Tom’s Hardware Review and Overclock Intel Core i7 7700K

Chief motherboard reviewer Thomas Soderstrom at Tom’s Hardware has dispensed with all the secrecy and hoodoo surrounding Intel’s eagerly awaited Kaby Family of processors, and gone ahead and published a first review. The review itself centers on the new top-end model, the Core i7 7700K a quad core chip that runs at base frequency of 4.2GHz, boosting to 4.5GHz. Compared to the previous gen Skylake chips, Thomas finds that there is a modest boost in performance, however in the areas of power consumption and thermals it's a little disappointing.

“Intel's new Kaby Lake CPU delivers on the clock speeds the company promised, but the power consumption and thermal characteristics were disappointing based on a leaked sample of the new chip we received and tested weeks ahead of its official launch.”

In terms of CPU core clocks, it’s easy to see that Kaby Lake models do indeed use higher clocks compared to Skylake. Each tier of the product line generally gains 200-300MHz on the newer Kaby Lake processors. However, despite these changes Thomas found little difference in terms of how the board approached power delivery.

“Intel didn’t change the core micro architecture between Skylake and Kaby Lake, and our motherboard didn’t even read a voltage reduction for the Core i7-7700K, compared to the Core i7-6700K. Our motherboard set the Core i7-7700K to 1.30V at its 4.50 GHz max turbo, whereupon it behaved exactly the way we’d expect our Core i7-6700K to act when overclocked to 4.50 GHz at 1.30V.”

Looking at power draw, the newer 7th generation chips failed to deliver a reduction. What Thomas observed was an increase in the watts consumed, jumping from 133 W on Skylake, to 141 W with Kaby Lake. Idle power draw did see reduction of 37 W, to 24 W.

“For true performance enthusiasts, the real news is that Intel’s new mainstream-socket enthusiast CPU will reach new overclocking heights. Unfortunately, getting its extra heat out of the core was quite a challenge, as even stepping up from Noctua’s NH-U12S to its NH-D14 saved a mere 3°C. … Still, the fact that it reached 4.8 GHz without sub-ambient cooling is encouraging.”

The article arrives with a few caveats of course. Firstly it’s fair to say the GIGABYTE Z170X-Ultra motherboard, while sporting a revised BIOS that makes it compatible with Kaby Lake, it will almost certainly not be fully optimized for the new platform. Also, it’s very possible that we will see different behavior with the new Z270 chipset boards when they arrive.

Read the full review article here on Tom’s Hardware.

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