2nd-Gen Core i7 vs. Eighth-Gen Core i7

Today we dust off our old Sandy Bridge Core i7-2600K test system and combine it with a GTX 1080 Ti to see how well the seven-year-old processor holds up in the latest and greatest PC games compared to Intel's new Core i7- 8700K. We know the 2600K still has some battles ahead, but next year it might finally be time for those with the aging quad-core to do their long-awaited upgrade.

By the end of 2018, the GTX 1080 Ti will likely be replaced by an even faster flagship GPU, and as a result, mid-range GPUs are expected to be fast too, which is likely to require more processing power than the 2600K can offer.

For today's testing, we have almost a dozen titles available for benching the 2600K, and we've tested each game with three different quality presets. The focus will be on 1080p resolution, but we also have some 1440p results, although of course these are more tied to the GPU, but a lot of you seem to be interested in these numbers, so I included them.

Last month we tested the fourth generation Core i7-4770K under the same test conditions and found that it still hangs remarkably well with the powerful GTX 1080 Ti.

Can Intel's much older, second-generation 2600K prove to be just as impressive? Let's jump into the benchmarks to find out …

First, we have Ashes of the Singularity and immediately the 2600K delivered a minimum of 69 fps and an average of 77 fps, making it a little over 40% slower than the 8700K. Surprisingly, overclocking the 2600K to 4.8 GHz was only comparable to the standard 4770K, and although it allowed very playable performance, it was still around 30% slower than the 8700K.

Increasing the visual quality settings with the extreme preset has not changed much. Here the 2600K was 28% slower than the 8700K, so it was still running at a fairly large distance.

With the crazy preset we are mostly tied to the GPU, although the 2600K immediately exceeds the average frame rate. Overclocked performance has increased 22% to 88 fps, and now the 2600K is only about 9% slower than the majority of seventh and eighth generation CPUs.

The last Ashes of the Singularity test was finally done at 1440p, and the edges close a bit more here, but even after overclocking, the 2600K was 6% slower than the more modern Intel processors.

Next up is Battlefield 1 and Boy has the Core i7-2600K at this age, at least when using medium quality settings at 1080p with a powerful, powerful graphics card. It looks pretty slow in these conditions, but then it's seven years old now, so it's really damn impressive. Anyway, here it was again, about 40% slower than the 8700K and even overclocked battles to match the 4770K inventory.

Increasing the visual quality settings with the high preset doesn't change much, the 2600K is still almost 40% slower than the 8700K and only slightly falls below the 4770K after overclocking, which was the most surprising result for me.

Even if the ultra quality settings are enabled, the 2600K is still trodden on – here it was 35% slower than the standard 8700K. If both CPUs are overclocked, the margin drops to an average of 22%, although I should note that the 8700K is GPU limited in this test. The 1% low result is a better indicator of actual performance, and here the 2600K was 34% slower.

However, it's worth noting that most GTX 1080 Ti owners are probably not interested in playing Battlefield 1 with such a low resolution – 1440p seems more appropriate. Here we're even more limited to the GPU, and as a result, the 2600K was only 9% slower than the 8700K when you compare the average frame rate once both CPUs were overclocked. Of course, it's the 1% low that we should really focus on, and in BF1 the 2600K was still 21% slower, which is certainly a notable deficit.

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