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


View All Comments

  • 1PYTHON1 - Saturday, January 21, 2017 - link

    u do realize the 6700k only clocks to 4.5 or 4.6 if u get a good one...this will do 5ghz. so saying theres 0 improvement is crap. Reply
  • Gasaraki88 - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    Why are you testing with Win7 when the CPUs have more functionality under Windows 10? Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - link

    I thought Intel wasn't going to release Windows 7/8.1 drivers for 200-series chipsets and Kaby Lake in accordance with Microsoft's policy that Skylake was the last new CPU family to be officially supported by those OS. If Anandtech tested Z270 motherboards and Kaby Lake with Windows 7 did Intel end up releasing Windows 7 drivers for 200-series chipsets after-all or do existing 100-series drivers work with the 200-series or is some other workaround being done? Reply
  • jimbo2779 - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - link

    I dont think it was intel saying they wouldn't release drivers for win 7, that would be them shooting themselves in the foot big time. Microsoft were saying they would not be supporting new features in CPUs.

    I believe this means things like a new sse instruction set would not have native support in windows prior to 8. However this does not stop a CPU manufacturer from implementing support via drivers which is what intel would likely do at some point if not at launch.
  • Shadow7037932 - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - link

    Probably because they don't want to re-test the old systems under Windows 10 just for this review. But yeah, I do think it's about time AnandTech move on to Windows 10 as the baseline OS. Reply
  • Iketh - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    Identical IPC yet AVX Offset support? Can clarify plz? Reply
  • Iketh - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    nevermind, you clarified in overclocking section Reply
  • Iketh - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    for anyone else wondering, AVX Offset is not an additional instruction set, it's a bios setting Reply
  • User.Name - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    It's really time for a new suite of gaming tests if they aren't showing any difference between the CPUs.

    For one thing, average framerates are meaningless when doing CPU tests. You need to be looking at minimum framerates.

    Just look at the difference between CPUs in Techspot's Gears of War 4 performance review:

    Or GameGPU's Watch Dogs 2 CPU test:

    So many people keep repeating that CPUs don't matter for gaming these days, but that's absolutely wrong. The problem is that many of the hardware review sites that have been around for a long time seem to have forgotten how to properly benchmark games.
  • takeshi7 - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    I agree that AnandTech should improve their gaming benchmarks. Some frame time variance measurements would be nice, and also some runs with lower graphics settings so that the CPU is the bottleneck rather than the GPU. Reply

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