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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  • Ian Cutress - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - link

    The boards will default to DDR4-2133 as a base memory frequency, regardless of processor. JEDEC has profiles for 2133 and 2400, and Kaby Lake is compatible with the JEDEC DDR4-2400 profile. So in order to achieve this, we use kits that offer DDR4-2400 JEDEC memory profiles via XMP. Enable XMP, and you're at the frequency that's officially supported by the processor, which is JEDEC. Out of the box usually refers to the BIOS, as we tend to eschew special 'media' BIOSes that might adjust certain performance parameters. Reply
  • ccdrop - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    I just wanted to give you guys a super big THANK YOU! for testing under Windows 7 64-bit SP1, now I can be excited about the 7700k again!

    My big worry was that the 7700k was going to be a useless upgrade from my 2600K due to the whole "not officially support" drama as I flat have no interest in windows 10 (Please don't reply with Pro-10 comments I will never read them as I will never check these comments again I am just here to say thank you, along with the fact I have a laundry list about a mile long as to why I despise 10, I have thoroughly tested it for my use cases and it is a very solid downgrade. I am not a gamer so do it for the games is meaningless. As for security, my main workstation isn't attached to any networks and if you have local access to the system 10 is no better then 7, finally as for doing it for the "new features" just because you know new features are new... I will wait and see if the 7700k really runs 10~20% better on Windows 10 than windows 7 WITH MY SOFTWARE not games or things I don't use, then I'll switch. However as of now on my current hardware Windows 10 runs about 10~20% slower then windows 7 with my software, and is vastly more prone to errors and workflow interruptions.)
    Reply
  • negusp - Thursday, January 05, 2017 - link

    stfu, it is a pretty useless upgrade. 10-20% over a 2600k is nothing to be excited about.

    wait for Ryzen or Cannonlake. if you think your 2600k is anywhere near obsolete you have to be kidding me.
    Reply
  • fm13 - Thursday, January 05, 2017 - link

    I'm still using my i7 860 which is still OK at stock frequencies. Reply
  • The_Assimilator - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    AnandTech reviews that are on time, what sorcery is this? I sincerely hope to see more of it this year! Reply
  • just4U - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - link

    I do not recall Ian ever being late to the party on his reviews... Reply
  • Thatguy97 - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 - link

    Ryan is always late

    Remember Fiji? And the "on the way" gtx 950 review?
    Reply
  • Toss3 - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    "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)."

    Wait the 4790K was overclocked? You didn't mention the clockspeed anywhere. And how can a 5820K be faster than a 6800K (Grid: Autosport on MSI R9 290X)? You really need to let your readers know what speeds these CPUs are running at.
    Reply
  • Thatguy97 - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    No fucking increase in IPC

    Damn we need some competition bad and shame on anandtech for not ragging on Intel for lack of innovation
    Reply
  • ThomasS31 - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    Thanks... though it would be time to upgrade the GPU part to at least a GTX1080 or more like a TXP... I see on other tests, that those, especially the TXP shows some differences in high end gpus more. GTX980 is limiting these days too heavy. Reply

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