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The Core i7-8086K Review: 40 Years Of x86

Final Analysis

Core i7-8086K's higher base and single-core Turbo Boost frequencies delivered small speed-ups throughout our test suite. But because of Windows' busy nature, those gains were somewhat unpredictable. Although the -8086K rarely stayed in its single-core Turbo Boost bin for long, the same can be said for most CPUs. Regardless, Core i7-8086K earns recognition for becoming the fastest gaming processor on the market, if only just barely.

Our charts below plot gaming performance with a geometric mean of the 99th percentile frame times (a good indicator of smoothness) converted into a frame-per-second measurement. We also have price-to-performance charts that get split up to include the CPUs-only, plus extra platform costs. For the models that don't come with a bundled cooler, we add $25 for a basic heat sink. We also add $20 if overclocking requires a more expensive motherboard (as is the case for Z370).

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If you're only looking to use Core i7-8086K at its stock settings, the processor provides nearly the same gaming experience as the Core i7-8700K at 4.9 GHz. Its advantage is minor at 1920x1080, and it'll shrink at higher resolutions. Granted, overclocking is one of the -8086K's selling points. But the extra 200 MHz you get compared to our -8700K just doesn't justify a $75-higher price tag. And as with all K-series SKUs, you need to buy your own cooler and 300-series motherboard.

We see similar trends throughout our application tests: Core i7-8086K is strikingly similar to the -8700K, and overclocking opens a slight advantage due to our sample's increased headroom. It's only a shame that Intel didn't have the margins to also improve Core i7-8086K's multi-core Turbo Boost frequencies. Such a move would have yielded bigger gains across the board.

You could always purchase a delidded Core i7-8700K, or do the risky work yourself, to match the -8086K's overclocking potential. But if you go the Silicon Lottery route, expect to pay even more than a brand new Core i7-8086K costs and lose two years of warranty coverage.

Core i7-8086K is probably overkill for most of our readers. Both Intel and AMD have far more economical options that provide similar performance through our benchmark suite. Given the limited supply of Core i7-8086Ks, however, we don't expect them to be available for long, and competitive positioning probably isn't the top priority for this CPU's target market.

In light of the anecdotal evidence we've heard from Silicon Lottery, you can rest assured that the -8086K represents Intel's very best Coffee Lake silicon. There are those among us who always seek out the best performance possible, regardless of price. If that describes you, then Core i7-8086K is the fastest gaming chip out there. Just be aware that you're paying dearly for a bit of overclocking headroom.

Moderate gains at stock clock rates mean Core i7-8086K isn't worthwhile for most of Intel's customers. But if you're willing to pay a premium for a piece of history that just so happens to perform well, the -8086K is a cool, enthusiast-oriented option.


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  • AgentLozen
    Cons:
    -No bundled cooler

    You're saying that if Intel paired their little aluminum heatsink with this CPU you would have been more satisfied with this product?

    I've never heard of this silicon lottery place before. That's neat stuff.
    Reply
  • Yuka
    I'm going to be unfair, but not too much:

    - We doing something for the 40th anniversary? -> Yes.
    - What do we sell for the 40th anniversary? -> A re-branded 8700K.
    - What do we include to make it more expensive? -> A letter from the CEO we most definitely won't be firing in the upcoming weeks! And a weird bottle with coffee beans in it (it seems?).
    - Do we bother in making it special (metal solder, bundled CLC, etc...) or just pick a couple golden sample 8700Ks? -> Don't bother, shrinks our profit; we don't care about the anniversary or making this special, really.

    Too much cynical thought process there?

    Cheers! :P
    Reply
  • PaulAlcorn
    21093123 said:
    Cons:
    -No bundled cooler

    You're saying that if Intel paired their little aluminum heatsink with this CPU you would have been more satisfied with this product?

    I've never heard of this silicon lottery place before. That's neat stuff.

    Touché
    ;)
    Reply
  • mac_angel
    why is it that internet news media no longer uses proof readers or editors?
    Reply
  • ubercake
    I like the article and the page two comparison with the old 8086.
    Reply
  • ingtar33
    so Intel releases 8000 binned cpus for a $100 markup over their basic cpu, plus some crap, however, this release is by lottery only (as in only the lotto winners have permission to buy this chip), and THG does a review?

    seriously?
    Reply
  • mister g
    " But if you go the Silicon Lottery route, expect to pay even more than a brand new Core i7-8086K costs and lose two years of warranty coverage."

    I thought Intel CPUs usually come with a 3 year warranty?
    Reply
  • Math Geek
    21093328 said:
    this release is by lottery only (as in only the lotto winners have permission to buy this chip), and THG does a review?

    seriously?

    think you missed how it went. they did a drawing to give away a bunch of these chips but they also made the rest available for purchase through the normal routs. no lottery there, just have to be quick on the draw and buy one before they sell out. Tom's bought thier's the same way any of us could have since intel did not send out press samples of it. it's a valid product for sale like any other they review.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    21093123 said:
    Cons:
    -No bundled cooler

    You're saying that if Intel paired their little aluminum heatsink with this CPU you would have been more satisfied with this product?

    I've never heard of this silicon lottery place before. That's neat stuff.

    Yeah I noticed that too. Intel hasn't been bundling coolers with its' high end CPUs since the X79 days. I honestly wouldn't count this as a hit against it.
    Reply
  • Krazie_Ivan
    and lets check in with Paul on those 8086k temps...

    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/54/23/5a/54235a5fac7cee9c208e0838115f1752.jpg
    Reply