In­tel Core i7-8700K

In­tel Core i7-8700K

HWM (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS - By Koh Wanzi

In­tel’s 8th gen­er­a­tion desk­top pro­ces­sors dropped in Oc­to­ber, but they’re still based on the same 14nm process as the 7th gen­er­a­tion Kaby Lake chips. This marks the fourth CPU gen­er­a­tion that In­tel has stuck with a 14nm lithog­ra­phy process, and de­spite In­tel dub­bing it 14nm++, the fact re­mains that the chip­maker has had trou­ble mov­ing on to 10nm.

But AMD’s resur­gence means that In­tel has had to con­tend with the dual pres­sures of deal­ing with the lim­i­ta­tions of physics, and the grow­ing com­pe­ti­tion from AMD’s ryzen pro­ces­sors.

The In­tel Core i7-8700K may be the answer to that, and it’s Santa Clara’s first-ever main­stream chip to fea­ture six phys­i­cal cores. ryzen up­ended the sta­tus quo by bring­ing ex­cel­lent multi-threaded per­for­mance to a main­stream price point, so in­stead of a more it­er­a­tive up­date in the form of still higher base clocks, In­tel is now adding more cores to its main­stream of­fer­ings.

You’d be for­given for won­der­ing if there was any­thing new when the Cof­fee Lake chips were an­nounced. And con­sid­er­ing that there aren’t any ma­jor ar­chi­tec­tural changes com­ing from Kaby Lake, this might seem at first like a rather lack­lus­ter up­date from In­tel.

But that over­looks the

boost that the ex­tra cores give the Core i7-8700K. AMD still has the core count ad­van­tage, but In­tel is clos­ing the gap in terms of multi-threaded per­for­mance, at this price point, while still main­tain­ing bet­ter sin­gle-threaded per­for­mance and an in­struc­tions per cy­cle (IPC) ad­van­tage.

The ex­tra cores don’t come free though, and the Core i7-8700K’s TDP is up slightly to 95W, from 91W on its pre­de­ces­sor. That’s a small jump on pa­per, but you’re likely to see a larger dif­fer­ence while over­clock­ing or even when just stress­ing the CPU.

Price is also up slightly to US$359, com­pared to the US$339 that the Core i77700K de­buted at.

Per­for­mance-wise, the In­tel Core i7-8700K to the over­all lead in SYS­mark 2014 Se, likely thanks to its high Turbo Boost 2.0 speed of 4.7GHz and rel­a­tively ro­bust mul­ti­threaded ca­pa­bil­i­ties. It was roughly 11-per­cent quicker than the Core i7-7700K, a mod­est im­prove­ment for yet another gen­er­a­tion of 14nm pro­ces­sors. In ad­di­tion, it was 26-per­cent faster than the ryzen 7 1800X, de­spite both chips hav­ing rel­a­tively sim­i­lar base clocks. In­tel does have a sig­nif­i­cantly higher max­i­mum boost clock – 4.7GHz ver­sus 4.2GHz – but given that the Core i5-8600K was also quicker than the ryzen 7 1800X, it’s likely that In­tel edged ahead be­cause of its higher IPC.

In Cinebench r15, the ryzen 7 1800X was just 14 -per­cent faster than the Core i7-8700K, a much nar­rower lead than the 65-per­cent ad­van­tage it holds over the Core i7-7700K. In­tel has closed a lot of ground in just a sin­gle gen­er­a­tion, and it con­tin­ues to reign supreme in terms of sin­gle-threaded per­for­mance, where the Core i7-8700K was 23-per­cent quicker than the ryzen 7 1800X.

When it comes to games, things are more of a mixed bag. The Core i7-8700K isn’t markedly faster than the Core i7-7700K, and it would be ac­cu­rate to say that the two are more or less on par, at least for the vast ma­jor­ity of GPU-bound ti­tles.

How­ever, CPU-bound games like Ash­e­softhe Sin­gu­lar­ity: es­ca­la­tion will see more of an im­prove­ment at lower set­tings and res­o­lu­tions, where the CPU is the lim­it­ing fac­tor.

Hav­ing said that, the main im­prove­ment com­ing from the Core i7-7700K would ap­pear to be the far more ro­bust multi-threaded per­for­mance, as op­posed to any must-have leap in gam­ing ca­pa­bil­ity.

In ad­di­tion, In­tel says the Core i7-8700K should of­fer slightly bet­ter over­clock­ing head­room, and we found that to be true. We man­aged to get the Core i7-8700K to 5.13GHz, com­pared to the 5.04GHz on the Core i77700K, which net­ted a nice 17-per­cent in­crease in Cinebench’s multi-threaded bench­mark.

In­tel has also added con­trols for per-core over­clock­ing, so you get finer grained con­trol over the fi­nal over­clock.

Another thing to note is that there’s no back­ward com­pat­i­bil­ity with In­tel Z270 boards, so you’ll need a new Z370 board to run Cof­fee Lake. Changes in­clude an im­proved power de­liv­ery de­sign, tweaks to the CPU pack­age power de­liv­ery, as well as tighter mem­ory rout­ing for the higher DDr42666 mem­ory spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

A pow­er­ful gam­ing chip that de­liv­ers strong multi-threaded per­for­mance for stream­ers and en­thu­si­asts.

The Core i7-8700k uses the same LGA 1151 socket as the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion, but will only work with new Z370 chipset moth­er­boards.

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