If you're interested in gaming and application performance, they're up next (feel free to skip forward). We also include power and efficiency testing after the gaming and application tests.
Intel has recommended Power Level 1 (PL1 — boost power), Power Level 2 (PL2 — sustained power), and Tau (boost duration) variables for all of its chips. Still, motherboard vendors are free to exceed those recommendations, even at stock settings, to differentiate their motherboards. As such, performance has long varied by motherboard based on the respective power settings. Our standard policy is to allow the motherboard to exceed Intel's recommended power limits, provided the chip remains within warrantied operating conditions.
As such, be aware that our stock settings reflect performance with lifted power limits to reflect the experience most enthusiasts will encounter, provided they top the chip with a capable cooler. We've used the Corsair H115i 280mm AIO liquid cooler for our tests, but be aware that lesser coolers will result in lower performance.
You can consult the charts above for test results highlighting the differences in performance, power, clock rates, and thermals for three operating modes: Stock settings with no power limits enforced, stock settings with power limits enforced, and an overclocked configuration (your mileage will vary based on cooling capabilities and power delivery).
We derive the performance measurements in the first two slides from a geometric mean of the performance measured during the benchmarks listed in the charts. As we can see, enforcing the Core i7-11700K's power limits results in slightly less performance in multi-threaded work, but we're looking at less than a 1% delta, meaning the chip already runs pretty hard inside of its power limits. As a result, unlocking the limits does little to boost performance. That leads to interesting results in the rest of the slides. We see little difference in single-threaded work, and once again, we see the common Rocket Lake trend of enforced power limits resulting in slightly faster performance in lightly-threaded work.
Per our normal routine, we put AMD's boost clocks to the test in both single- and multi-threaded workloads (methodology here). To keep the charts 'clean,' we only plot the maximum and minimum frequency recorded on any one core during the test. The lightly-threaded tests step through ten iterations of the LAME encoder, then single-threaded POV-Ray and Cinebench runs, PCMark 10, and GeekBench.
There really isn't much to chew over here. The 11700K performs exactly as we expect and frequently reaches its 5.0 GHz boost clock.
|Average Power (Watts)||Peak Power (Watts)|
|Power Limits Enforced||119W||188W|
|Power Limits Unlocked||150W||261W|
|5.0 GHz All-Core Overclock||223W||283W|
The multi-threaded series of tests runs the Corona ray-tracing benchmark, several HandBrake runs, POV-Ray, Cinebench R20, and four different Blender renders.
Things are a bit more interesting in the multi-threaded tests. We don't see much of a performance improvement from lifting the power limits — the tests, which consist of a fixed unit of work, finish in roughly the same amount of time — but as you can see in the table above, we do see a big increase in power consumption. Keep in mind that increase in power yields less than 1% more performance, at least with our motherboard. That's a terrible tradeoff.
Overclocking the Core i7-11700K proved to be a bit more challenging than we expected, as we couldn't exceed a 5.0 GHz all-core overclock in a stable configuration. Try as we might, 5.1 GHz was elusive, so we settled for a 5.0 GHz overclock with a 1.43V vCore, load line calibration at Level 6, and a -2 offset for AVX2 (+2 over stock) and -3 offset for AVX-512. We also tuned the memory to DDR4-3600 with 14-14-14-36 timings in Gear 1. As you can see in the album above, overclocked power consumption peaked at 283W, but temperatures were manageable (AVX offsets help) at an average of 76C with a 94C peak.
|Intel Socket 1200 (Z590)||Core i9-11900K, Core i5-11600K, Core i7-11700KCore i5-10600K, Core i7-10700K, Core i9-10850K|
|ASUS Maximus XIII Hero|
|2x 8GB Trident Z Royal DDR4-3600 - 10th-Gen: Stock: DDR4-2933, OC: DDR4-4000, 11th-Gen varies, outlined above (Gear 1)|
|AMD Socket AM4 (X570)||AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, Ryzen 7 5800X, Ryzen 5 5600X|
|MSI MEG X570 Godlike|
|2x 8GB Trident Z Royal DDR4-3600 - Stock: DDR4-3200, OC: DDR4-4000, DDR4-3600|
|All Systems||Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3090 Eagle - Gaming and ProViz applications|
|Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti FE - Application tests|
|2TB Intel DC4510 SSD|
|EVGA Supernova 1600 T2, 1600W|
|Windows 10 Pro version 2004 (build 19041.450)|
|Cooling||Corsair H115i, Custom loop|
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