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

  • Toss3 - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    TBH they shouldn't just post mins, but decent FCAT analyses like the ones over on Reply
  • User.Name - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    Well that involves a lot more hardware and time to record/analyze the results, which is why I suggested looking at minimum framerates. But you're right that would be a good improvement too. Reply
  • edzieba - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

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

    Framerate needs to be dropped entirely. Instead, frame render times (specifically range and variance) give a better picture of perceived 'responsiveness', as well as render times being convertible to an FPS value (though not vice versa).
  • Alexvrb - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    Agreed, when reviewing CPUs it would stand to reason that you'd want to use games that tax the CPU. Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Friday, January 06, 2017 - link

    Your second link there was especially interesting - thats why I went for more cores than four.

    My 14C/28T Xeon has to feed 2x 1070 FTWs. I don't think quad core & multi-gpu are that great together, in my experience.

    For all the talk about games don't use more than 'x' cores, I see my cores / threads nicely loaded up for many games. Even MW3 shows activity over 12 Threads, however small, and thats old now.

    I just got a 6950X for a song, and the scouser seller backed out on me AFTER I paid. So I get to wait 5 to 7 working days for my money back (thanks PayPal), and I won't get to see how much frequency would have affected my everyday computing. I won't be paying north of 1400 GBP for one, that I can tell you.
  • Mondozai - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    Who the fuck is testing with GTX 980@1080p? It should be a GTX 1080@1080p because as games' visual demands go up progressively, it will show how the processor ages. This review is useless from that regard.

    Go to Sweclockers or any other website for a real review. AT has fallen so fucking much it's hilarious.
  • Gasaraki88 - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    Yeah... surprisingly Tom's Hardware has really indepth reviews now a days just like the olden times. Considering that Microsoft has said that OSes lower than Windows 10 will not be supported on Kaby Lake, i'm surprised they are still using Windows 7 to to their tests. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    There are lots of people that use a 980 with something like a 2500k or 2600k and might be wondering what a new cpu would do for them. Reply
  • dakishimesan - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    Also using the same testing setup allows the results to be directly comparable to previous chips. They already mentioned in one of the articles regarding Kaby Lake (I think it was the i5 review) that they will be rolling out a new testbed and testing suite in February. Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    From the Test Bed and Setup page:

    "This is also typically run at JEDEC subtimings where possible."


    "Our testing methodology is ‘out-of-the-box’, with the latest public BIOS installed and XMP enabled, and thus subject to the whims of this feature."

    After reading those two lines, I really don't know what Anandtech's memory settings were like for this article.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now