Core i7-7800X vs. 7700Okay, 6 or Four Cores for Gaming?

Although we consider AMD's Ryzen 5 1600 to be the sweet spot for people building a new high-end gaming rig, many of you who are interested in Intel have wondered if it makes more sense to use the Core i7-7700K or buy the new 7800X?

We expect so many to ask this question because the Core i7-7800X only costs ~ $ 70 more and gives you two more cores, but also access to the latest desktop platform from Intel. There are other cost considerations that we will discuss later.

Before we jump straight to the comparison benchmarks, let's take a quick look at what the two Intel CPUs have to offer on paper.

Intel Core i7-7800X Intel Core i7-7700K
Cores / threads 6/12 4/8
Fundamental frequency 3.5 GHz 4.2 GHz
Increase frequency 4.0 GHz 4.5 GHz
TurboMax frequency 4.0 GHz 4.5 GHz
L2 cache 6 MB 1 MB
L3 cache 8.25 MB 8 MB
PCIe traces 28 16
Storage configuration Quad channel Double channel
Maximum memory support DDR4-2400 DDR4-2400
TDP 140 W. 91 W.
socket LGA 2066 LGA 1151
RRP $ 390 $ 340

The 7700K immediately has a clear advantage in terms of clock speed, although I will also overclock both CPUs for complete testing purposes.

In addition to the apparent number of cores, perhaps the biggest difference between these models is the cache design. The 7800X has 6x more L2 cache, but roughly the same amount of L3 cache. Of course, the 7800X also packs 50% more cores and thus the TDP was increased by a little more than 50%.

We tested 30 games, all of which were played on the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. The 7800X was configured with 32 GB DDR4-3200 in four channels, while the 7700K was equipped with 16 GB two-channel memory. We tested both processors both in stock and overclocked – the 7700K was set to a relatively easy to reach value of 4.9 GHz, while the 7800X was set to 4.7 GHz.

Continue with the results …

First of all, we have World of Tanks, not a particularly demanding game, but I'm throwing pretty much everything we normally test on these CPUs. Here we immediately see that the 7700K is 9% faster than the 7800X – not a big margin, although it was surprising that the 6-core CPU still couldn't keep up with the 7700K when overclocking. This is not a CPU-intensive game anyway, and since we always push over 100 fps, the edges are a bit irrelevant.

Grand Theft Auto V is often used to test CPU performance. Here are some unexpected results. If we compare the minimal result, we see that the 7700K is 30% faster than the 7800X. Overclocking reduced this margin to 18%. However, given the difference in clock speed after overclocking, this is a huge win for the quad-core CPU.

Even when overclocking, the 7800X is still slower than the standard 7700K, 10% slower when you compare the minimum frame rate.

Since this is a popular title at the moment, I thought why not throw it in the mix. If you're playing with a dual-core or low-end quad-core and things aren't going well, you don't have to spend a lot of money investing in the 7800X. You will see almost 30% more performance after using my 7700K.

The Witcher 3 is often referred to as CPU-intensive game and it is to a certain extent. Still, the 7700K is more than capable of getting the most out of the 1080 Ti in this title, and here we see almost the same performance across the board.

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