A recent upgrade to our Windows 10 test suite gave me the perfect excuse to concurrently upgrade my hardware. Specifically, MSI’s GTX 1080 Armor OC replaces my old GTX 970, and Toshiba’s RD400 256GB NVMe SSD replaces my previous 2.5” model.
Test System Configuration
The higher-clocked Core i7-7700K provides nominal increases in 3DMark performance, mostly because of gains in its CPU Physics tests. Overclocking makes a far greater difference.
Sandra Arithmetic and Multimedia also show appreciable gains for the higher-clocked processor.
Ashes appears to have a slight preference for faster CPU clocks, while F1 2015 responds primarily to the increased memory data rates of our overclocked configurations. F1 2015 results appear different from recent Z170 motherboard reviews because I fixed a previous error in the benchmark’s software configuration.
I also fixed an error in my Talos software configuration, allowing MSI’s GTX 1080 to accelerate well past 200 FPS at our medium preset. Still, FPS gains are fairly small in proportion to clock speed differences.
Incremental improvements in timed benchmarks show the greatest benefit of the Core i7-7700K’s clock increase. Moreover, its improved overclocking capability should put a smile on the faces of die-hard performance enthusiasts.
Heat And Efficiency
Because the Core i7-7700K acts like an overclocked Core i7-6700K, its temperatures increased just like the power increases seen on the previous page. Update: Our first follow-up test has already confirmed a lower temperature delta between the Core i7-7700K and Core i7-6700K when using a different motherboard. A 7.2% clock increase gives it a 7.2% maximum performance increase, which is diminished in benchmarks that aren’t as CPU-constrained.
Intel’s Kaby Lake efficiency pretenses are thrown out the window in the Core i7-7700K, at least when paired with this motherboard. Perhaps we have something to look forward to when Z270 finally gets here?
For true performance enthusiasts, the real news is that Intel’s new mainstream-socket enthusiast CPU will reach new overclocking heights. Unfortunately, getting its extra heat out of the core was quite a challenge, as even stepping up from Noctua’s NH-U12S to its NH-D14 saved a mere 3°C. This overclocking experiment even required a 15°C room temperature, which is something most readers won’t be able to accomplish. Big liquid might help, but since the cooler’s heatpipes were barely warm to the touch, there’s a possibility that 4.8 GHz may be the limit of this sample while using any ambient-temperature cooling solution. Still, the fact that it reached 4.8 GHz without sub-ambient cooling is encouraging.
Other points of interest, such as built-in HEVC and VP9 8/10-bit encode/decode, may be revealed when our CPU team is able to publish their full review. Until then, the extra overclocking capability at least gives performance enthusiasts who don’t yet (or still) own a (functioning) Skylake processor a reason to wait for the Kaby Lake release.
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