The New Champion

Given that Intel has no competition, it is perhaps easy to roll out a new mainstream performance champion – all they have to do is have more stringent binning techniques (like perhaps AMD with the FX-9000 series) and a few processors with a higher frequency could pop-out. The danger here is that Intel always sells a lot of its top performer – millions. If you have to dump 100 processors to find one that fits the mold of the top SKU, you either have to charge lots for it or reduce the rules.  The only way to get that mix of yield and viability is by improving how the CPU is made. This is what the ‘optimization’ in Kaby Lake is for.

The Core i7-7700K sits at the top of the stack, and performs like it. A number of enthusiasts complained when they launched the Skylake Core i7-6700K with a 4.0/4.2 GHz rating, as this was below the 4.0/4.4 GHz rating of the older Core i7-4790K. At this level, 200-400 MHz has been roughly the difference of a generational IPC upgrade, so users ended up with similar performing chips and the difference was more in the overclocking. However, given the Core i7-7700K comes out of the box with a 4.2/4.5 GHz arrangement, and support for Speed Shift v2, it handily mops the floor with the Devil’s Canyon part, resigning it to history.

In most of our benchmarks, the results are clear: a stock Core i7-7700K beat our overclocked Core i7-4790K in practically every CPU-based test (Our GPU tests showed little change). When overclocked, the i7-7700K just pushed out a bigger lead for only a few more watts. Technically one could argue that because this part and the i7-6700K are equal in IPC, a similar overclock with the i7-6700K achieves the same performance. But the crucial matter here is how lucky a user is with the silicon lottery – based on our testing, the Core i7-7700K CPUs tend to overclock rather nicely (although +300 MHz isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things).

As with previous high-end mainstream (if that sounds like an oxymoron, it is) Core i7 parts, Intel has put a list price of $303 on 1k tray units, which means that at retail we should see it nearer $330 to $350. As far as we can tell, this won’t get a stock cooler, and anyway we’d recommend something else anyway given the recent performance of Intel stock coolers. We can hope that we won’t see the blatant price gouging we saw when the Skylake parts were launched, where it took several months to bring the prices down to MSRP due to stock allocations.

The Core i7-7700K should be available from January 5th in most major markets.
It’s the new mainstream performance king, if CPU performance is your thing.

As part of our Kaby Lake coverage, we have some other awesome reviews to check out.

Intel Launches 7th Generation Kaby Lake (Overview and Core Improvements)
The Intel Core i7-7700K Review: The New Out-of-the-box Performance Champion
The Intel Core i5-7600K Review: The More Amenable Mainstream Performer

Upcoming (we’re at CES and didn’t have time to finish these yet):

Calculating Generational IPC Changes from Sandy Bridge to Kaby Lake
The Intel Core i3-7350K Review: When a Core i3 Nearly Matches the Core i7-2600K
Intel Core i7-7700K, i5-7600K and i3-7350K Overclocking: Hitting 5.0 GHz on AIR
Intel Launches 200-Series Chipset Breakdown: Z270, H270, B250, Q250, C232
Intel Z270 Motherboard Preview: A Quick Look at 80+ Motherboards

Power and Overclocking
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  • RichUK - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    Very thorough review, thank you!

    Shame you didn't get a better sample.

    Will you look to do a focused review around delidding and the associated overlooking benefits?
    Reply
  • RichUK - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    That's should read 'overclocking' - Damn auto correct on my phone! Reply
  • close - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - link

    Yeah... great review that calls a CPU that's basically identical to the previous generation as "The New Out-of-the-box Performance Champion". While mathematically it can be considered true I think such a title is grossly misleading.

    Intel brought almost 0 improvements over generations but didn't bother dropping the price accordingly. This isn't "the new champion", this is last year's CPU a little overclocked. The fact that it comes "pre-overclocked" doesn't make it a champion nor does it make the title and conclusion of this article any more valuable.

    We'll see how Zen does but if it offers similar performance to Intel's offerings for substantially less money a lot of journalists will have to backtrack on their "Intel's having a hard time advancing performance because there's no more headroom and prices can't go down due to research and fabrication costs".
    Reply
  • close - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - link

    Also this: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/01/intel-core-...

    Arstechnica's conclusions:
    "With identical performance to Skylake, Intel brings desktop performance to a standstill."
    "the Kaby Lake desktop chips are but a mere clock speed boost disguised under the nomenclature of a new CPU generation. From an IPC standpoint, there's nothing to tell Kaby Lake apart from Skylake"

    AnandTech's conclusions:
    "The New Champion"
    "The Core i7-7700K sits at the top of the stack, and performs like it."
    "handily mops the floor with the Devil’s Canyon part [nb, 3 year old part!], resigning it to history."

    Intel are selling yesterday's soup, reheated but at the same price and Ian is trying hard to make everyone think that soup is like wine, it gets better with age. The truth is that there's basically no reason whatsoever to upgrade this year since we're still talking about a 6700K with 200MHz. *ANY* user buying a K part should be able to achieve that with last year's CPUs.
    Reply
  • close - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - link

    P.S. Devil's Canyon is actually a 4 year old part that was overclocked and relaunched 3 years ago. So it's "refreshing" to see how AnandTech gets excited about a brand new CPU that manages to be ~10% faster than a 4 year old CPU with slightly lower (boost) clocks in office/workstation scenarios and which brings 0 benefits in gaming scenarios. That would be a ~5% average improvement for a user.

    Wow Ian, it really doesn't take much to get you all hyped up these days, does it?
    Reply
  • Lolimaster - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - link

    Anandtech was a shill site for a long time, Kaby Lake was going to prove whose site is that. Doubts answered. Reply
  • pogostick - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - link

    The best line is the first line: "The Intel Core i7-7700K is what happens when a chip company stops trying." Reply
  • slickr - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - link

    Yeah, very suspicious of Ian. Is he getting paid to shill for Intel or is he that BAD at journalism!? Reply
  • RichUK - Thursday, January 05, 2017 - link

    I skipped to the overclocking section and didn't read the rest. ;) That's all I'm interested in. Reply
  • Gasaraki88 - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    Why are you testing with Win7 when the CPUs have more functionality under Windows 10? Reply

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