Intel's Coffee Lake 8700K Will Offer More Than a Bump in Cores

PC enthusiasts will be french pressed to find a better gaming CPU in 2017.

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The slow drip of information on Intel’s upcoming Coffee Lake products continues to fill our styrofoam cups. Previous reports have hinted that the new architecture from Intel will see the light of day before the end of this year and bring some meaningful changes to the company’s mainstream computing lineup. The Core i7 series will get its first 6-core part, expected to be named i7-8700K when the platform launches.

While the increased core count would normally be enough to whip up excitement for the launch, new leaks from an Intel retail training slide show that Intel is promising a single-threaded performance gain of more than ten percent over the reigning king of single-core speed, the Core i7-7700K. The Kaby Lake release earlier this year was a letdown for owners of Intel’s Skylake i7-6700K since the 7700K offered no additional performance when the two CPUs were compared clock for clock.

Intel’s slide also claims a more than 50 percent gain in performance over the 7700K in heavily-threaded workloads, which makes sense when the additional cores on the 8700K are considered. All of this is good news for Intel fans since AMD has been eating Intel’s lunch in multi-threaded performance with its Ryzen CPUs that launched in the Spring. Intel’s Kaby Lake parts offered little advantage over the Ryzen CPUs except in lightly-threaded gaming and a few older apps.

There is currently no official release date for the 8700K, though Intel is expected to formally announce the new lineup on August 21st. Hopefully I‘m not blinded by the solar eclipse and will be able to see the 8700K in action.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty

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    August 17, 2017 11:00 AM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Intel's Coffee Lake 8700K Will Offer More Than a Bump in Cores

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      August 17, 2017 11:07 AM

      Damn. Almost wish id held out on the 7700k. Oh well, always something new on the horizon.

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        August 17, 2017 11:13 AM

        I feel like a jamoke for going 7700K now. I'm still holding out hope for the off chance that some z270 boards will get BIOS updates to support the 8700K.

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          August 17, 2017 11:20 AM

          It would be pretty nice to have chipset/board compatibility, but seems all but impossible if the rumors of getting 24 PCIe lanes off the CPU are true.

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      August 17, 2017 11:17 AM

      hmmm i'm so ready for coffeelake. hurry up intel.

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      August 17, 2017 11:19 AM

      Only 6 cores? How quaint.

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      August 17, 2017 11:24 AM

      I can't make sense of where the gain is coming from. The slide just talks about a perf "boost". Does that mean higher clock single-core boost due to high frequencies on the Turbo Boost feature? Or is it a real IPC gain? (My guess is the former otherwise they would be very explicit in the advertising since IPC gain is way more worthy of notice.)

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        August 17, 2017 11:28 AM

        Much like AMD's hand picked benchmark highlights I wouldn't put any stock in Intels numbers and wait to see results from independent reviewers. Intel claimed IPC improvement with Kaby Lake and it didn't happen.

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          August 17, 2017 11:37 AM

          Wut? Intel always said Kaby Lake IPC would be the same as Skylake.

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          August 17, 2017 11:45 AM

          Obviously we'll wait for reviews for more solid data but I think it's worth knowing their rationale.

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        August 17, 2017 11:41 AM

        Probably some specific application that takes advantage of an improved instruction set or cache optimization.

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        August 17, 2017 11:49 AM

        The base clock and turbo boost are lower on the 8700K than the 7700K.

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          August 17, 2017 11:51 AM

          I guess we'll have to wait until the 21st to see what they say is behind the "boost". You'd expect a chip maker to trumpet IPC gain if that's what it really is.

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        August 17, 2017 11:59 AM

        Likely some very narrow boost in specific workloads anyway, I wouldn't get too excited about that claim.

        If they can keep 1/2/3/4 core boost speeds the same as the 4 core parts but then have an extra 2 ready to go for higher thread workloads, and keep the same price points, that's a solid step forward. At least then you can get the extra cores without sacrificing narrower workloads.

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        August 17, 2017 12:11 PM

        i have a friend who does cpu design at intel. this might be really common knowledge as i understand very little in the way of this sort of thing, but he's told me that most of the current gains are coming from instruction sets that allow the cpu to guess what it is going to do next. at a certain threshold, when it's right x% of the time, it becomes useful. like if it gets "step A" it automatically does steps B-F as well, and if in fact that's what the request is, it's already there. if it's not, then it just backtracks and goes again.

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          August 17, 2017 12:27 PM

          Sounds like branch prediction, which can definitely have an impact if they've improved it or reduced the misprediction penalty. Good prefetch in the memory controller can help a lot too.

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      August 17, 2017 11:27 AM

      Yay, might finally upgrade my 6700K.

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        August 17, 2017 11:35 AM

        2600k :)

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          August 17, 2017 11:39 AM

          750 here

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            August 18, 2017 12:14 AM

            Had a 760 myself...good chip. Hopefully you get a sweet clocking 8700K!!

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        August 17, 2017 10:31 PM

        when you big ballers do your upgrades don't forget us poor jabronis running on 10 year old procs ;)

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        August 18, 2017 12:10 AM

        That's still really new lol, mine still going strong

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      August 17, 2017 11:37 AM

      Seems like it might be time to upgrade from my Devil's Canyon 4K series CPU.

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        August 17, 2017 9:23 PM

        That's where I am, but unless I see more gains in video transcoding than I have been I'm going to stay put.

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      August 17, 2017 11:43 AM

      Let's see the real IPC boost. Cores/Ghz are nice, but Intel hasn't dramatically pushed the IPC needle in sometime.

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      August 17, 2017 11:47 AM

      Hmm.... upgrade in the next few months from my 2500K, or wait?

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        August 17, 2017 11:48 AM

        If you feel like the 2500K is holding you back or you are buying a GPU GTX 1080 or stronger, it would be a solid buy.

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          August 17, 2017 12:01 PM

          Hmm, I currently have a 2500K with 16GB of Ram and a 1070. I know i'm CPU limited in some stuff, even at 1440P (Hello Witcher 3 cities, and BF1). Was thinking of building a new system, and bringing the GPU over for now.

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            August 17, 2017 12:03 PM

            An overclock would bring you a giant chunk of the way there.

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              August 17, 2017 12:04 PM

              Already am overclocked. Think I'm around 4.1-4.2. Was looking at going with an H60 on the new build to cut down on noise and heat. Just not sure of what case to use either.

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                August 17, 2017 12:09 PM

                Look into the new Fractal Design Meshify C. It carries over the tried and true Define Series cooling with newer tempered glass stuff and a dapper looking intake mesh.

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                August 17, 2017 12:09 PM

                Just get a really good air one if you have room that way you don't pay a price premium and it's more reliable. 4.1-4.2 is decent but target should be 4.5-4.6

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                  August 17, 2017 12:14 PM

                  Yeah, i'll check when I get home. Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I'm at 4.3, and I'm using a hyper 212+. I also don't want to run this into the ground yet as I plan on giving it to the kids to use when I upgrade.

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                    August 17, 2017 12:16 PM

                    Unless you want the looks or the space savings, a nice air cooler will get you all the performance you want. Cryorig and Noctua make some great parts.

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                    August 17, 2017 1:36 PM

                    As long as you stay below 1.40V you have nothing to worry about.

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      August 17, 2017 12:12 PM

      Anandtech just posted some new benchmarks of game vs creator mode with Threadripper: http://www.anandtech.com/show/11726/retesting-amd-ryzen-threadrippers-game-mode-halving-cores-for-more-performance

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        August 17, 2017 12:49 PM

        OOOF. that's a gutshot. basically if you game, save the money get a 1800x

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          August 17, 2017 1:12 PM

          Yeah. I don't get why people are making a big deal about this. Threadripper is a content production CPU that CAN game, but not the best gaming pc out there. I can't imagine why someone would spend $1000 on a lower frequency, 16 core chip unless they do content creation as well.

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            August 17, 2017 1:14 PM

            The same reason people load up with 64GB of ram even though they never use more than a quarter of it, that sweet sweet forum credit of having it listed in their signature.

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        August 17, 2017 12:51 PM

        and wtf were they thinking with that 'game mode'? looks terrible based on these benchmarks.

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          August 17, 2017 12:54 PM

          WTF Were They Thinking is AMD's new official motto.

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            August 17, 2017 12:57 PM

            it must be! because the way AnandTech accidentally tested originally by disabling SMT actually shows better performance than AMD 'game mode' which disables a core!

            When in 16C/16T mode, performance in CPU benchmarks was higher than in 8C/16T mode.
            When in 16C/16T mode, performance in CPU gaming benchmarks was higher than in 8C/16T mode.


            like... da fuq? did no one at AMD do any benchmarks on this?

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            August 17, 2017 1:00 PM

            one core one complete die!

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          August 17, 2017 1:55 PM

          They were thinking the chip can easily change some things around to work significantly better under different load types that don't need 32 threads.

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        August 17, 2017 11:33 PM

        I'm still considering one. Gaming performance on par with my 6700k but a craploaf better for content creation.

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      August 17, 2017 1:11 PM

      Wasn't Intel promising 15% gains with Kabylake which turned out to be closer to 5%?

      I'll believe it when I see it.

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      August 17, 2017 9:47 PM

      So what is the current CPU of choice for a gaming machine?

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        August 17, 2017 9:49 PM

        If all you care about is gaming, a 7700K is clearly the best choice.

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        August 18, 2017 12:17 AM

        I would definitely wait for this new 6core 8700K.

        There have been many forums posts where users have tested Battlefield all the way back to Bad Company 2 showing higher minimum frame rates when using a 6 core vs a 4 core.

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      August 17, 2017 10:25 PM

      Some day I'll upgrade my i7 920.

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      August 17, 2017 10:27 PM

      That is adorable

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      August 17, 2017 10:29 PM

      Wasn't it supposed to be 30%?

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        August 18, 2017 12:09 AM

        That was total performance improvement compared to last gen CPU of the same price class, as I recall. IPC improvements are only a part of it, clockspeed and core count making up the rest. A 30% IPC improvement at this point in time is fantasy land stuff.

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          August 18, 2017 12:21 AM

          Well...potatoes!

          I was so excited because I thought it was 30% IPC, lol. You're right, I was in fantasy land...

          The 30 percent boost came in one benchmark—SYSmark 2014 version 1.5—and applies to 15W U-series mobile processors. The comparison pits an i7-7500U (2.7GHz base, 3.5GHz turbo) with two cores and four threads against an unnamed next generation chip. The new chip has an unspecified base clockspeed, a 4GHz turbo, and doubles the number of cores and threads to four and eight. The 8th generation chip is built on a refined iteration of Intel's 14nm process.

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      August 17, 2017 10:46 PM

      Thanks AMD.