Core i7-8700K Review: Coffee Lake Brews A Great Gaming CPU

VRMark, 3DMark & AotS: Escalation

Test Notes

We generated some odd performance results with Intel's Core i7-8700. Despite more conservative specifications and a lower price, it outperformed the flagship Core i7-8700K in some of our gaming benchmarks. We verified our numbers on motherboards from different vendors, and those vendors confirmed that they're seeing what we see.

Initially, our attention turned to Turbo Boost, based on observations from Core i9-7980XE and its unpredictable behavior. But after careful analysis with multiple utilities, we believe the Turbo Boost algorithms are working correctly for both processors.

After recording higher package and core power consumption on the 65W Core i7-8700 compared to Intel's 95W -8700K in certain situations, we also reached out to Intel for comment. Once we have some answers, you can be sure we'll post our findings.

VRMark & 3DMark

We aren't big fans of using synthetic benchmarks to measure game performance, but 3DMark's DX11 and DX12 CPU tests provide useful insight into the amount of horsepower available to game engines.

Futuremark's VRMark test lets you gauge your system's suitability for use with the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, even if you don't currently own an HMD. The Orange Room test is based on the suggested system requirements for current-generation HTC Vive and Oculus Rift HMDs. Futuremark defines a passing score as anything above 109 FPS.

VRMark plays well to Intel's frequency and IPC throughput advantages, and despite Core i7-8700K's lower base clock rate, its higher Turbo Boost frequency helps secure a victory over Core i7-7700K. Locking both processors to the same overclocked settings yields a practical tie.

Synthetics that favor more cores, such as the DX12 Time Spy and DX11 Fire Strike benchmarks, highlight the possibly explosive performance gains we could see from Intel's six-core Coffee Lake models in heavily-threaded games. The -8700K handily dispatches its predecessor. It even beats the high-end Core i7-7800X on an expensive X299 motherboard.

The eight-core Ryzen 7 1800X proves to be a formidable match. Still, we record a smaller delta between the tuned Coffee Lake and Ryzen processors than expected, given AMD's two-core advantage. It looks like Intel's higher clock rates and superior per-clock performance help in this case.

The impressive Ryzen 5 1600X easily beats Intel's Core i5-7600K, which languishes at the bottom of the chart due to its now-stingy quad-core design. The new Coffee Lake-based i5s, wielding 50% more cores, should make that price point more interesting.

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Ashes of the Singularity is a heavily-threaded title that favors the Core i7-8700K's extra cores compared to Core i7-7700K.

Intel's latest outstrips the competition at both stock and overclocked settings, beating Core i7-7700K by a considerable margin in both configurations. Unfortunately, performance in most games doesn't scale linearly, so the -8700K's 50%-higher core count only adds up to a 14% lead out of the box. Nevertheless, that jump is enough for Core i7-8700K to snatch the lead away from Ryzen 7 1800X.

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  • cknobman
    Looks like it might be time for AMD to lower prices.

    AMD really has shaken Intel up, never would I have dreamed (before this year) I'd see Intels best gaming cpu (especially a K model) release at $360.
  • AgentLozen
    AMD's price per core is still very strong. It struggles in gaming at 1080p but Tomshardware didn't provide data in 1440p or 4K.

    I'm not yet convinced that AMD is in trouble.
  • saunupe1911
    Hmmm is it worth a skylake 6700K that's stable at 4.6 Overclock to upgrade? Probably not. I wouldn't mind 6 cores though. I wonder how many will hit 5.0!
  • jroc188
    8700k is $480ca got the R5 1600 for $255ca and mobo for $120ca. $375 all together and more then happy with the gaming results. But the 8700k dose look sweet on the benchmarks. AMD with a price drop will still sell well
  • shrapnel_indie
    Quote:
    Of course, while Intel's accelerated Coffee Lake-S launch makes it look today's unveiling is a direct response to heated competition, in reality, the long incubation period for new processors means it’s more likely the result of 10nm manufacturing delays.


    Ummm... Yeah, the design may have been kicking around, and ready to go before Ryzen, but when it is released months earlier than scheduled.... Saying that it wasn't a response to Ryzen seems more like misinformation more than pure fact. Yeah, I don't doubt 10nm manufacturing delays played a part in the previous release date, but Ryzen forced its release a little earlier than planned.
  • bloodroses
    To AMD fanbois who claimed that Intel was toast and couldn't respond to Ryzen's release, here's Intel's Mic drop. *thud*

    For the rest of us consumers, this is great news for continued strong competition at reduced prices from both companies. :)
  • massacre.h4te
    Nearly 90 degrees Celsius when overclocked gaming on an AiO. Prettttttty toasty!
  • saunupe1911
    1069610 said:
    To AMD fanbois who claimed that Intel was toast and couldn't respond to Ryzen's release, here's Intel's Mic drop. *thud* For the rest of us consumers, this is great news for continued strong competition at reduced prices from both companies. :)


    Z370 motherboards are expensive though...sheesh. And you gotta reach out to liquid cooling companies for attachments for mounting to this socket. Canon Lake may be out before you can get everything situated for a nice 8700k upgrade lmao.
  • FormatC
    2565805 said:
    Nearly 90 degrees Celsius when overclocked gaming on an AiO. Prettttttty toasty!

    The reason is simple:
    The built-in frying fat between IHS and die :)
  • LilDog1291
    1069610 said:
    To AMD fanbois who claimed that Intel was toast and couldn't respond to Ryzen's release, here's Intel's Mic drop. *thud* For the rest of us consumers, this is great news for continued strong competition at reduced prices from both companies. :)


    I don't know if I would call 90C+ on a chiller cooler (granted its a high overclock but the 7700k had the same problem) a mic drop but it is definitely a step in the right direction. If they can get their temperatures under control in the next generation they will win my vote back.
  • FormatC
    @LilDog1291:
    A delidded i7-8700K is around 15-20 degrees cooler. The problem isn't the architecture, but the TIM instead of solder.
  • garba78
    Disappointed :(
  • madmatt30
    @Billy Gatez - Its $360 , amd have no reason whatsoever to drop their prices at the moment.

    The ryzen 1600 is less than $200, Intel don't have an answer to that pricepoint .

    The only chips that should (& will) worry amd is the cheapest locked quad i3 , & the cheapest locked 6 core i5

    Nothing else is relevant to them price wise.
  • JCFca1992
    I have a 6600K which I can't overclock past 4.2ghz without lots of heat (lost the Silicon Lottery).

    I play lots of 64 player BF1 and regularly see 100% CPU usage.

    Is this worth the upgrade long term?
  • Aspiring techie
    I'm waiting to see what happens when AMD releases Ryzen on a better process. Maybe Intel's clock speed advantage will be shrunk.
  • saunupe1911
    482859 said:
    @LilDog1291: A delidded i7-8700K is around 15-20 degrees cooler. The problem isn't the architecture, but the TIM instead of solder.


    90% of consumers aren't purchasing delidded processors. Only extreme enthusiasts.
  • Aspiring techie
    I find it interesting that an 8-core, overclocked Ryzen 7 1800X is using less power than a stock i7 8700K.

    Also, it would be interesting to compare a Kaby Lake i7 vs a Coffee Lake i5 at the same clock rates. Does a 4 core 8 thread CPU beat a 6 core 6 thread CPU?
  • dstarr3
    Well, AMD didn't wear that crown for very long. But thanks to them for shaking up the market!
  • LilDog1291
    482859 said:
    @LilDog1291: A delidded i7-8700K is around 15-20 degrees cooler. The problem isn't the architecture, but the TIM instead of solder.


    Yeah I have thought about delidding my 7700k but if I wanted to do it myself, and safely, I'm looking at an additional $50-$70 right out of the gate to buy the tool and liquid metal. If Intel would only take a page from AMD and solder their IHS like they did in the Sandy Bridge days I would be ordering their CPU on day 1.
  • ingtar33
    this article is filled with subtle comments about all the extra stuff they needed to do to keep this thing from melting through the floor.

    If you had to take all these extra steps on an AMD cpu you'd have written an expose on how hot the chip is. But you just brush it off like its nothing in this article.

    BTW: if you can't run prime95 for half a day stable on an overclock, it's not a real overclock. It's just a silly benching number. Check my sig. Thats a silly benching number. Could I get a fx8320 to run at 5.3ghz? sure, windows booted and i validated it. But could I DO anything with that clock speed? nope. I've seen a number of review sites today post 5.0-5.1 ghz overclock numbers for coffee lake, yet not a single one of them could run a serious prime run on those numbers. Heck, can you even run prime at stock on this chip? I'd like to know that before I consider this chip for purchase to replace my i5.
  • kinggremlin
    I don't understand why the conclusion keeps bringing up you needing to buy a motherboard if you want to use your new cpu. Especially when comparing it to AMD. Is AMD giving away free motherboards with the purchase of a Ryzen CPU? You're going to have to buy a new motherboard regardless of which cpu you decide to go with.
  • FormatC
    2231890 said:
    90% of consumers aren't purchasing delidded processors. Only extreme enthusiasts.
    This is the reason why I hate their TIM and wrote my reply to the other post. I can compare both solutions very often and it makes no sense for me to use this cheap grease. It's Intels built-in brake to stop the end-users and to lower the RMA, nothing else :D
  • Wisecracker
    Chipzilla !

    :lol:

    Unless you're living off a big trust fund or have incredibly low self esteem in need of epeen, 'general computing and gaming' works just dandy on a Kaby i5 or Ryzen 5 --- either with great combos between $300-$400.

    And stay away from overhead power lines ...
  • karma77police
    Best CPU for $350+ price range. Kudos to Intel.