel Core i7-8700K – The Coffee Lake Flagship With 6 Cores and 4.3 GHz Boost Across All Cores
The Intel Core i7-8700K will be the flagship processor of the lineup. It will feature 6 cores and 12 threads. The chip will be compatible with the LGA 1151 socket on the Z370 chipset only. The chip will be Intel’s first hexa core product and will be based on the 14nm process node.
In terms of clock speeds, we are looking at a 3.7 GHz base frequency which boosts up to 4.3 GHz (6 core) and 4.7 GHz (1 core). These clocks are really impressive so we can expect much faster gaming performance on Coffee Lake parts than the current generation of CPUs. The chip is fully unlocked allowing for overclocking and comes with a TDP of 95W. There’s 12 MB of L3 cache on board along with a GT2 tier iGPU. The chip supports DDR4-2666 MHz memory (native) and up to 4400 MHz+ (OC). The Intel Core i7-8700K will cost $359 US at launch. You can check out the full Intel 8th Gen desktop processor coverage over here.
Intel Core i5-8600K – The Gamer Aimed Hexa Core With Overclocking Capability and 4.3 GHz Boost
The Intel Core i5-8600K is the second unlocked chip in the lineup and features a hexa core design. We have learned that the Intel Core i5 series will stick with 6 cores but they will not feature a multi-threaded design. The chip probably features 9 MB of L3 cache while being supported on the LGA 1151 socket.
In terms of clock speeds, we are looking at 3.5 GHz base, 4.2 GHz (6 core), 4.3 GHz (1 core) boost clocks. The chip will feature a TDP of 95W and the pricing will be set at $257 US which is just a few bucks over $242 US Price of the Core i5-7600K making it a great option for gamers who want some extra cores inside their rigs. You can check out the full Intel 8th Gen desktop processor coverage over here.
Intel Coffee Lake 8th Gen Desktop Core Lineup:
|CPU Family||Coffee Lake-S||Coffee Lake-S||Coffee Lake-S||Coffee Lake-S||Coffee Lake-S||Coffee Lake-S||Coffee Lake-S|
|Base Clock||3.60 GHz||4.00 GHz||2.80 GHz||3.60 GHz||3.20 GHz||3.70 GHz||4.00 GHz|
|Boost Clock (Max)||N/A||N/A||4.00 GHz||4.30 GHz||4.60 GHz||4.70 GHz||5.00 GHz|
|Boost Clock (6 Core)||N/A||N/A||3.50 GHz||4.40 GHz||4.20 GHz||4.30 GHz||4.30 GHz|
|L2 Cache||1 MB (256 KB per Core)||1 MB (256 KB per Core)||1.5 MB (256 KB per Core)||1.5 MB (256 KB per Core)||1.5 MB (256 KB per Core)||1.5 MB (256 KB per Core)||1.5 MB (256 KB per Core)|
|L3 Cache||6 MB||6 MB||9 MB||9 MB||12 MB||12 MB||12 MB|
|Socket Support||LGA 1151||LGA 1151||LGA 1151||LGA 1151||LGA 1151||LGA 1151||LGA 1151|
|Price||$117 US||$168 US||$182 US||$257 US||$303 US||$359 US||$429 US|
The Intel Core i7-8700K vs Intel Core i7-7700K vs Intel Core i7-7800X CPU Benchmarks
Like mentioned before, there are several scenarios used for testing the processors. We are looking at stock, overclocked and clock for clock comparisons between the three different processors. Now bear in mind that all three CPUs are basically built on the same architectural DNA. The 7700K has the Kaby Lake architecture which is a refreshed version of Skylake that came before it. Similarly, the Core i7-7800X is built on the Skylake architecture but adds some HEDT features such as Quad channel memory, higher PCIe lanes and the new Mesh interconnect. The Core i7-8700K is based on by far the most optimized version of the 14nm process node known as 14nm++ but the underlying architecture is same as Skylake and Kaby Lake.
The Intel Core i7-8700K has several frequency ranges on the amount of functional cores. They are as follows:
- Intel Core i7-8700K 6 Core Clock Speed – 4.3 GHz
- Intel Core i7-8700K 4 Core Clock Speed – 4.4 GHz
- Intel Core i7-8700K 3 Core Clock Speed – 4.5 GHz
- Intel Core i7-8700K 2 Core Clock Speed – 4.6 GHz
- Intel Core i7-8700K 1 Core Clock Speed – 4.7 GHz
First up, the benchmarks compare all three processors at the stock configured clocks and scores resulted in tests indicate that the Core i7-8700K is 1.67% faster than the Core i7-7700K in Single and 42.49% faster in multi-threaded tests. The Core i7-8700K is up to 11% faster than the Core i7-7800X but HEDT offers more than 20% performance uplift in multi-threaded application tests due to quad channel memory and AVX-512 instruction set giving it a good lead in Sandra 2017 bench suite that largely affects the overall score.
Intel Core i7-8700K CPU Synthetic Application and Office Benchmarks Test at Stock Clocks
Intel Core i7-8700K CPU Gaming Performance Benchmarks at Stock Clocks
In office application tests, the Core i7-8700K is 8% faster than the Core i7-7700K and 7% faster than the Core i7-7800X. The most interesting results that users are willing to see is the gaming workload performance and here, the Core i7-8700K is 2% faster than the Core i7-7700K and 5% faster than a Core i7-7800X clocked at stock frequencies. Games that love a high number of fast cores take a big advantage but we were told that performance will further increase as new BIOSs roll out for boards in the coming week.
Intel Core i7-8700K CPU Synthetic Application and Office Benchmarks Test at Same Clocks
Intel Core i7-8700K CPU Gaming Performance Benchmarks at Same Clocks
But what happens when all three chips are clocked at the same frequency? At 4.5 GHz, the benchmark results show that all three processors deliver the same single-threaded performance but the multi-threading performance goes up to 45% over the Core i7-7700K in general benchmarks. When tested in games, the similar clocked processors deliver very different results. The Core i7-8700K leads across all benchmarks with a 7-10% gain over the Core i7-7700K and Core i7-7800X.
These leaked benchmarks and the review overall shows an early look at the Core i7-8700K CPU performance numbers and is looking really great for new PC builders, especially gamers requiring more cores on Intel’s mainstream platform. There are some key metrics yet to be detailed such as the power consumption numbers, overclocking and temperature. We will have our review out on the official launch date of 5th October so stay tuned.
[UPDATE] – Just a few hours after the first review got leaked, this second one has popped up from PCOnline who have done a more detailed comparison of the Core i7-8700K and Core i5-8600K in several benchmarks against the older 7th Gen Kaby Lake and AMD Ryzen processors. The results in all tests are posted below:
Intel Core i7-8700K and Core i5-8600K CPU Benchmarks
Intel Core i7-8700K and Core i5-8600K Gaming Benchmarks
Note: Games are in the following order: (Civilization VI, Tomb Raider, Ashes of The Singularity, Ghost Recon Wildlands).
Intel Core i7-8700K and Core i5-8600K Power Consumption and Thermal Tests
Intel Core i7 8700K review: Coffee Lake beats Ryzen, but proves games don’t care for cores
The Intel Core i7 8700K CPU was the first processor from Intel’s 8th generation of chips. And, despite the myriad rumours of future Core i9 octa-core CPUs, and refreshed lower-end variants, the vanguard of Coffee Lake is still an intriguing proposition. The CPU benchmarks are in, so how does it compare to AMD’s Ryzen?
Now the new AMD Ryzen 2 CPUs are making life rather uncomfortable for top Intel gaming CPUs. With this chip topping out at 12 threads and its main rival hitting 16 threads it’s got a fight on its hands. But the 8700K represented the first genuinely relevant Intel processor launch since AMD got back into the CPU game with their Ryzen chips back in 2017 and was the first of its standard desktop chips to give us more than four cores in our rigs.
Of course, we had the mine’s-bigger-than-yours playground scuffle between the ultra-enthusiast (read: willy-waving) server-derived Threadripper and Core X parts, but they represent such a tiny percentage of the processors us normal humans will buy that they’re essentially supercar-like chips for the super-rich.
Well, except the poor li’l hexcore i7 7800X. That’s turned out to be more like a kit-car, with the body of a Lamborghini Countach and the engine of a Mini Metro, because this hot Intel hatchback chip had it beat on the drag strip less than three months after launch.
Pricing has settled down now, as stock filtered back into the channel, with the Core i7 8700K now shipping for $347 (£313).
Intel Core i7 8700K specs
These Intel 8th Gen, Coffee Lake CPUs are the ones meant to form the bedrock of our gaming rigs for the next year (give or take a few months) and they’re a great barometer of the processor market circa 2018. The fact that Intel introduced a new generation of chips less than a year after the 7th Gen Kaby Lake CPUs shows its unwillingness to cede the mainstream market to AMD’s multi-core Ryzen offerings. The 8th Gen wasn’t meant to launch last year; Intel pulled in pretty much every single CPU release since AMD unveiled their Zen processor architecture, and getting an early start on Coffee Lake was worthwhile given that the AMD Ryzen 2 CPUs landed in April this year.
Coffee Lake, represented here by the top processor in the Intel 8th Gen lineup, the six-core i7 8700K, is a necessary reaction by the chip giant to its rivals massively upping the core-count of its latest processors. But it’s almost just a temporary bandage for Intel’s CPU range while it continues to struggle with its main focus, getting those darned 10nm transistors functional, affordable, and reliable.
The big news for the Intel Coffee Lake range is that this is the first time the mainstream core-count has been boosted in nearly ten years. The Core i7 8700K is the six-core / 12-thread flagship for the 8th Gen, delivering another pair of full Intel cores compared with the quad-core / eight-thread Core i7 7700Kreleased in January 2017.
It is, however, still essentially the same base architecture as the Kaby Lake – and therefore Skylake – processors we’ve already seen. There are some minor revisions, with a more mature 14nm production process, laughably referred to as 14nm++, and the extra cache those two extra cores bring with them. But at the heart of this is a further optimisation of the same aging Intel Core architecture we’ve been using for a good few years now.
|Core i7 8700K||6||12||3.7GHz||4.7GHz||12MB||95W||$359|
|Core i7 7700K||4||8||4.2GHz||4.5GHz||8MB||91W||$350|
|Core i7 7800X||6||12||3.5GHz||4GHz||8.25MB||140W||$389|
|Core i7 8700||6||12||3.2GHz||4.6GHz||12MB||65W||$303|
|Core i5 8600K||6||6||3.6GHz||4.3GHz||9MB||95W||$257|
|Core i5 7600K||4||4||3.8GHz||4.2GHz||6MB||91W||$243|
The clockspeed has both been dropped and boosted in terms of the base clock and Turbo frequencies. While the outgoing 7700K sported a 4.2GHz base, the 8700K has a surprisingly low 3.7GHz clockspeed out of the box. That’s doesn’t tell the whole story, however, as the maximum Turbo frequency has been boosted from 4.5GHz on the top Kaby Lake core to 4.7GHz. Those are only the maximum speeds you’ll see when a single core is stressed as opposed to what you’ll see in terms of all-core speeds.
It breaks down so the CPU’s dual-core max speed is 4.6GHz, the quad-core is 4.4GHz, and in our MSI Z370 Pro Carbon we had the 8700K sitting pretty at a standard 4.3GHz when we were pushing all of its six cores to their limits.
Elsewhere it’s pretty much the same story as with Kaby Lake. We’re still talking about the same 16 lanes of PCIe 3.0 support from the CPU itself, with a further 24 on offer from the Z370 chipset, and the same LGA 1151 CPU socket. Well… kinda.
The Z370 chipset does use the same socket as Kaby Lake and Skylake’s Z270 and Z170 chipsets respectively but there is no inter-compatibility between them. You can’t yet buy a Coffee Lake CPU and drop it into your existing 200- or 100-series motherboard, or vice versa. On the surface that seems like an arbitrary, artificial restriction put in place by the chip maker to force people into an unnecessary upgrade. But, in reality, I think it was an absolute necessity because Coffee Lake had to beat Ryzen.
The new socket has been designed specifically to deliver the extra power those six-core CPUs demand over the old quad-core design. A quick look at the TDP rating of 91W vs. 95W between the Kaby and Coffee Lake processor might have you performing an incredulous spit-take, but this extra power was never about the stock performance of the relative CPU generations, it’s all about overclocking.
The original Coffee Lake engineering samples were tested using the Kaby Lake chipset, which would indicate the new processors could still run on a Z270 board if Intel wanted to. But if I were a betting man I’d gamble that a Z270 wouldn’t be capable of delivering the overclocking performance the Coffee Lake processors need to in order to match AMD’s eight-core and six-core Ryzens. The 8700K needs all that improved, consistent power delivery the Z370 is pushing its way.
If Intel hadn’t created the overclocking support for Coffee Lake they would represent nothing more than a six-core version of Kaby Lake. That would probably not be enough to convince people the Core i7 8700K was still worth a look in the face of the cheaper Ryzen 5 1600X and its six-core / 12-thread configuration. At least with the 300-series chipset they’ve got more serious overclocking chops to offer too.
It’s still rather galling that the non-K-series, and lower core-count, parts remain incompatible with the last-gen chipsets. But I guess once Intel had made the decision to limit one part of the Coffee Lake puzzle to the Z370 it had to stick to its guns and refuse access to the other chips too.
Intel Core i7 8700K benchmarks
PCGamesN Test Rig: Asus ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming, Nvidia GTX 1070, 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4, Corsair HX1200i,
It’s all going to be different now, with Intel shipping a hexcore CPU in the mainstream market, it’s going to make all its old Core i7 quad-core / eight-thread chips look utterly laggard, right? Yeah, you probably see where I’m going…
If nothing else, the 8700K is capably highlighting exactly how much difference having six cores over four cores actually makes when it comes to gaming. Practically none. Put cheek-by-jowl with a Kaby Lake 7700K – itself hardly a revolutionary chip – there’s almost nothing to choose between them. In fact, at stock settings we actually see a couple of instances where the higher-clocked Kaby Lake CPU delivers a few extra frames per second.
I – foolishly, it turns out – thought the DirectX-12-based Hitman and Rise of the Tomb Raider might deliver some performance differential because of the extra cores, but neither they, nor the Vulkan-powered version of Doom, could offer any multi-core succour.
The only game that really shows any genuine benefit from the extra Coffee Lake cores is the DX12 version of Civilization VI. This is game which greedily gulps down as much CPU power as you can feed it. While the performance of the other titles in our benchmarks is far more reliant on the pixel-pushing prowess of your graphics card, Civ VI takes full advantage of every bit of hardware you have to offer it.
So, as far as Intel’s claims about it being it being its best gaming CPU go, it’s a bit of a stretch. Civ’s increased performance isn’t really enough to make us go weak at the knees over the potential frame rate increases it could offer. Certainly anyone sitting on a 14nm i7 has no reason to be worried.
There is, of course, still Intel’s latest buzzword: mega-tasking. Can you feel that acid taste burning at the back of your throat? Yeah, that’s mega-tasking. Makes me want to rip out my own intestines so I’ve got something to loop over the rafters and string me up once I kick away the stool.
Anyways, mega-tasking is the abhorrent term Intel uses to mean gaming, recording, and streaming at the same time. For the ultra-niche that potentially makes the extra four threads of the 8700K a more interesting prospect than the old 7700K was. Maybe not as interesting as AMD’s much cheaper, still six-core / 12-thread Ryzen 5 2600, or an equivalently priced eight-core / 16-thread Ryzen 7 2700X, though. Not at stock clockspeeds at least.
Ah yes, Ryzen. The 2600 has the same core configuration as the more expensive Core i7 but Intel’s historic per-core gaming performance is still in evidence with Coffee Lake. But it’s getting to the point, with increased DirectX 12 support from modern games, where there isn’t such a huge difference between the Intel and AMD gaming results any more. Certainly not when there’s a pretty hefty price differential between them.
On the straight CPU performance metrics, however, Intel’s new chip has far more going for it. Its stock performance is well in advance of the AMD processor’s maximum overclocking results, with the Cinebench rendering and X264 video encoding tests highlighting where the Intel architecture has got the goods. It’s the same story looking at the compression and extraction figures too, with the 8700K taking a third less time to compress a 5GB folder of mixed media and 13% quicker at extracting the same thing.
And when you throw in the mouth-watering overclocking performance of the Coffee Lake chip you get performance that bests even the $320(£278) Ryzen 7 2700X, well in gaming anyways. But that’s why Intel had to get the peak overclocking performance into the new platform, and had to lock out any hope of getting a Coffee Lake CPU running in a 200-series motherboard. They needed the extra power because they hadto beat Ryzen.
Intel Core i7 8700K verdict
Intel’s Coffee Lake lineup has been created with a very clear objective: beat AMD’s Ryzen processors and do it quickly. To that end they’ve pulled in the launch date of this 8th generation of their Core architecture so they arrive before the end of the year and have finally delivered the first Intel hexcore to the mainstream end of the market. But while they’ve largely succeeded in their key objectives, that’s both a boon and a detriment to the Core i7 8700K.
The six-core / 12-thread i7 is capable of outperforming the best the eight-core / 16-thread AMD’s Ryzen 7 can offer, once you pull some overclocking shenanigans. The cheaper Core i5 8600K does the same job on the Ryzen 5 2600, despite having half the thread-count. That’s all great, but it has come at the cost of cross-generational compatibility, and only really bests the Ryzen 2 chips by the smallest amount.
It’s likely this need to best Ryzen, at all costs, which resulted in the latest chips not being compatible with the 200-series boards that launched at the start of the year. Because they needed that overclocking performance Intel required a new chipset capable of delivering enough power to get those extra cores well over 5GHz.
It also means we’re essentially looking at a stop-gap solution, another 14nm ‘optimisation’ on the way to potential octacore CPUs next year sitting in a new Z390 chipset. As Intel’s capability to deliver consistent die-shrinks is on the decline, the rate at which top-end chips are being replaced seems to be rapidly increasing. The i7 8700K has arrived, cannibalising the 7th Gen processors in both standard and Core X-series trim.
I’d feel bad for Kaby Lake, only allowed ten months of life, if it didn’t represent such an utterly uninspiring set of CPUs. I do feel much worse for the Skylake-X mayfly, the Core i7 7800X, which lasted a scant three months in the wild before being castrated by its makers, and most of all I feel for anyone who spent actual money on getting that chip into their X299 rig. I don’t feel sorry for any of the mugs who bought either the i7 7740X or i5 7640X, however, they deserve everything they get… except for sympathy.
But what does this impressive Coffee Lake core upgrade mean for gamers? Almost nothing. Only Civ VI delivers any performance boost over the Kaby Lake i7, showing once more how little relevance an increased thread-count has for most gamers. The i7, then, is overkill for us, more so than with any previous Intel generation. It’s also likely to rather expensive with global stock shortages likely to artificially inflate the price of the entire Coffee Lake range.
But still, the fact remains that your new Coffee Lake i5 is able to deliver more than enough performance for our gaming needs, and so does the much cheaper Ryzen 5 2600, so that’s where the smart money goes.
Intel Core i7-8700K: Overclocking, Cooling & Temperature
First, we established the Core i7-8700K’s limits by cooling the chip's IHS to a constant 20°C, side-stepping potential thermal bottlenecks imposed by Intel's unfortunate use of thermal paste between the die and heat spreader. We made it all the way to 5.0 GHz without any problems. This didn't surprise us, given our experiences with Kaby Lake. At 5.1 GHz, we booted into Windows and ran a couple of games, but the processor called it quits when we tried to run Cinebench.
We’d like to point out the possibilities enabled by manual load-line calibration. Depending on the motherboard, different levels and presets are available, or the voltages can be manually adjusted for some experimentation. In this way, the core voltage can be reduced significantly without losing a whole lot of performance (so long as your chip plays along). For the motherboard we tested, the effective voltage was between 1.18V and a maximum of 1.28V when running Prime95 at stock frequencies. This lowered the package’s temperature by almost 8°C.
Unfortunately, many memory kits run into trouble if the load-line calibration is set too low; the result is general instability. CPU quality plays a key role as well. In our particular case, this affected our 5.0 GHz overclock, which didn’t hold up over time. All of the games and some of the workstation applications ran for hours without any problems, but Creo 3.0 and some of the HPC tests crashed after a few minutes.
The 5+ GHz overclocking stories are exciting, to be sure. But remember that most of them aren't validated for long-term reliability. We'd rather drop the clock rate by 100 MHz and not have to deal with intermittent crashes.
Looking at our power consumption and performance graph, we see a bend at ~4.8 GHz. Power use continues increasing with higher clock rates, but the Cinebench score levels off. A failure to continue scaling at 5.0 GHz is a good indicator that our CPU is throttling. It simply cannot dissipate heat quickly enough.
At idle, the differences in power consumption are fairly marginal. All of the processors end up just about where we'd expect based on previous reviews. AMD's Ryzen processors draw significantly more power than the Intel competition because their idle clock rate is a bit too high.
The new Intel CPU’s average power consumption in applications that combine 2D and 3D loads (like AutoCAD) is in line with the performance we observed.
The processor ends up in almost the same place during our gaming loop.
The finishing order changes dramatically once we fire up an AVX stress test with all cores running at their top Turbo Boost bins. During rendering, we were seeing the -8700K's stock power consumption at 110W, climbing to 133W under a 5 GHz overclock.
AVX without offset pushes the result as high as 170W. The Core i7-8700K at 4.9 GHz even throttles due to its package temperature. And that's in spite of our compressor cooler's efforts! Thermal paste under the IHS does us no favors.
Here’s the good news: unless you render or run Prime95 for hours on end, a good air cooler can theoretically handle 4.8 GHz in a well-ventilated case. Intel’s thermal interface material isn't desirable, but it shouldn't stop you from achieving a decent overclock.
The above graph shows that a closed-loop liquid cooler is able to keep an overclocked Core i7-8700K from throttling after 20 minutes of warming up. A good heat sink and fan combination should perform almost as well, again, given ample airflow.
Under our stress test, the overclocked processor gets uncomfortably hot, even under our compressor cooler.
While we're only measuring an average of 170W, thermal throttling keeps the 180W+ peaks from becoming our average power consumption result. At that point, even the most powerful coolers have to throw in the towel.
To be sure, it's surprising just how much power such a tiny processor can consume once it’s pushed to its limits. Nevertheless, Intel’s Core i7-8700K is relatively easy to cool, even on air. You'll just want to stay away from taxing rendering sessions and AVX-optimized workloads. At that point, you're best off with an all-in-one closed-loop liquid cooler.
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Intel Core i7-8700K vs i7-8700T
|Effective Speed Effective CPU Speed||75.9 %||91.5 %||Faster effective speed.+20%|
|1-Core Avg. Single Core Mixed Speed||115 Pts||136 Pts||Faster single-core speed.+18%|
|2-Core Avg. Dual Core Mixed Speed||226 Pts||268 Pts||Faster dual-core speed.+19%|
|4-Core Avg. Quad Core Mixed Speed||430 Pts||515 Pts||Faster quad-core speed.+20%|
|8-Core Avg. Octa Core Mixed Speed||657 Pts||838 Pts||Faster octa-core speed.+28%|
|64-Core Avg. Multi Core Mixed Speed||788 Pts||1049 Pts||Much faster 64-core speed.+33%|
|1-Core OC Single Core Mixed Speed||123 Pts||155 Pts||Faster OC single-core speed.+26%|
|2-Core OC Dual Core Mixed Speed||244 Pts||308 Pts||Faster OC dual-core speed.+26%|
|4-Core OC Quad Core Mixed Speed||477 Pts||605 Pts||Faster OC quad-core speed.+27%|
|8-Core OC Octa Core Mixed Speed||779 Pts||983 Pts||Faster OC octa-core speed.+26%|
|64-Core OC Multi Core Mixed Speed||950 Pts||1214 Pts||Faster OC 64-core speed.+28%|
Market ShareBased on 20,768,655 CPUs tested.
|Market Share Market Share (trailing 30 days)||0.03 %||2.1 %||Insanely higher market share.+6,900%|
|User Rating UBM User Rating||54 %||136 %||Hugely more popular.+152%|
|Launch Date Launch Date||Q2'18||Q4'17|
|Cache Cache||12 MB SmartCache||12 MB|
|Instruction Set Extensions Instruction Set Extensions||Intel® SSE4.1, Intel® SSE4.2, Intel® AVX2||SSE4.1/4.2, AVX2|
|Embedded Options Available Embedded Options Available||Yes||No|
|Recommended Price Recommended Customer Price||$303.00||N/A|
|Thermal Solution Specification Thermal Solution Specification||PCG 2015A (35W)||PCG 2015C (130W)|
|PCI Express Configurations PCI Express Configurations ‡||Up to 1x16, 2x8, 1x8+2x4||Up to 1x16 or 2x8 or 1x8+2x4|
|More specs »||More specs »|
This processor has less performance than the i7-8700/i7-8700K, but it has a lower TDP, producing less heat, and being more energy efficient. [Jun '18 opr445]
The i7-8700K is Intel’s latest, top of the range, 8th generation Coffee Lake processor. Like Kaby Lake and Sky Lake before that, Coffee Lake is based on Intel’s 14nm architecture which has been slightly optimized on each iteration. Following AMD’s modus operandi, Intel has upped the cores and threads across the range of their CPUs. In previous generations, a 6-core processor would have been a high-end desk-top (HEDT) processor, however the i7-8700K is the first Intel CPU with 6 cores and 12 threads to be classified (and priced) as a mainstream consumer processor. Specifically, the i7-8700K features a base clock speed of 3.7 GHz which boosts to 4.7 GHz (4.5 GHz for the previous generation i7-7700k), 12MB of smart (L3) cache and 2 channels of DDR4 RAM. The majority of the performance improvements over the 7th generation stem from the higher core count which results in a 50% increase in multi-core speed between the i7-7700k and i7-8700k. A new motherboard will need to be factored into the budget when upgrading to the 8700K as it requires a new Intel Z370 chipset which has supposedly been designed to better deliver power to CPUs with a greater number of cores. Also available in this latest release of CPUs is the 6 core 6 thread i5-8600k which is a more rational option (around $100 cheaper) for the vast majority of users that don’t require hyper-threading. Sandy bridge owners can finally justify an upgrade but with the next iteration of AMD's Zen architecture just around the corner the CPU market will be a lot faster moving now that Intel, once again, has to compete. [Sep '17 CPUPro]
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