The Cooler and Cheaper Choice

For people coming over from our Core i7-7700K review, where we heralded a new mainstream performance champion, to say that the Core i5-7600K is the smarter choice could be a little confusing. There are several factors in play which are going to make buying the i5-7600K more pertinent to everyone except pure extreme speed freaks (wait, I thought everyone reading this was…!).

For $86 less, the Core i5-7600K scores about 80% of what the Core i7-7700K does in the heavy instruction benchmarks, all while doing it at 30C less and 20W less. If you need extra performance, overclocking it to 7700K frequencies is super easy, and you still come in under power for the extra performance. While our gaming benchmarks aren’t necessarily the newest W10 busting titles (we’re retesting in Feb with a new benchmark suite), the Core i5 and Core i7 performed almost identical in every test.

If you are user for which money is no object, then the i7 makes sense because it is guaranteed frequency in the system and you have probably bought extra cooling anyway. For a user that needs another $100 to go for a better graphics card but still wants near top mainstream performance, the Core i5 is the smart choice.

Recommended by AnandTech
The Intel Core i5-7600K: The Smarter Choice

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

  • Chaitanya - Tuesday, January 3, 2017 - link

    Probably the most useless upgrade in recent years for PC users. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Tuesday, January 3, 2017 - link

    1) This is only an optimization of an existing architecture, and

    2) Anyone knowledgeable will almost always recommend skipping at least one architectural generation and, especially considering the slow improvements over the last 5 years, at least 2 generations. Which means if you are in a use-case scenario that can take advantage of the increased CPU performance you shouldn't be thinking "upgrade" unless you are running Sandy Bridge or earlier.

    (The obvious exception that breaks the rule here is Zen, which will offer a huge performance increase over Bulldozer.)
  • Shadow7037932 - Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - link

    >(The obvious exception that breaks the rule here is Zen, which will offer a huge performance increase over Bulldozer.)

    How about we wait until it's actually released? Remember what happened with the original Phenom?
  • silverblue - Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - link

    I don't think it's unreasonable to get excited about Zen, at least in terms of AMD's current product lines. Potentially massively optimised benchmarks aside, at least they tested Ryzen engineering samples against Intel's more expensive offerings in public without resorting to slides containing unsubstantiated performance claims. In fact, the only thing I can see in print is the "40% faster than Excavator" claim. If the Canard PC leaks aren't fake, there's every chance that AMD have achieved this, and possibly exceeded it.

    You mentioned Phenom, so let's take a trip down memory lane:

    Phenom: "40% faster than Core 2 Quad at the same clock speed"
    Reality: Up to 40% slower per clock after the TLB bug; needed Phenom II to really close the gap.

    Bulldozer: "50% faster than the i7 950"
    Reality: In what test? Even the 8350 couldn't boast this.

    I don't see Ryzen being the gaming top dog - remember, current productivity and gaming demos have been against slower clocked CPUs with double the cores of your garden variety, highly clocked i5 and i7 - but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that it'll bury the FX series. IMHO, of course.
  • boozed - Friday, January 6, 2017 - link

    I think the problem is that if Skylake wasn't enough of a performance improvement to upgrade, neither is Kaby Lake. Reply
  • Murloc - Tuesday, January 3, 2017 - link

    is it?
    I'm running a nehalem, if I was upgrading now I'd appreciate the lower power consumption and the HEVC hardware support.
  • willis936 - Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - link

    Was HEVC hardware not present on the 6x00 series? Reply
  • Shadow7037932 - Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - link

    He said Nehalem, which is the i7 920 and the like. Reply
  • close - Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - link

    @Shadow7037932, can you name one good reason why he should update his Nehalem to a Kaby Lake K part that didn't exist one and a half years ago with Skylake?

    I'll put it another way: If someone passed on a Skylake upgrade last year why exactly would they pay the same price to get a pre-overclocked Skylake (aka Kaby Lake) this year? Why did the user suffer through an extra ~18 months of really aging hardware just to buy what's basically the same CPU at the same price today?

    Since these 2 generations share architecture and fabrication process there's no reason to expect consistently better OC on the 7 series. So the 300MHz should be within reach for any K part and any user.
  • MonkeyPaw - Tuesday, January 3, 2017 - link

    Looks like it is the best 14nm Intel architecture you can buy. Still, it seems like if you're in the market now, you might as well wait to see if Ryzen will be a compelling option. If nothing else it might help drive some of these prices down. Reply

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