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Intel Core i7-8700 Review: Stock Cooler Falls Flat

Civilization VI Graphics & AI, Dawn of War III

Civilization VI AI Test

Civilization's AI test measures performance in a turn-based strategy game and tends to favor per-core performance.

In our Core i7-8700K review, we pointed out that Intel's vanilla -8700 often outperformed the flagship -8700K in our gaming benchmarks. Obviously, those results were difficult to explain, given each CPU's specifications. But the issue persisted for several months (and many motherboard firmware updates). Intel and its motherboard partners have been unable to explain this phenomenon. However, we did notice that it was resolved around the time updates went out for our Spectre/Meltdown patch testing. We still saw a few scattered cases of Core i7-8700 beating the flagship K-series chip, but they're typically results that fall within a margin of error.

Our Civilization VI AI test results are a perfect example. The Core i7-8700 with Corsair's cooler slipped past the Core i7-8700K, but just barely. More important is that you can get -8700K-class performance from the locked model if you don't plan on overclocking.

Civilization VI Graphics Test

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The Civilization VI graphics test shows Intel's Core i7-8700 beating the -8700K by a larger margin. In fact, strong performance put the -8700 on equal footing with a tuned Ryzen 7 2700X, and within striking distance of the overclocked Core i7-8700K.

Separately, we saw the Core i7-7700K about 6 FPS ahead of the -7700. This illustrates the bigger gap between Intel's previous-gen locked and K-series models, attributable to large differences in base and Turbo Boost frequencies. 

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III

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Core i7-8700 almost kept up with the stock -8700K. But tuning Intel's flagship Coffee Lake-based CPU solidified its lead.


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  • AgentLozen
    This CPU doesn't seem to know who it wants to target. Users who are budget constrained would get better value out of the i5 8400. Demanding gamers and power users should be looking at the i7 8700K or Ryzen 2700X.

    In what context does it make sense to buy this CPU?
    Reply
  • Lutfij
    The stock cooler looks like it was given as an April Fool's joke...campaign.
    Reply
  • pensive69
    oh get real!
    stock cooling is always less than prime.
    Reply
  • RyanTodd1
    I brought the processor and so far i havent even begun to hit its limits. I've primarily used it for high end gaming such as the Witcher 3. Very good chip and not too costly either - considering its the new gen. Very happy, only thing is, i wish i have 50 quid more to get the 8700k! Oh well!
    Reply
  • AgentLozen
    RyanTodd1 said:
    Very happy, only thing is, i wish i have 50 quid more to get the 8700k!

    I wouldn't sweat it, RyanTodd1. Your graphics card will be the gaming bottleneck before the CPU is.

    When I got my first computer in 1997, it came with a Pentium II @ 233MHz. There were 266Mhz and 300Mhz models available at the time that I wished I had instead. Looking back 21 years later, I realized that it never made a difference which one I had. I think you'll feel the same way about your i7 8700.
    Reply
  • Fluffy_Hedgehog
    21087259 said:
    oh get real!
    stock cooling is always less than prime.

    *cough*
    https://www.amd.com/system/files/AM4-Wraith-Cooler-Lineup-1920x631.jpg
    http://www.relaxedtech.com/reviews/amd/wraith-max-and-wraith-spire-cooler/2
    *cough*

    you were saying? … yes those are copper plates on those coolers for the 65 and up lineup, yes they do have led and yes thost are actual copper heatpipes on the cooler that comes with the 2700x.

    I know a lot of aftermarket coolers that look and perform a hell of a lot worse than what amd puts in the box.

    it is only intel that puts half an ounce of third grade aluminium on top of their cpus (because they are too cheap to provide anything worthwhile I suppose …) and expects people to purchase actual cooling after the fact raising the total price of a system significantly.
    Reply
  • Ilya__
    21087183 said:
    This CPU doesn't seem to know who it wants to target. Users who are budget constrained would get better value out of the i5 8400. Demanding gamers and power users should be looking at the i7 8700K or Ryzen 2700X.

    In what context does it make sense to buy this CPU?

    I don't really agree. The difference between 8700 and 8700k is almost $100 CAD and yet the performance difference at default clocks is very small. So if I am building a machine for someone that will never overclock, save them some money and/or get the 8700 and get a good cooler instead.
    Reply
  • justin.m.beauvais
    It looks to me that the circumstances where the 8700 overwhelms its cooler are few and far between. For someone looking for great gaming performance, but might not have all the cash needed for an 8700K and cooler, they could get the 8700, not give up much performance, and just get a better cooler later when workloads catch up.

    The benchmarks paint a pretty nice picture of the 8700. I believe you, Tom's, when you say that the cooler can be overwhelmed, but your benchmarks don't really seem to indicate much of a loss when/if it is happening, especially in gaming.

    Honestly though, why don't they differentiate the designation. Intel should have the 8700 at stock 8700K speeds, but just have the K unlocked. It isn't exactly deserving of the 8700 designation if it is clocked 500MHz lower. Just another thing Intel does that irks me.
    Reply
  • RyanTodd1
    21087440 said:
    RyanTodd1 said:
    Very happy, only thing is, i wish i have 50 quid more to get the 8700k!

    I wouldn't sweat it, RyanTodd1. Your graphics card will be the gaming bottleneck before the CPU is.

    When I got my first computer in 1997, it came with a Pentium II @ 233MHz. There were 266Mhz and 300Mhz models available at the time that I wished I had instead. Looking back 21 years later, I realized that it never made a difference which one I had. I think you'll feel the same way about your i7 8700.

    Hopefully this is the case, although tech has come a lot further since 1997! I wasnt even born then! :)

    Reply
  • george_osborne
    For only ~$50 more I will always go with the unlocked processor. Better base frequency, better turbo and the ability to overclock (if so desired).
    Reply