Skip to main content

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

Forty Years Of x86

Compared to the 16-bit 8086, Intel's Core i7-8086K represents a quantum leap in technology. Whereas a modern CPU can spend four years in the design process, Intel brought its 8086 to market in just 18 months. Stephen Morse, then 36 years old, was the lead architect. The 8086 was originally designed to be a filler product before Intel released the 8800, but Morse designed it to be the first in a line of chips that shared a common architecture to ensure forward compatibility.

ProductIntel 8086Core i7-8086KCore i7-8700K
Release DateJune 8, 1978June 8, 2018October 5, 2017
TDP1W (power draw)95W95W
Cores / Threads1 / 16 / 126 / 12
Frequency Base / Boost5 - 10 MHz (0.005 GHz)4.0 / 5.0 GHz3.7 / 4.7 GHz
Transistors29,000~3 billion~3 billion
Manufacturing ProcessnMOS/HMOS 3 micron (3000nm)CMOS 14nm++CMOS 14nm++
Word Size16-bit64-bit64-bit
LithographyG-Line (Mercury Arc Lamps) 436nm WavelengthArgon Fluoride Excismer Laser, 193nm WavelengthArgon Fluoride Excismer Laser, 193nm Wavelength
Die Size33mm2149mm2149mm2
Minimum Feature Size3.2 Microns (3200nm)8nm8nm
Wafer Diameter4 inches12 inches12 inches
Memory Support1MB64GB64GB
Memory Bus Speed4.77 MHz2966 MHz2966 MHz
Integrated GraphicsNoneUHD Graphics 630UHD Graphics 630
Socket40-pinLGA 1151v2LGA 1151v2
Price$86.65 (1978) $330 adjusted for inflation$425$359

And thus, the x86 instruction set architecture was born. Over the course of 40 years, Intel continually enhanced the x86 ISA, adding more than 3500 new instructions like MMX, SSE, TSX, and three flavors of AVX, among many others. Amazingly, the 64-bit Core i7-8086K is capable of running original 16-bit 8086 code. That's a testament to the x86 instruction set's longevity.

The original 8086 was fabbed on a 3200nm nMOS process using mercury arc lamps. Meanwhile, 40 years later, Intel is on its third-gen 14nm CMOS process that's manufactured with argon fluoride exerciser lasers.

8086 Die

Transistor measurements are no longer based strictly on feature sizes, but we can derive some basic comparative metrics. Die sizes have increased from the 8086's 33mm2 to the -8086K's 149mm2, and transistor counts are up from 29,000 to ~3,000,000,000 per processor, respectively. That means the original 8086 featured 879 transistors per square millimeter, while Core i7-8086K comes with 20,134,228 transistors per square millimeter for an astounding 22,905x density increase.

Coffee Lake Die

Interfaces have also changed as Intel added more cores, cache, new buses, expanded memory support, and on-die graphics. The original 8086 dropped into a 40-pin quasi-PGA interface, whereas the eighth-generation Core processors employ an LGA 1151v2 socket that boasts 1151 pins. If we widen the scope to Intel's 28-core enterprise behemoths, some interfaces pack a whopping 4637 pins.


MORE: Best CPUs


MORE: Intel & AMD Processor Hierarchy


MORE: All CPUs Content

  • 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