How'd We Do with 20 Core i7-7700K CPUs?
Overclocking potential can vary tremendously from one processor to the next. In order to give you a better idea of what you might encounter, we tested several processors under similar conditions.
All tests were performed with Cinebench R15, before de-lidding. This is not a stable frequency under AVX-heavy software; we'd need to use a -200 MHz offset for stability in those.
Results From 20 Core i7-7700K CPUs
- The worst -7700K we tested would not pass Cinebench R15 at 4.8 GHz using 1.3V.
- Around 25% were not stable at 4.9 GHz using 1.3V.
- Less than 50% pass 5 GHz at 1.3V.
- Around 25% pass 5 GHz at 1.25V or less.
- The best -7700Ks we tested pass Cinebench R15 with 5 GHz at 1.23V.
Those are the results we observed, but there are undoubtedly better samples out there. A diamond in the rough may be on a shelf waiting for your to discover it!
We've heard of enthusiasts seeing 5 GHz at 1.16V. This isn't impossible, but we don't have a Core i7-7700K capable of such a feat. A de-lidded processor or one tested at 10°C requires less core voltage. Certain motherboards can also be slightly less power-hungry. And measurement tools and software must also be trustworthy.
A First Test with Three Core i5-7600Ks
We were only able to test three Core i5-7600K processors. Although the sample number is too small to derive trustworthy statistics, we can get an idea of the possible performance range (even if the real spread is larger than our observations).
- The worst -7600K we tested would not pass Cinebench R15 at 4.9 GHz with 1.28V.
- The best -7600K we tested would not pass Cinebench R15 at 5 GHz with 1.2V.
- The third needed 1.28V for 5 GHz.
We hear you. "1.2V for 5 GHz? That's harsh!" True. But keep in mind that the -7600K does not have Hyper-Threading, so it won't run as hot.
Kaby Lake is Good for Overclocking
We thoroughly enjoyed playing with these Kaby Lake processors. They aren't revolutionary in any way, and performance at a given clock rate is identical to Skylake. But from overclocking point of view, Kaby Lake is attractive from all angles.
Not everyone will reach speeds in the 5 GHz range. However, that should be an attainable goal for the most cooperative -7700Ks. If you don't get lucky with your sample, the introduction of an AVX offset could give your overclock a second chance.
Only you can determine if de-lidding is worth the risk inherent to such a serious modification. If you don't plan on pushing your core voltage beyond 1.25 to 1.3V, you probably shouldn't bother. On the other hand, if you're gunning for a big overclock using aggressive voltage settings, the gain will be much more worthwhile.
If you consider yourself an overclocker, and you were disappointed by the headroom of Intel's past few architectures, Kaby Lake is calling. We promise you'll have some fun with this one!