This is where you can fast forward to the final section of the review, and get a quick recap and points on the Core i7-7740X.
Microarchitecture and Speed: Intel's Skylake microarchitecture is blazing fast, and Kaby Lake microarchitecture offers process improvements that bump up frequency and help control power consumption. In single threaded applications, the 7740X is excellent, and it rocks in the gaming arena as well.
Overclocking Like Mad: On launch day the Kaby Lake-X 7740X hit 7.5GHz. That is huge because the world record for the 7700K which has been out for a while isn't even 7.5GHz; it's shy of 7.4GHz. On average, expect a 5GHz OC with an all-in-one cooler, and I would bet you could go a bit higher. In the memory arena, you might be limited to dual channel, but you could pull off a 4GHz kit.
It's a Gamer: You don't buy ten-core CPUs for gaming, and right now most people use four core CPUs. The 7740X is better or the same in gaming than the higher core count parts. It's high specified frequency, and excellent overclocking potential makes it excellent for games that like CPU frequency above all else.
Current X299 Boards: The 7740X only works in an X299 motherboard, so you are currently stuck with buying a motherboard that offers twice as many memory DIMMs than you can use, and potential for up to 28 more PCI-E lanes than you can use. It can be a bit different to see a half empty motherboard, but the cost is the real difference between X299 and Z270 motherboards, and there isn't too much the X299 PCH offers over the Z270 PCH.
The good news is that you can find similarly priced Z270 and X299 boards, but their features won't be the same. Vendors have told me they have plans for bringing out X299 motherboards that will only support Kaby Lake-X, that way they can only place four DIMMs and reduce PCI-E complexity to help reduce costs.
The 7740X is a fun and relatively affordable CPU for the X299 platform. It will let you save for another year to buy Intel's 18 core behemoth, and then you can sell it to someone else who just saved enough for an X299 motherboard. However, most people don't buy placeholder CPUs. The 7740X is a solid gaming CPU, and offers the same performance as a 7700K at the same price, albeit your motherboard might be pricier.
Motherboard cost is the real problem here. You are basically getting a really well binned 7700K without an iGPU, transplanted onto a socket with 2066pins. Intel transplanted the CPU from a cheaper chipset to a more expensive one but offers an upgrade path the other socket couldn't support.
The 7740X will be an option for many; it offers the same gaming performance as the 7700K, higher overclocks, and costs the same. The 7740X and 7640X are options, and I never want fewer options, I always want more.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Overall TweakTown Rating||91%|
The Bottom Line: The Core i7-7740X is Intel's running back; it might not be the biggest player on the field, but it runs the fastest.
PRICING: You can find the product discussed for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal:
United States: The Intel Core i7-7740X X-Series Kaby Lake-X CPU retails for $XXX at Amazon.
United Kingdom: The Intel Core i7-7740X X-Series Kaby Lake-X CPU retails for £XXX at Amazon UK.
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