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The Core i7-8086K Review: 40 Years Of x86

Our Verdict

The 40th-anniversary Core i7-8086K is appealing to collectors due to its limited-edition status. It's also a solid choice if you're on the hunt for the utmost in gaming and overclocking performance (and are willing to pay a hefty premium for it).

For

  • Rare moments of 5 GHz operation are exciting
  • Highest-quality Coffee Lake silicon
  • A bit of available overclocking headroom
  • Limited-edition piece of history
  • Fastest gaming processor

Against

  • Imperceptible performance gains vs. -8700K at stock settings
  • No bundled cooler
  • High price

Intel Core i7-8086K 40th Anniversary Model

Intel's 8086, the company's first processor to use its ubiquitous x86 instruction set architecture, debuted on June 8, 1978. Forty years later and by some stroke of fortuitous timing, Intel's desktop CPU portfolio is loaded with eighth-generation Core processors. So it was only fitting, then, that after a bit of prodding by a well-known chip analyst, Intel announced that it'd pay homage to the 8086 with a 40th-anniversary limited-edition Core i7-8086K.

Core i7-8086K is based on the same Coffee Lake architecture as Core i7-8700K, right down to its six Hyper-Threaded cores able to work on 12 threads concurrently. But it features a higher base frequency and more aggressive Turbo Boost bins, which tell us that Intel carefully picked out the best dies to use in these chips. This is the first Intel processor to ship with a 5 GHz Turbo Boost bin, matching AMD's record with the FX-9590. And if you're only looking at clock rate, the -8086K represents a 1000x multiplication of the original 8086's 5 MHz frequency.

Incidentally, the -8086K is also Intel's first six-core processor with a 4 GHz base frequency, though that specification isn't as eye-catching.

Intel kicked off its anniversary celebration with a giveaway of 8086 Core i7-8086Ks. If you didn't win one, you'll have to purchase the processor like we did. Your window of opportunity won't be large, though: our sources confirm a production run of just 50,000 units. We expect collector's items to sport premium pricing, and Intel doesn't disappoint in that department. As of this writing, the -8086K sells for $75 more than the once-flagship Core i7-8700K.

So what is this processor's appeal, other than the obvious nostalgia? Core i7-8086K comes from a higher-quality bin than Core i7-8700K, so enthusiasts with deep pockets can expect to receive the very best example of Coffee Lake silicon available. Of course, most folks won't consider the extra $75 worth paying for moderate gains at stock clock rates. But again, this is a limited-edition piece of hardware steeped in history.

Intel Core i7-8600K

The 6C/12T Core i7-8086K is manufactured on Intel's 14nm++ process, just like its other Coffee Lake CPUs. Like the company's Core i7-8700K, its 95W Core i7-8086K also features 13MB of L3 cache, support for up to 64GB of dual-channel memory at DDR4-2666, an unlocked multiplier to facilitate overclocking, and Intel's integrated UHD Graphics 630 engine that can boost up to 1.2 GHz. For more information about the Coffee Lake architecture, check out our Core i7-8700K review.

FrequenciesBase1234 - 56
Intel Core i7-8086K4.0 GHz5.0 GHz4.6 GHz4.5 GHz4.4 GHz4.3 GHz
Intel Core i7-8700K3.7 GHz4.7 GHz4.6 GHz4.5 GHz4.4 GHz4.3 GHz

The -8086K's real differentiation involves its modified Turbo Boost frequencies. But in an effort to maintain a 95W thermal design power rating, Intel only increased this chip's base clock rate by 300 MHz. Intel also increased the single-core clock rate to 5 GHz. We were able to sustain 5 GHz in tasks confined to a single core, such as Cinebench and LAME. However, the busy scheduling environment in a modern desktop operating system, which finds threads migrating frequently between cores, prevented 5 GHz operation in even mainstream tests like our gaming benchmarks. In other words, don't expect to see 5 GHz very often.

ProductCore i7-8086KCore i7-8700K
SocketLGA 1151v2LGA 1151v2
TDP95W95W
ArchitectureCoffee LakeCoffee Lake
Process14nm++14nm++
Cores/Threads6 / 126 / 12
Frequency Base / Boost4.0 / 5.0 GHz3.7 / 4.7 GHz
Memory SpeedDDR4-2966DDR4-2966
Memory ControllerDual-ChannelDual-Channel
Cache (L2+L3)13.5MB13.5MB
Integrated GraphicsUHD Graphics 630 (up to 1200 MHz)UHD Graphics 630 (up to 1200 MHz)
PCIe Lanesx16 Gen3x16 Gen3
Price$425$359

We've heard reports that some motherboards don't support Intel's 5 GHz single-core Turbo Boost bin. However, updated firmware could fix that in the future. Regardless, it's a shame that Intel didn't port over Turbo Boost 3.0 technology to pin lightly-threaded tasks to the CPU's fastest core. Overclockers might have more luck coaxing higher clock rates from the -8086K: our sample easily stretched up to 5.1 GHz with a bit of extra voltage.

We normally don't cover processor packaging, but it is relevant given the Core i7-8086K's status as a collector’s item. Like all of Intel's K-series SKUs, the -8086K doesn't include a bundled heat sink or fan.

The box tell us us that this is a limited-edition CPU. Intel even includes a certificate of authenticity, along with a signed statement from former CEO Brian Krzanich.


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  • AgentLozen
    Cons:
    -No bundled cooler

    You're saying that if Intel paired their little aluminum heatsink with this CPU you would have been more satisfied with this product?

    I've never heard of this silicon lottery place before. That's neat stuff.
    Reply
  • Yuka
    I'm going to be unfair, but not too much:

    - We doing something for the 40th anniversary? -> Yes.
    - What do we sell for the 40th anniversary? -> A re-branded 8700K.
    - What do we include to make it more expensive? -> A letter from the CEO we most definitely won't be firing in the upcoming weeks! And a weird bottle with coffee beans in it (it seems?).
    - Do we bother in making it special (metal solder, bundled CLC, etc...) or just pick a couple golden sample 8700Ks? -> Don't bother, shrinks our profit; we don't care about the anniversary or making this special, really.

    Too much cynical thought process there?

    Cheers! :P
    Reply
  • PaulAlcorn
    21093123 said:
    Cons:
    -No bundled cooler

    You're saying that if Intel paired their little aluminum heatsink with this CPU you would have been more satisfied with this product?

    I've never heard of this silicon lottery place before. That's neat stuff.

    Touché
    ;)
    Reply
  • mac_angel
    why is it that internet news media no longer uses proof readers or editors?
    Reply
  • ubercake
    I like the article and the page two comparison with the old 8086.
    Reply
  • ingtar33
    so Intel releases 8000 binned cpus for a $100 markup over their basic cpu, plus some crap, however, this release is by lottery only (as in only the lotto winners have permission to buy this chip), and THG does a review?

    seriously?
    Reply
  • mister g
    " But if you go the Silicon Lottery route, expect to pay even more than a brand new Core i7-8086K costs and lose two years of warranty coverage."

    I thought Intel CPUs usually come with a 3 year warranty?
    Reply
  • Math Geek
    21093328 said:
    this release is by lottery only (as in only the lotto winners have permission to buy this chip), and THG does a review?

    seriously?

    think you missed how it went. they did a drawing to give away a bunch of these chips but they also made the rest available for purchase through the normal routs. no lottery there, just have to be quick on the draw and buy one before they sell out. Tom's bought thier's the same way any of us could have since intel did not send out press samples of it. it's a valid product for sale like any other they review.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    21093123 said:
    Cons:
    -No bundled cooler

    You're saying that if Intel paired their little aluminum heatsink with this CPU you would have been more satisfied with this product?

    I've never heard of this silicon lottery place before. That's neat stuff.

    Yeah I noticed that too. Intel hasn't been bundling coolers with its' high end CPUs since the X79 days. I honestly wouldn't count this as a hit against it.
    Reply
  • Krazie_Ivan
    and lets check in with Paul on those 8086k temps...

    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/54/23/5a/54235a5fac7cee9c208e0838115f1752.jpg
    Reply