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Intel Core i5-8600K Review: Coffee Lake's Jolting Value

Grand Theft Auto V, Hitman & Shadow of Mordor

Grand Theft Auto V

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Grand Theft Auto V is one of several benchmarks in which a stock Core i5-8600K outperforms the pricier Core i7-8700K. To be fair, we did record a few odd performance results from the -8700K. But after benchmarking two different samples and confirming our findings with motherboard vendors, we're confident that they're correct.

Some games respond better to physical cores than logical ones, leading to Core i5s beating i7s in situations where Hyper-Threading is a liability. But the previous-generation Core i5-7600K trails the i7-7700K by a substantial margin, so Hyper-Threading doesn't seem to be the answer in this case. Other outlets corroborate our results, so perhaps an issue with early firmware/microcode is to blame.

In any case, the Core i5-8600K offers chart-topping performance, and we can see the clear advantage of its extra cores and cache compared to Core i5-7600K.

This title also illustrates the big gains available if you're willing to overclock AMD's Ryzen 7 1700 (though it still falls far behind a stock Core i5-8600K).

Hitman (2016)

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The Core i5-8600K proves to be an exceptionally good value (assuming that our Core i7-8700K samples are actually working correctly); it beats the flagship Coffee Lake model at stock clock rates.

Even overclocking isn't enough to push the Core i5-7600K up to the same level as Intel's stock -8600K.

AMD's Ryzen processors trail the Coffee Lake CPUs. Ryzen 7 1700 at 3.9 GHz does notably compete against Core i5-7600K overclocked to 5 GHz, at least.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

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Unexpectedly, the Core i5-7600K lands ahead of Core i5-8600K in our default and overclocked comparisons.

We did characterize stock performance during this test, and observed both CPUs falling short of their peak Turbo Boost frequencies. This gives the -7600K an advantage due to its higher base clock rate. Kaby Lake also enjoys a slight advantage due to the more aggressive overclock available for a quad-core processor (compared to Coffee Lake's six cores).


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Paul Alcorn

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.