As usual, we have the deep-dive Coffee Lake coverage in our Core i7-8700K Review: Coffee Lake Brews A Great Gaming CPU review, but for those of you without the time to sift through all 13 pages, we've condensed all of our gaming results to give you a cheat sheet of sorts on Intel's new halo product.
Coffee Lake has arrived, and after nearly a decade of quad-core doldrums in Intel's mainstream desktop space, the company finally decided to bulk up its Core i7, i5, and i3 series. Intel added two more cores to each of the families and also increased the Turbo Boost frequencies to the highest an Intel chip has seen. Better yet, those increased resources come with a minimal price increase over the Kaby Lake models for the unlocked K-series chips, and the same price for the locked models. We can thank AMD for that.
We also have articles that compare Intel's full Coffee Lake lineup to Kaby Lake and a full breakdown of comparisons to AMD's beefy Ryzen stable.
So, if you whip out your wallet for Intel's six-core, 12-thread flagship and a new motherboard, what does that give you on the gaming front?
This. Our 99th percentile FPS chart provides a geometric mean of the results, converted into an FPS measurement, of all the games in our test suite. That single figure boils the story down pretty nicely, although we've also provided the performance results in each game so you can see how the Core i7-8700K fares in your favorite titles.
Despite a few missteps, the Core i7-8700K lives up to Intel’s claims. Although it doesn't beat the -7700K by a massive margin, the Coffee Lake flagship does deliver better performance in stock and overclocked form. AMD's Ryzen processors still offer competitive pricing and solid gaming performance, but Coffee Lake's gaming performance widens the gap considerably.
Intel's additional cores speed up performance in threaded tasks, which will also be a boon for the streaming crowd, but the faster Turbo Boost (up to 4.7 GHz) maintains the company's advantage in single threaded titles, albeit with a few cases of a slight step back from the Kaby Lake processors.
But bleeding edge performance is only part of the equation. We demand good value--a point AMD drove home with its speedy Ryzen lineup. Intel has obviously taken note, and the additional cores comes without radical price increases. Overall, the Core i7-8700K represents a solid value for those who demand the ultimate in performance, and the lesser Core i5 and i3 SKUs also look promising for the more pragmatic among us.
The Core i7-8700K is simple to overclock and won't require exotic cooling solutions unless you're chasing the bleeding edge, which makes it a fun chip for enthusiasts.
Altogether, the Core i7-8700K is the nimblest gaming chip we've tested, and it also offers surprising performance in our full suite of application tests. As we noted in the review:
Intel has its 10nm Cannon Lake processors coming in the second half of 2018, and AMD has a Ryzen refresh cycle coming next year. Knowing this, should you upgrade now or wait for the next wave of hardware? Due to the iterative nature of most updates, we rarely recommend jumping forward one, or even two generations. However, if you routinely find yourself running productivity workloads that might be served well by Core i7-8700K's extra cores, we could see replacing a quad-core chip with six cores. Gamers interested in maximum performance or streaming also stand to benefit, though in a world of single-GPU graphics configurations, you'd be hard-pressed to bottleneck an overclocked -7700K with even a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (particularly at the high resolutions it's meant to drive).
The Core i7-8700K took home our Editor's Choice award. So feel free to take a dip in Coffee Lake if you've got the dosh--we doubt you'll be disappointed. We're working on testing the i5 and i3 models now, so stay tuned.