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
The Intel Core i3-7350K Review: When a Core i3 Nearly Matches the Core i7-2600K

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

Calculating Generational IPC Changes from Sandy Bridge to Kaby Lake
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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  • 137ben - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - link

    Excellent review. This is why I love AnandTech. Reply
  • Thatguy97 - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - link

    Best joke of the day Reply
  • Ratman6161 - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - link

    When you get around to a full blown overclocking test/review, I'm really hoping you will include the i3-7350K and not just the i7. Back in the day, it was all about buying a cheap CPU and making it perform like a more expensive one. Buying a top of the line i7 only to get a few hundred Mhz kind of takes the fun out of it. Reply
  • negusp - Thursday, January 05, 2017 - link

    But the 7350k is an absolutely horrid CPU to test, when you can pick up an i5 for $15 more.

    We saw this with the G3528- 2 cores makes gaming absolutely shit.
    Reply
  • evilpaul666 - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - link

    Do the new Kaby Lake chips turbo on all cores to their max turbo speed? I've seen that reported one or two places. Reply
  • pavag - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - link

    Still on the same league than a decade old processor. Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Thursday, January 05, 2017 - link

    1. The 2600K is only 5 years old.
    2. The 7700K is 50% faster.
    Reply
  • silverblue - Thursday, January 05, 2017 - link

    There is a 20% clock difference between the two, sure, but it's a fair point. Reply
  • fanofanand - Thursday, January 26, 2017 - link

    That isn't even close to being true. A decade ago the Q6600 was the new quad core chip, and the 7700K blows that out of the water. Unless you mean beer leagues and major leagues are both the same because they have the word league in them. Reply
  • Vazilious - Saturday, January 07, 2017 - link

    Why test a new CPU (an officially oc'ed skylake with a few more features) on years old hardware and software? R9 290x instead of an RX 480 and GTX 980 instead of a GTX 1080? Also why use windows 7? An OS where new CPUs are not supported. Reply

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