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Intel 8th Generation Core i7 8700K & Core i5 8400 Review

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Category: CPU's
Price: Core i7 8700K $359, Core i5 8400 $182


Intel 8th Generation Core i7 8700K & Core i5 8400 Introduction:

It's been one hell of a year for both AMD and Intel. AMD totally upset the apple cart with the launch of the Ryzen processor stack. It hit at the Intel product stack from the i3 all the way up to the extreme end of the scale. With the launch of Threadripper, AMD even pushed out Intel's i9 line a bit early. The Core i9 7980XE and Core i9 7960X proved to be the superior processor in my limited Threadripper/i9 comparison. However, the cost/performance equation is still skewed toward AMD. That brings us to the next launch from Intel; the Coffeelake-S desktop processor lineup.

Intel is bringing a total of six 8th Generation Core series SKU's to market with this launch, including the first six-core processors that fit into the mainstream Core i7 portfolio and the first quad-core i3 products. To start, we get the unlocked six-core / 12 thread Core i7 8700K with base/boost clocks of 3.7GHz/4.7GHz, Core i5 8600K sporting base/boost clocks of 3.6GHz/4.3GHz, and the unlocked Core i3 8350K at 4.0GHz that gets four cores to wrap up the unlocked SKU's. Each of the unlocked SKU's have a matching locked processor that comes with slightly lower core clock speeds. While these locked CPU's might not grab our attention, they fit nicely into the product stack.

These new processors, code named Coffee Lake-S, are designed to be used with the Intel LGA 1151 socket. Awesome, right? We can upgrade to a new CPU without upgrading the motherboard if you are using a 2 Series motherboard. Unfortunately that won't be the case. Before stepping too far into the six-core pool, you will not be able to upgrade from your current 2 Series motherboard and use the feature set on these new processor SKU's. Kind of a bummer, but you will need to upgrade to the new socket 1151 motherboard built using the Intel Z370 PCH.

Today I will be looking at both an unlocked SKU (Core i7 8700K) and a locked processor (Core i5 8400) to see how this new platform performs and if these processors match up on a price performance basis to the AMD R5 products. Pricing for the new SKU's starts at $117 for the i3 8100 and tops out at $359 for the top SKU in the product stack, the Core i7 8700K. Let's see what Intel brings to the table with this latest architecture that is said to be up to 25% faster in gaming than a 7th Generation SKU. That sounds pretty promising when you take it at face value.

 

Intel 8th Generation Core i7 8700K & Core i5 8400 Closer Look:

Intel's latest architecture comes to us shipped in a pair of small black boxes that we have become used to as the means to send out pre-release processor samples. While this gets the processor into the hands of a reviewer, it's not what you can expect when you purchase one of these processors through your favorite e-tailer or from the local big box computer hardware retailer. Intel has a flashy new look to the packaging. Each of the three product stacks, i7, i5, and i3, all get the same background blue and black image, but are segmented by the logo coloring.  

 

 

I will be looking at both the Core i7 8700K and the Core i5 8400 processors today. Intel's 8th Generation processors, code named Coffee Lake-S, are built on Intel's 14nm++ process. The Core i7 series will consist of the first mainstream six-core variants, while the i5 series see the first six-core and the i3 series see the first quad-core processor variants with and without Hyper Threading, depending on the SKU. You will be able to purchase both locked and overclocking-enabled multiplier unlocked K-SKU processors from thislineupp from the i3 all the way to the i7.

The Core i7 8700K is a six-core processor with Hyper Threading that allows the end user to access up to twelve threads at one time to boost performance above that of the 7th Generation and earlier offerings. Out of the box, the 95W TDP i7 8700K has a base core clock speed of 3.7GHz with a Turbo Boost 2.0 speed of up to 4.7GHz.This chip is equipped with 12MB of Intel Smart Cache and supports dual channel DDR4 configurations at up to 2666MHz speeds. The 65W TDP Core i5 8400, on the other hand, comes with six cores and does not support Hyper Threading. It features a base clock speed of 2.8GHz with a Turbo Boost clock speed of 4.0GHz. Where you get 12MB of Intel Smart Cache with the i7 SKU's, the i5 series comes with 9MB of Intel Smart Cache and supports the same dual channel memory support as the i7 at DDR4 2666MHz. As a mainstream processor, the graphics capabilities of this processor rely on Intel HD 630 graphics running at up to a dynamically controlled 1200MHz. If you cannot grab a new video card right away, the internal graphics will get you going, but to truly enjoy gaming a discrete GPU will be your best bet.

 

 

Intel's 8th Generation Coffee Lake-S processors will need to be installed in a motherboard using an Intel 3 Series chipset. Launching today with these first processors is the Z370 chipset. Out of the processor, you get graphics capabilities that include DisplayPort 1.4, DP 1.2m and HDMI 1.4m along with 4K 60Hz support. Dual channel DDR4 memory configurations are supported at speeds of up to 2666MHz using two DIMMs per channel officially, although memory speeds of up to 8400MT/s are supported. A DMI 3.0 link connects the CPU to the Z370 PCH. Up to 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes are available with this platform when you count the 16 from the processor and the balance from the PCH. Support for Optane memory, Thunderbolt 3, and USB 3.1 are natively supported on the Z370 PCH.

 

The motherboard I will be using to test these processors comes from MSI and is the Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC. This motherboard supports the latest feature sets of the 8th Generation Core series processors and features all of the MSI exclusives you are used to: Mystic Lighting support, DDR4 Boost support up to 4000MHz, Steel Armor on the PCIe and DIMM slots, M.2 support, Military Class V components, and MSI's Audio Boost sound solution.

 

With a new processor and architecture improvements, you can have an idea as to the levels of performance you can get, but until you really put it through a series of tests it is all just speculation and rumors. Let's end any rumors and see what these two chips can do by comparison to the latest AMD offerings and how they compare to the 6th and 7th Generation Intel offerings.




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