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Intel "Kaby Lake" 7700K CPU Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Intel CPUs in CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Jan 3, 2017 5:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: Intel

Page 12[What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts]


This is where you can fast forward to the final section of the review, and get a quick recap and points on the Intel Core i7-7700K.


What's Hot


Overclocking Beast: The most impressive part of the 7700K is its ability to overclock to 5GHz, and display stable results. I have many 7700K samples on hand, and the worst one does 4.9GHz stable, while the majority of my samples will pass 5GHz stable. Others have seen the same results; a roughly 200-300MHz higher stable overclock over the 6700K. Extreme overclocking results also show some impressive results, with the CPU already breaking records and already over 7GHz under liquid nitrogen. In comparison, many of the previous generations of Core processors weren't able to hit 7Ghz until after launch.



Faster Out of the Box: The 200MHz faster base frequency and 300MHz faster turbo frequency makes the 7700K faster than the 6700K out of the box. While the performance gains are purely due to the increase in clock frequency, many people still don't overclock, so Intel's base and Turbo frequencies are of interest to the majority of buyers.


New iGPU Additions: The new HEVC and VP9 additions and improvements not only increase built-in encoding and decoding performance, but also reduce power consumption during 4K streaming. In fact, if you want to stream 4K Netflix from your PC through your iGPU, you must use a Kaby Lake processor since it has built in HDCP 2.2 and other security measures.


Z270 and Optane: The Z270 chipset brings four extra PCI-E 3.0 lanes to the table, reducing the amount of bandwidth sharing we saw from Z170 motherboards. It also brings support for Intel Optane technology, a new tier of memory, which many speculate will be worth it.


Works in Either Z170 or Z270 Motherboards: The 7700K will work in a Z270 chipset motherboard, but it will also work in a Z170 motherboard, so you don't need to change your motherboard if you already have a Z170 board.


What's Not


No IPC Improvements: While Intel didn't claim any IPC improvements, we have come to expect that new generations of processors come with clock for clock improvements. The 7700K might be one of the first new Core series processors to not offer IPC improvements, but rather just a clock frequency boost and some added features.


Higher Stock Power Consumption: While the TDP of the 7700K is identical to the TDP of the 6700K, and while they might have similar default voltages, the 7700K uses more power because of the increase in frequency.



Final Thoughts




We probably all remember the high clocking 4790K Devil's Canyon CPU, a refresh of the Haswell microarchitecture. The 7700K might as well have been called the 6790K if it wasn't for the changes made to the iGPU and naming of the Broadwell-E SKUs on the market, but clock frequency gains are higher than most of us expected.


We knew the day would come where performance numbers at the same clock would stagnate, and Intel's departure from Tick-Tock to Process(Broadwell)-Architecture(Skylake)-Optimization(Kaby Lake) reveals that day has come. As of now, since competition hasn't yet been totally revealed, the Kaby Lake microarchitecture is the fastest clock for clock you will find even though it is basically identical to Skylake.


Intel did call Skylake their "Best Processor Ever," and adding the frequency boost is nice for many, but not a reason for Skylake owners to upgrade unless they really enjoy overclocking or need to stream 4K content.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance (including Overclocking)96%
Quality including Design and Build92%
General Features90%
Bundle and Packaging89%
Value for Money90%
Overall TweakTown Rating91%

The Bottom Line: Intel's Kaby Lake 7700K CPU increases overclocking headroom by a noticeable amount, bringing the 5GHz stable mark back into reach.

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