Intel Coffee Lake i7 8700K Review
With the enormous sales figures that the mainstream Intel processors achieve it is always going to be in everyone's interest when a new model appears.
Given the number of cores and performance that we saw when the Ryzen 7 processors appeared there was a significant amount of people staring intently to see what Intel's reply would be. Their reply has been to take what already worked with the Core i7 and Core i5 range, and expand upon it. An evolution - albeit a significant one - rather than a revolution.
The bald facts are better core count, better thread count, higher clock speeds and identical pricing.
When you look at them like that, it is easy to see how desirable this latest 8th generation of Intel CPUs is. Throughout our testing the Core i7-8700K hit the expected targets from having two more cores than its 7700K predecessor which would be enough to make it simple to recommend. What really turned it from a "same but more" type scenario into something which occasionally broke into brilliance is the amount of tests where it did more with its six cores than the Ryzen does with eight, and in many tests more than many of the larger priced, bigger featured Intel X299 models with their core count.
If you are stuck in the old fashioned days where you assume that the majority of tasks are single threaded then you'll be pleased with the boost Intel have achieved to the raw clock speed too. At stock the i7-8700K happily ran at 4.5 GHz, but the MultiCore Enhancement made a sizeable difference to the performance running all six cores at 4.7 GHz. Any chance to make full use of all your cores at higher speeds has to be one that pays dividends and the MCE is so good on the i7-8700K that it was often difficult - voltages and results on the leading edge aside - to tell the difference between our manual overclock and the automatic Intel one. Obviously you need to accept a small increase in power draw, and you need to have some good cooling, but the performance increase is significant enough to make it worthwhile. Should you have a single threaded task you utilise often then our overclock of 5 GHz was simple to obtain and should make even the wheeziest old program move along apace.
What we particularly like is how Intel have kept the price - at time of review - the same as the preceding i7-7700K. It would be so easy to follow the path we've seen in nearly every industry in these post-Brexit times of financial uncertainty and gouge the public for every penny, but instead Intel have slotted the 8th Generation in right where the 7th Generation sat. If you've been saving hard to get yourself a X270 system then you'll be pleased to know you can have six cores instead of four on the latest Z370 chipset for the same money. Lovely.