It's been almost eleven years since Intel released its first quad-core desktop CPU, the stuck Core 2 Quad Q6600, and what a great processor it was. The 65nm quad-core chip worked at 2.4GHz, but at that time boost clocks weren't a thing and CPUs were working on a front-side bus.
Since then, we've seen eight major architectural updates and four shrinkages over a decade. After all this time, Intel still only offers up to four cores on its mainstream processors, the latest of which was released in January as the $ 340 Kaby Lake Core i7-7700K.
Shortly afterwards, AMD did something that we all hoped they would do (even if we weren't convinced they could) by bringing out a highly competitive CPU architecture. Ryzen has certainly disturbed Intel's "business as usual" attitude on the PC market, and since then it has been a firework display.
AMD hit Intel hardest by offering more cores for less money, which was sort of a strategy at Bulldozer, but this time the cores didn't suck completely. IPC performance is slightly below the latest and greatest from Intel, but Ryzen's efficiency is excellent, so AMD doesn't give up here. The biggest advantage Intel currently has is the superior clock speeds, and AMD hopes to address this next year.
Before AMD can do this, Intel strikes back with its eighth generation core series, which Ryzen encounters with cores and many cores. Although Ryzen 7 will continue to have a core number advantage, Intel is now making six cores the standard for its high-end parts. The new Core i5 and Core i7 processors are now equipped with six cores, which will have a significant impact.
Today we have a flagship on hand, the Core i7-8700K, which is based on Intel's new "Coffee Lake" architecture. We also have the Core i5-8400, but we will consider this CPU separately in the coming days. We don't have the Core i5-8600K yet, but we plan to get one shortly. Let's focus on the big guy for now. With six cores and 12 threads, the 8700K is sure to mean business.
Designed to work no slower than 3.7 GHz, a single core is raised up to 4.7 GHz and should maintain an operating frequency of 4.3 GHz under full load. Each of the six-core processors has a 256 KB L2 cache, while there is a much larger 12 MB L3 cache. Intel has given the chip a TDP power of 95 watts and is again using the LGA 1151 socket. However, this can be seen as a second version, which is in no way compatible with previous Kaby Lake or Skylake CPUs.
Prices have been adjusted from 7,700,000 to 8,700,000, which translates into a $ 20 price increase that is a steep $ 360.
This also makes the 8700K $ 60 more expensive than AMD's Ryzen 7 1700, the company's cheapest and unlocked Ryzen 7 part. The 1700X also costs $ 360, but smart shoppers will go for the cheaper non-X model, and I was just as lucky to overclock both to 4 GHz.
In contrast to the high-end desktop Skylake-X parts on the LGA 2066 platform, the new Coffee Lake CPUs continue to use the ring bus and not the mesh interconnect method of the parts with a higher number of cores. This is great news and means that the 8700K maintains the level of strength of the 7700K and should be able to take things to the next level in this category. So without wasting any more time, let's see how this thing works …
Storage and application performance
First, let's look at the memory bandwidth performance. These DDR4 two-channel memory controllers are suitable for a memory bandwidth of 31 to 39 GB / s when using 3200 memory. Please note that all configurations have been tested with the same DDR4-3200 CL4 memory.
First, let's check the memory bandwidth performance. Please note that all CPUs with DDR4-3200 CL14 memory have been tested. With this in mind, it is interesting to note that the Core i7-8700K is a step ahead of the 7700K and is now at eye level with the Ryzen 5 CPUs with a memory bandwidth of around 36 GB / s. That said, it's still about 2 GB / s behind the Ryzen 7 models.
Okay, let's look at the Cinebench R15 results. As luck would have it, after an average of three runs, the 8700K matched the R7 1700 with a multithreaded score of 1423 points. That meant it was 13% slower than the 1800X, but still an impressive result.
What was really impressive is the single core score. This explains how an Intel six-core CPU kept pace with an eight-core AMD CPU. The 8700K offers the same 195-point single-thread score as the 7700K and, in a broader sense, the 7740X. So the 8700K looks pretty solid all around, it also dustes the Core i7-7800X completely, so our condolences if you recently bought one.
In the further course we have PCMark 10 and this gives us an insight into the comparison of the CPUs in more general use case scenarios. The number of cores is not that important for the most part, it's really just about the frequency. For this reason, the Core i7-8700K performs very well and exceeds the 7700K by 5%.
Excel is an office benchmark that can use many threads, especially when running the extreme Monte Carlo simulation. The 8700K is located between the Ryzen 7 1700 and 1800X with a completion time of 2.55 seconds. It is also around 13% faster than Intel's 7800X with six cores.
When testing with VeraCrypt, we find that the 8700K follows the Ryzen 7 1700 this time, although it is still about 10% faster than the Core i7-7800X and 14% faster than the 6-core R5 1600 from AMD.
Next we have unencrypted compression and decompression performance with 7-Zip. The Core i7-8700K clearly outperformed the Ryzen 7 1700 when compressing data, while it was only a fraction slower when decompressed. The 8700K also displaced the 7800X for the compression test.