Intel 7th Generation Core i7 7700K Processor Reviewccokeman -
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Intel 7th Generation Core i7 7700K Processor Introduction:
It's been about a year and a half since Intel brought out a new chipset and processor for the mid-range enthusiast. Throughout 2016 we saw a focus on Broadwell-E and updates to the X99 platform for the extreme user and hardcore gamer. Now, the rest of the user base gets some love with the release of Intel's new 7th Generation Core series processors and 2 Series chipset. Intel is going to release four different series of processors that range from the 4.5 watt Core Vpro "Y" series for detachables, the 15 to 28 watt Core Vpro "U" for slim notebooks that includes SKU's with Iris Pro graphics, the 45 watt "H" series for high performance notebooks and all-in-ones, and finally the "S" series that includes the 65 and 95 watt parts that fall into the high performance desktop region that we know so well. With this large of a release, Intel has got the entirety of the non-extreme market covered from top to bottom.
The SKU that I will be looking at today is the Core i7 7700K. This new processor is the successor to the K SKU lineup that was headlined by the 6th Generation Skylake 6700K. This processor proved to be a strong performer thanks to its high out of the box boost clock speed and IPC improvements over the Broadwell-based 5775C and Devils Canyon 4790K.
Pricing on this processor at the top of the product stack will come in at $339 or about $30 more than the current top of the product stack 6th Generation Core i7 6700K. Let's dig a little deeper to see what Intel brings to the table with this launch.
Intel 7th Generation Core i7 7700K Processor Closer Look:
Intel's 7th Generation processors code named Kaby Lake are built on Intel's 14nm+ process. The Core series will consist of quad core and dual core variants with and without Hyper Threading, depending on the SKU. The Core i7 7700K is a quad core processor with Hyper Threading that allows the end user to access up to eight threads at one time for improved performance. The Core i7 7700K features a baseline clock speed of 4.2GHz that will use Turbo Boost 2.0Technology to spool up to 4.5GHz during light, single threaded workloads. The graphics capabilities of this processor and pretty much the whole of the "S" series rely on Intel HD 630 graphics running at 1150MHz. It's not the Iris Pro line, but an enthusiast or power user usually will be using a discrete card for their graphics fix anyhow. Memory support for this platform will be dual channel DDR4 with speeds up to 2400MHz officially supported and DDR3 officially supported at speeds up to 1600MHz. Knowing the kind of memory speeds that Skylake could hit, Kaby Lake should do better.
The Intel 2 Series chipset for the enthusiast will wrap around the Z270 chipset. While there are several others for different usage scenarios, I will focus my look on the Z270 chipset, as it's built for use with Intel 6th and 7th Generation Core series overclocking enabled SKU's in mind. Taking a look around the block diagram shows that there are 16x PCIe 3.0 lanes dedicated for discrete graphics with support for up to three displays and Thunderbolt connectivity. There are a total of 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes available. Support for peripheral connectivity includes up to 10 USB 3.0 ports, 14 USB 2.0 ports, six SATA 6Gb/s ports, Intel I219-V gigabit LAN connectivity, a new Intel High Definition sound solution that uses an integrated digital signal processor, dual channel memory support, and Intel's latest storage solutions. A couple new additions to the feature set come to fruition with the 7th Generation processors and 2 Series chipset. Optane Memory will be a quick access memory to improve performance and responsiveness when it hits the market. Hardware level security options make its way to the table to further reduce the exposure of the system.
Intel's packaging for the overclocking enabled SKU's has shrunk down over time, as the included cooling solutions shrank and eventually disappeared from the packaging. Not to worry, however, as it usually hit the storage drawer for warranty purposes or the circular file in order to put a more capable solution in place. The silicon inside is usually the treasure we are after. The 7th Generation Core i7 7700K is an LGA 1151 socket compatible processor. As such it looks much the same as the Core i7 6700K, visually, from both the top and bottom with a few changes to the component structure externally. Inside, Intel uses a 14nm+ process to deliver improved power consumption while still boosting performance.
All the new technology is great, but the reality is how well does it perform when put to the test? How does it compare to what's currently on the market? How does it overclock? Gaming performance? All questions that can be easily answered. Let's see what it can do!