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Intel Core i7-7700K & i5-7600K Kaby Lake CPU Review

We will be outlining the Kaby Lake Core i7-7700K and Core i5-7600K CPUs’ performance while using an MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard.

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We expect the Kaby Lake 7700K to show slight performance improvements over the Skylake 6700K it replaces thanks to the new chip’s higher clock speeds. It will be interesting to see how the i7-7700K competes with the Core i7-6800K which uses inferior Broadwell microarchitecture but offers six physical cores with hyper-threading and 15MB of cache.

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A 16GB (2x8GB) kit of G.Skill’s Trident Z DDR4 memory serves our test system. The kit’s rated frequency of 3200MHz with CL14 timings should ensure that memory-induced bottlenecks are removed.

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Today’s comparison processors come in the form of a Devil’s Canyon i7-4790K, Broadwell-E i7-6800K, and Skylake’s i5-6600K and i7-6700K. These form some of the best and most popular CPUs in their respective pricing ranges and product hierarchies. They also give a solid overview of where Kaby Lake slots into the current market in terms of performance.

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We test using the forced turbo (multi-core turbo – MCT) setting that most motherboard vendors now enable by default or when using XMP memory. This feature pins all of the CPU’s cores at the maximum turbo boost frequency (4.5GHz for the 7700K and 4.2GHz for the 7600K) all of the time. The voltage is bumped up to enhance stability but this results in greater power consumption and higher temperature readings which are important to remember when testing those parameters.

We tested using MCT settings for all of the CPUs. We also tested all CPUs’ achievable overclocked frequencies so that you can see how your overclocked chip compares to another overclocked chip.

CPU Test System Common Components:

  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan X Pascal (custom fan curve to eliminate thermal throttling).
  • CPU Cooler: Corsair H110i GT.
  • Power Supply: Seasonic Platinum 760W.
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (Anniversary Update).

Corsair’s H110i GT and the Seasonic 760W Platinum provide ample cooling and power to really push the CPU overclocks. Nvidia’s GTX Titan X Pascal is the fastest gaming GPU on the planet, making it ideal for alleviating GPU-induced bottlenecks and putting the onus on CPU performance.

Kaby Lake & Skylake LGA 1151 System (7600K, 7700K, 6600K, 6700K):

  • 7600K CPU: Intel Core i5-7600K ‘Skylake’ (Retail) 4 cores, 4 threads (4.2GHz stock MCT & 4.9GHz @ 1.35V overclocked).
  • 7700K CPU: Intel Core i7-7700K ‘Skylake’ (Retail) 4 cores, 8 threads (4.5GHz stock MCT & 4.8GHz @ 1.35V overclocked).
  • 6600K CPU: Intel Core i5-6600K ‘Skylake’ (Retail) 4 cores, 4 threads (3.9GHz stock MCT & 4.5GHz @ 1.35V overclocked).
  • 6700K CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K ‘Skylake’ (Retail) 4 cores, 8 threads (4.2GHz stock MCT & 4.7GHz @ 1.375V overclocked).
  • Motherboard: MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon (LGA 1151, Z270).
  • Memory: 16GB (2x8GB) G.Skill Trident Z 3200MHz 14-14-14-34 DDR4 @ 1.35V.
  • System Drive: SanDisk Extreme II 240GB.

Broadwell-E 6800K System:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 6800K ‘Haswell-E’ (Retail) 6 cores, 12 threads (3.6GHz stock MCT & 4.2GHz @ 1.275V overclocked).
  • Motherboard: ASRock X99 Taichi (LGA 2011-v3, X99).
  • Memory: 16GB (4x4GB) G.Skill Ripjaws 4 2666MHz 15-15-15-35 DDR4 @ 1.20V.
  • System Drive: SanDisk Ultra Plus 256GB.

Devil’s Canyon 4790K System:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 4790K ‘Devil’s Canyon’ (Engineering Sample) 4 cores, 8 threads (4.4GHz stock MCT & 4.7GHz @ 1.30V overclocked).
  • Motherboard: ASRock Z97 OC Formula (LGA 1150, Z97).
  • Memory: 16GB (2x8GB) G.Skill Trident X 2400MHz 10-12-12-31 DDR3 @ 1.65V.
  • System Drive: Kingston SM2280S3/120G 120GB.

Software:

  • MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon BIOS v1.23 (pre-release).
  • GeForce 376.19 VGA drivers.

Tests:

Productivity-related:

  • Cinebench R15 – All-core & single-core CPU benchmark (CPU)
  • HandBrake 0.10.5 – Convert 6.27GB 4K video recording using the Normal Profile setting and MP4 container (CPU)
  • WPrime – 1024M test, thread count set to the CPU’s maximum number (CPU)
  • SiSoft Sandra 2016 SP1 – Processor arithmetic, cryptography, and memory bandwidth (CPU & Memory)
  • 7-Zip 16.04 – Built-in 7-Zip benchmark test (CPU & Memory)

Gaming-related:

  • 3DMark Fire Strike v1.1 – Fire Strike (1080p) test (Gaming)
  • 3DMark Time Spy – Time Spy (DX12) test (Gaming)
  • VRMark – Orange room (2264×1348) test (Gaming)
  • Ashes of the Singularity – Built-in benchmark tool CPU-Focused test, 1920 x 1080, Extreme quality preset, DX12 version (Gaming)
  • Grand Theft Auto V – Built-in benchmark tool, 1920 x 1080, Maximum quality settings, Maximum Advanced Graphics (Gaming)
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Custom benchmark run in a heavily populated town area, 1920 x 1080, Maximum quality settings, Nvidia features disabled (Gaming)
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider – Built-in benchmark tool, 1920 x 1080, Low quality preset, AA disabled (iGPU)

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