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

2D & 3D Workstation Performance

2D Workstation Performance

Our GDI/GDI+ tests are used to test two different output methods that can be found in older applications and printing tasks. Today, they, or at least a modified version of them, are commonly used to display the graphical user interface (GUI). They are also great benchmarks for direct device write throughput and memory performance when handling gigantic device-independent bitmap (DIB) files.

Synthetic 2D Benchmarks

We take a look at direct device write throughput first. The graphics driver uses the CPU heavily for this task, but doesn’t employ many threads.

There hasn’t been true 2D hardware acceleration since the introduction of the unified shader architecture, after all. Microsoft's Windows driver model provides a huge obstacle for 2D hardware acceleration as well.

We up the ante by introducing memory to the mix. This is done with the help of the only remaining 2D hardware function: generating the graphics output in memory and then copying it to the output device all at once. The benchmark’s the same as before. We just plot a bitmap in memory, as opposed to sending the information directly to the monitor. The bitmap’s copied to it only once it’s complete. This pushes the CPUs, since they’re no longer platform-bound. The results prove interesting: frequency rules, AMD can keep up, and Skylake-X brings up the rear.

AutoCAD 2016 (2D)

Even though AutoCAD does use DirectX, ultimately it just duplicates every single draw function in software. The results are exactly as expected, and IPC throughput is emphasized due to AutoCAD’s limited scaling with additional cores.

3D Workstation Performance

Most professional development applications have been optimized and compiled with Intel CPUs in mind. This is reflected in their performance numbers. Still, we include them in order to motivate developers to focus their efforts on AMD’s Ryzen processors as well. This would give users more than one choice. The same goes for an emphasis on multi-core processors, at least where that’s feasible and makes sense.

AutoCAD 2016 (3D)

Clock rate trumps core count. Intel’s Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake land fairly close to each other, with clock rate determining the winner. AutoCAD’s performance turns out to be close to that of older games, since it uses DirectX and isn’t really optimized to take advantage of multiple cores.

Cinebench R15 OpenGL

Frequency is (almost) everything in the Cinebench R15 OpenGL benchmark. However, Intel’s Core i7-7800X does better than usual.

Our overclocked Ryzen 7 1800X lands behind the stock configuration, regardless of how many times we re-run the benchmark, and we don't have a good explanation as to why.

SolidWorks 2015

SolidWorks 2015 also emphasizes clock rate. At the same frequency, Coffee Lake and its predecessor end up in the same place. This doesn’t come as a surprise though, since SolidWorks 2015 typically doesn’t use more than four cores. The exceptions are a few very specific tasks, which we’ll see tested when we get to the CPU composite score on the next page.

Creo 3.0

Creo 3.0 paints a similar picture; a high core count just doesn’t provide any benefits when it comes to drafting using real-time 3D graphics output.

Blender & 3ds Max (Real-time 3D Preview)

The Blender and 3ds Max real-time 3D previews yield similar results: frequency is everything. Of course, final rendering is a different story, and we'll get to that shortly.

The 3ds Max results aren’t based on time to completion. Rather, this benchmark generates a composite index based on CPU performance during a set time period.

Catia V6 R2012

This is one of the graphics benchmarks that has been optimized time and again (it’s part of the free SPECviewperf 12 suite). However, it still provides a fairly good measure of CPU performance, with an emphasis on clock rate. Based on the previous benchmark results, you can guess how this story ends.

Maya 2013

At the risk of beating a dead horse, our chart paints a picture we've seen several times already. The real-time 3D output numbers don’t tell a complete story, though. As we're about to see, core count reigns supreme when it comes to final rendering.

What we can say is that two additional cores don't hurt Intel's Coffee Lake-based flagship. That's good news for a six-core chip trying to prove itself against a smaller quad-core design. The test results should only get better from here.

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