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Intel Core i5-8600K Review: Coffee Lake's Jolting Value

VRMark, 3DMark & AotS: Escalation

VRMark & 3DMark

We aren't big fans of using synthetic benchmarks to measure game performance, but 3DMark's DX11 and DX12 CPU tests provide useful insight into the amount of horsepower available to game engines.

Futuremark's VRMark test lets you gauge your system's suitability for use with the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, even if you don't currently own an HMD. The Orange Room test is based on the suggested system requirements for current-generation HTC Vive and Oculus Rift HMDs. Futuremark defines a passing score as anything above 109 FPS.

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The stock Core i5 models score well in VRMark, with Coffee Lake enjoying a quantifiable advantage over its predecessor. Both CPUs trail the beefy Core i7-8700K, though. Tuning naturally improves performance, with Core i5-8600K taking a lead after overclocking.

AMD's Ryzen processors operate at lower base frequencies and aren't as fast per clock cycle, so they occupy the bottom of our chart at stock settings. Specifically, Ryzen 7 1700 employs the lowest base clock rates in our test pool and starts in last place. Clearly, though, overclocking helps it quite a bit.

The DX11 and DX12 tests want as many threads as they can get, pushing the previous-generation Core i5 to the bottom of both charts. Intel's six-core -8600K does benefit from its higher core count. But it cannot catch the Ryzen CPUs during the DX11 benchmark. It fares better under DX12, and tuning even boosts it past the competitive Ryzen 5 1600X. 

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation also scales well with thread count. Although many enthusiasts associate this game with AMD (Mantle, anyone?), remember that it didn't run well on Ryzen processors at first. A series of patches subsequently rectified the most glaring issues on Ryzen platforms.

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The Ryzen 7 1700 carves out a win against the -8600K at stock frequencies. Tuning the Coffee Lake-based Core i5 yields a 14.5% speed-up, which is solid scaling considering the 19.5% clock rate increase (from 4.1 GHz). That technically pushes it up over Ryzen 7 1700, though they're tied for all practical purposes.

Comparing Core i5-8600K to the previous-gen -7600K illustrates the significance of more cores in a game optimized for parallelization.

Ryzen 5 1600X also gains quite a bit of performance from overclocking, proving its relevance to this comparison. Remember that we're looking at a much cheaper processor/motherboard combo, after all.


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Paul Alcorn

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.