The AnandTech Coffee Lake Review: Initial Numbers on the Core i7-8700K and Core i5-8400by Ian Cutress on October 5, 2017 9:00 AM EST
Intel vs AMD: The Start of Core Wars
This year has seen a number of CPU releases from both Intel and AMD. AMD’s resurgence with a high-performing x86 core, combined with their performance-per-dollar strategy, has started to make inroads into the markets that AMD lost during its Bulldozer architecture era. When Intel was offering 10 cores for $1700, AMD started offering 8 cores of almost similar performance for $329, marking a significant shift in what the ‘right price’ for a processor should be.
We collated all the tray prices for the recent processor launches for easy comparison, using the launch price of each product. Exact pricing today may differ due to retailers or sales – we have confirmed that these are still the official MSRPs for these processors.
|Kaby Lake i7-K vs Coffee Lake i7-K (MSRP)|
|AMD||Coffee Lake||Kaby Lake||Skylake-X|
Almost every Coffee Lake processor is identical in price to its Kaby Lake predecessor. The main deviations are the K processors, with the Core i7-8700K being +$20 over the i7-7700K, and the i5-8600K being +$15 over the i5-7600K. There is still competition in every segment.
The Competition: Red Mist (AMD)
AMD’s Ryzen and Threadripper parts occupy anywhere from almost $100 for a base quad core design up to $999 for sixteen cores with simultaneous multithreading. It is widely expected that Intel will have a standard instructions-per-clock advantage with its processors, but also Intel is running its processors north of 4.0 GHz for the most part, while AMD is limited by its manufacturing process to 4.0 GHz at best.
If we do a straightforward price breakdown, the Core i7-8700K ($359) sits almost equally between the Ryzen 7 1700X ($399) and Ryzen 7 1700 ($329). Here this would be a battle of sixteen Zen threads compared to 12 Coffee Lake threads, with the IPC and frequency advantage heavily on Intel’s side. It will be interesting to see where the Core i7-8700 ($303) sits in performance per dollar compared to the Ryzen 7 1700.
The Core i5-8600K ($257) has a nearer neighbor for company: the Ryzen 5 1600X ($248). Before today, this battle was between a quad-core, quad-thread Core i5 against a 12-thread AMD Ryzen chip. With Intel moving the Core i5 parts to having six full cores, albeit without hyperthreading but with a high frequency, it is going to be an interesting battle between the two at this price.
The Core i5-8400 ($182) and Core i3-8350K ($169) sit near the Ryzen 5 1500X ($189) and the Ryzen 5 1400 ($169) respectively. The difference between the Ryzen 5 1500X and the Core i3-8350K would be interesting, given the extreme thread deficit (12 threads vs 4) between the two.
The Competition: Friendly Fire (Intel)
Intel cannot escape competing with itself. Having played with six-core chips in the high-end desktop space, there was ultimately going to be a time when the mainstream platform would start to overlap with the high-end desktop and potentially consume some sales.
As mentioned above, for most of the 8th Generation Coffee Lake processors, the new parts are simple swap-ins for the old ones. The only ones that have a difference of opinion are going to be the overclockable K models.
Straight off the bat it looks like that the new Coffee Lake processors are going to consume both of the quad-core Kaby Lake-X parts. There is a +$10 price difference for the Six-Core Coffee Lake CPUs, but that $10 gets an extra two cores, cheaper motherboards, an easier to understand ecosystem, and if you need it, integrated graphics. On paper it is a no-brainer – quad-core HEDT processors should be dead now.
Comparing the six-core Skylake-X i7 parts to the Coffee Lake-K parts is going to be interesting. Here’s a straight specification comparison.
|Skylake i7-7800X vs Coffee Lake i7-8700K|
|6C / 12T||Cores||6C / 12T|
|3.5 GHz||Base Frequency||3.7 GHz|
|4.0 GHz||Turbo Boost 2.0||4.7 GHz|
|1 MB/core||L2 Cache||256 KB/core|
|8.25 MB||L3 Cache||12 MB|
|Quad Channel||DRAM Channels||Dual Channel|
|-||Integrated Graphics||GT2: 24 EUs|
|-||IGP Base Freq||350 MHz|
|-||IGP Turbo||1.20 GHz|
|28||PCIe Lanes (CPU)||16|
|< 24||PCIe Lanes (Chipset)||< 24|
The main two in contention are the Core i7-8700K ($359) and the Core i7-7800X ($389). For a difference of $30, the Skylake-X chip is two generations behind and slower on frequency, but offers quad-channel memory and 28 PCIe lanes for more PCIe coprocessors. While the Coffee Lake will almost certainly win in terms of raw processor performance, features such as DRAM support and PCIe lanes are not to be thrown away lightly. If you absolutely need > 64 GB of memory, or more than two add-in cards, you have no choice but to look at the Skylake-X platform.
Key Comparisons to Look Out For
In the next series of pages, we will go through our benchmark suite. While we have only had time to run through a limited number of tests with the Core i7-8700K and the Core i5-8400, there are two battles worth keeping an eye on:
- Core i7-8700K vs Core i7-7800X
- Core i5-8400 vs Ryzen 5 1500X
Hopefully we will get the other components in for review, in particular the Core i7-8700 and Core i3-8100, both of which will be interesting to plot in performance-per-dollar graphs.