Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake CPU Performance

The 7th Generation Intel Core i7 Kaby Lake desktop processors have been officially announced and the Intel Core i7-7700K is the new flagship LGA1151 processor for Intel! Intel Kaby Lake desktop performance numbers have been leaked for more than two months now, so if you are reading this review we truly appreciate it and thank you for supporting Legit Reviews and all the independent reviews that we have been doing since 2002! Intel is releasing 16 new LGA1151 processors today for the Kaby Lake desktop processor launch. The good news is that all of these processors are backwards compatible with existing Intel 100 series boards after a UEFI update and of course the new Intel 200 series boards that were also announced today. Pricing on the flagship desktop model, the Intel Core i7-7700K, start at $339 and then go all the way down to just $138 on the lower-end dual-core models.

Intel 7th Generation 'Kaby Lake' LGA1151 Desktop CPU Lineup

SKU Name Cores/Threads Core Clock Boost Clock L3 Cache TDP Graphics Price (USD)
Core i7-7700K 4/8 4.2 GHz 4.5 GHz 8 MB 91W 630 $339
Core i7-7700 4/8 3.6 GHz 4.2 GHz 8 MB 65W 630 $303
Core i7-7700T 4/8 2.9 GHz 3.8 GHz 8 MB 35W 630 $303
Core i5-7600K 4/4 3.8 GHz 4.2 GHz 6 MB 91W 630 $242
Core i5-7600 4/4 3.5 GHz 4.1 GHz 6 MB 65W 630 $213
Core i5-7600T 4/4 2.8 GHz 3.7 GHz 6 MB 35W 630 $213
Core i5-7500 4/4 3.4 GHz 3.8 GHz 6 MB 65W 630 $192
Core i5-7500T 4/4 2.7 GHz 3.3 GHz 6 MB 35W 630 $192
Core i5-7400 4/4 3.0 GHz 3.5 GHz 6 MB 65W 630 $182
Core i5-7400T 4/4 2.4 GHz 3.0 GHz 6 MB 35W 630 $182
Core i3-7350K 2/4 4.2 GHz N/A 4 MB 60W 630 $168
Core i3-7320 2/4 4.1 GHz N/A 4 MB 51W 630 $149
Core i3-7300 2/4 4.0 GHz N/A 4 MB 51W 630 $138
Core i3-7300T 2/4 3.5 GHz N/A 3 MB 35W 630 $138
Core i3-7100 2/4 3.9 GHz N/A 3 MB 51W 630 $117
Core i3-7100T 2/4 3.4 GHz N/A 3 MB 35W 630 $117
  Intel only sent over the Core i7-7700K processor today for us to take a look at, so our focus will be on this 91W TDP quad-core processor with 8-threads thanks to Intel Hyper-Threading technology. Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake Processor The big difference between the on the Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake processor and the Intel Core i7-6700K Skylake processor is that the new Kaby Lake processors are built using the improved 14nm+ FinFET process that has had a number of refinements done that have allowed Intel to get higher clock frequencies without increasing power. That has allowed Intel to gain 200MHz on the base clock and an impressive 300MHz max turbo frequency on the Core i7-7700K over the Core i7-6700K while keeping the power exactly the same at 91W TDP. Both processors have the same amount (8MB) of L3 cache and even the tray pricing is the same at $339 apiece.
Core i7-7700K Core i7-6700K
Intel Series 7th Generation 6th Generation
Architecture Kaby Lake Skylake
Process Tech 14nm+ 14nm
Cores/Threads 4/8 4/8
Base Clock 4.2 GHz 4.0 GHz
Max Turbo Clock 4.5 GHz 4.2 GHz
SmartCache 8MB 8MB
TDP 91 watt 91 watt
Max. Memory 64GB 64GB
Graphics HD Graphics 630 HD Graphics 530
Graphics Compute Units 24 24
Graphics Clocks 350 - 1150 MHz 350 - 1150 MHz
Tray Price $339 $339
Just looking at the Intel Core i7-7700K processor you won't see many changes as it is still an unlocked LGA1151 processor! Intel still allows for BCLK and Multiplier adjustments for overclocking Kaby Lake processors and you should easily expect to overclock beyond 5 GHz on the core clock with good cooling like a closed loop liquid cooler. Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake Processor The other big addition inside Intel's 7th Generation Core series processors is the addition of a new media engine for HEVC 10-bit (H.265) and VP9 hardware accelerated decoding for improved media performance. Having a dedicated media engine handling video decode is a big deal as it helps ensure media playback is smooth and will improve power efficiency for the latest video formats. Kaby Lake Media Engine Let's take a look at the test system and then the test results!  

Our CPU Test Systems

Before we look at the numbers, let’s take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 10 Pro Anniversary Update 1607 build 14393.10 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. We tested on five different desktop platforms (Intel Z77, Intel Z97, Intel Z270, Intel X99 and AMD AM3+) in this article, so we'll just quickly touch on each as all shared common parts (CPU Cooler, Video Card, SSD, Power Supply) and only differed in the board, processor, memory kit and memory timings. Core i7-7700K Test System Picture The Intel Z270 platform that we used to test the Intel 1151 processors was running the Gigabyte Aorus Z270X-Gaming 5 with UEFI F5e that came out on 12/28/2016. The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 4000MHz DDR4 dual channel memory kit was manually set to 3000MHz with 15-15-15-36 1T memory timings as we wanted to test with one of the most popular clock frequencies sold today. We used an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 6GB Founders Edition video card with GeForce 376.33 WHQL drivers for all of the systems. We also used the Corsair AX860i digital power supply, Corsair Hydro Series H105 water cooler and Crucial MX300 1050GB SSDs on all of the desktop systems.
Intel LGA1151 Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

Intel Core i7-7700K

Motherboard

Gigabyte Z270X-Gaming 5 Click Here

Memory

16GB Vengeance 3000MHz DDR4 Click Here

Video Card

GeForce GTX 1080 FE Click Here

Hard Drive

Crucial MX300 1050GB Click Here

Cooling

Corsair H105 Click Here

Keyboard

Corsair K70 RGB Click Here

Mouse

Corsair M65 Pro Click Here

Power Supply

Corsair AX860i Click Here

Monitor

ASUS VE278Q 27" Click Here

Operating System

Windows 10 64-Bit Click Here
Intel Z97 Platform: The Intel Z97 platform that we used to test the Intel 1150 processors was running the ASUS Z97-A motherboard with BIOS 2801 that came out on 11/15/2015. The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 4000MHz DDR4 dual channel memory kit was manually set to 3000MHz with 15-15-15-36 1T memory timings. Intel Z77 Platform: The Intel Z97 platform that we used to test the Intel 1150 processors was running the Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H (rev 1.0) motherboard with BIOS F16h that came out on 07/11/2016. The Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB 2133 MHz memory kit was set to 10-11-10-28 1T memory timings. Intel X99 Platform: The Intel X99 platform we picked to use for the LGA2011-v3 processors was the ASUS X99-E-10G WS board with BIOS 0403 and that is the initial release UEFI as no newer version has come out since the introduction of that board in 2016. The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 4000MHz DDR4 dual channel memory kit was manually set to 3000MHz with 15-15-15-36 1T memory timings. AMD AM3+  Platform: The AMD AM3+ platform that we used to test the AM3+ processors featured the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer  motherboard with BIOS 1.60 that came out on 01/14/2016. The Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB 2400 MHz DDR3 memory kit was set to 10-11-10-28 1T memory timings. Laptops:  Just for fun we also included Dell XPS 13 9350 and Dell Dell XPS 13 9360 laptop results! These are retail Dell laptops with clean installs of Windows 10 Pro Anniversary Update 1607 build 14393.10 installed for comparison to the desktop platforms. Let's take a look at overclocking and move onto the benchmarks!

Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake Overclocking

Overclocking the Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake processor on motherboards like the Gigabyte Aorus Z270X-UD5 motherboard is super simple thanks to the latest UEFI versions. The Graphical User Interface (GUI) is easy to navigate and you can even use a mouse in the UEFI, so those that haven't updated in many years will find it easier than ever to change UEFI settings. The gallery below shows the main menus that overclockers will be using. [gallery ids="189590,189591,189592,189593,189594,189595,189596,189597,189598,189599,189600"] We overclocked our Intel Core i7-7700K Processor up to 4.8 GHz with no voltage bump needed to get that. To get over that we needed to increase the CPU core voltage and we stopped at 1.55V and that gave us 5,100MHz or 5.1 GHz with full stability. We could rip movies for an hour with Handbrake with no errors and run the AIDA64 Stress test for hours on end with no errors and the temperatures would just barely get in the low 90 Celsius range on one core. Core i7-7700K Overclock We were able to get 5.2 GHz and get into the desktop and actually run a few light benchmarks, but we wouldn't by any means call it stable at it would crash when running very CPU intensive applications like Handbrake and benchmarks like Cinebench. We might have been able to get it stable on a different board or with some more voltage, but we didn't want to push much past 1.55V on the CPU Core. We did try 1.56V once, but the system failed to load Windows with that much voltage. We did notice that when the CPU core voltage was set to 1.55V for example that there appeared to be a decent amount of voltage drop happening on the CPU. In the capture above we had the voltage set to 1.55V, but according to this particualr software utility we never got over 1.50V and actually dipped below 1.40V all while under .  Gigabyte suggested that we set the loadline calibration to High or Turbo in the advanced voltage setting menu under M.I.T. in the boards UEFI. This should apply a more aggressive loadline curve to combat the vdrop that we experienced. We didn't get much time to play around with that setting, but it appeared to work and is a great tip to share with our readers. Intel Core i7-7700k At 5200MHz We were more than happy with our 5.10 GHz overclock on the Core i7-7700K as it was rock solid, so we ran every benchmark in our test suite at those speeds in addition to the stock settings!

Memory Bandwidth Benchmarks

SiSoftware Sandra 2016 SP3 Memory Bandwidth: link

SiSoftware Sandra 2016 is a utility, which includes remote analysis, benchmarking and diagnostic features for PCs, servers, mobile devices and networks. This test has been popular for CPU and memory benchmarks for well over a decade and it is one of the easiest benchmarks out there to run.

AIDA64 5.80 Memory & Cache Benchmark: link

AIDA64 is an industry-leading system information tool, loved by PC enthusiasts around the world, which not only provides extremely detailed information about both hardware and installed software, but also helps users diagnose issues and offers benchmarks to measure the performance of the computer. Memory Bandwidth Results Summary: The We tested the Intel Core i7-7700K and the Intel Core i7-6700K on the same exact Gigabyte Aorus Z270X-Gaming 5 motherboard with Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000MHz memory kit with CL15 timings, so it's not a big shocker that the memory performance is pretty much the same. Even when the processor is overclocked up to 5.1GHz we don't see any real difference on the memory and that is because we just increased the multiplier and didn't increase the bus clock, so the memory was run at the same speed. The take home message here is that there is no memory bandwidth difference at comparable speeds, but we are hearing that the Intel Z270 chipset platform is going to allow for great memory overclocking with some motherboard makers already 4,500MHz on DDR4 dual channel memory kits!

Real World Benchmarks

Dolphin 5.0 x64 Emulator Benchmark: link

The long awaited Dolphin 5.0 release happened in 2016 and thanks to a major cleaning up of the codebase Dolphin has reached a new level of efficiency, powered by a revitalized dynamic recompiler. Dolphin is considered by many to be the best Nintendo Wii emulator for PC you can find. It also works for Gamecube. We are running the official Dolphin 5.0 benchmark as it offers closer mapping to real world Dolphin performance as the previous version was extremely floating point heavy. We feel this is a pretty good general CPU benchmark for real world performance as emulation workloads are something that most gamers will run at one point or another.  We benchmark the standard Wii homebrew application and run it with the speed limit set to 'unlimited' and the External Frame Buffer set to 'real' in case you wanted to run this on your personal system.

Agisoft Photoscan 1.2.6 x64 - 2D to 3D Image Manipulation Benchmark: link

Agisoft PhotoScan is a stand-alone software product that performs photogrammetric processing of 2D digital images and generates 3D spatial data to be used in GIS applications, cultural heritage documentation, and visual effects production as well as for indirect measurements of objects of various scales. We us the 50 images from the 'Building' sample data download page for our benchmark. We take the total time it takes to complete four steps: Align Photos, Build Dense Cloud, Build Model, Build Texture with all the default settings for each.

KeyShot 6.3 - 3D Rendering and Animation: link

KeyShot 3D rendering and animation software is one of the fastest, easiest way to create amazing, photographic visuals of your 3D data. We installed KeyShot 6.3 to do some benchmarking and real-world stress testing using the camera_benchmark.bip scene that is included with the application. This benchmark tests a 800x554 pixel image with a continuous sample rate and shows the Frames Per Second (FPS) that the scene is being rendered from. This scene has nearly 42,000 triangles and does a good job at using all available cores to render the scene.

Blender 2.78a Open Source 3D Creation Benchmark: link

Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation. We use the BMW CPU Benchmark (CCO, 3MB) created by Mike Pan for our testing. Real World Benchmark Results Summary: When it comes to our 'real world' benchmark tests we found between a 4% increase and 7% performance advantage for the Intel Core i7-7700K Kabylake processor over last years Intel Core i7-6700K processor.  The performance advantage for the Intel 7th Generation Core i7-7700K processor was 5.9% in Blender, 6.9% in Keyshot, 4.0% in Photoscan and a 6.2% performance increase in Dolphin! Many of these performance increases are directly related to the higher clock speeds on the 7700K as it has a 300MHz or 7% higher max Turbo clock speed.

Media Encoding & Encryption Benchmarks

HandBrake v1.0.1 - link

HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows. It is popular today as it allows you to transcode multiple input video formats to h.264 output format and is highly multithreaded. We used Big Buck Bunny as our input file, which has become one of the world standards for video benchmarks. For our benchmark scenario we used a standard 2D 4K (3840x2160) 60 FPS clip in the MP4 format and used Handbrake version 1.0.1 to do two things. We used the new Fast 1080p30 preset to shrink that down to a 1920 x 1080 video clip to reduce the file size. This is something people often do to save space to put movies onto mobile devices. We also ran the workload using the normal preset as it puts the CPU at a higher load than the Fast 1080p30 preset.

X264 HD Encoding - link

the x264 HD Benchmark is a reproducible measure of how fast your machine can encode a short HD-quality video clip into a high quality x264 video file. It’s nice because everyone running it will use the same video clip and software. The video encoder (x264.exe) reports a fairly accurate internal benchmark (in frames per second) for each pass of the video encode and it also uses multi-core processors very efficiently. All these factors make this an ideal benchmark to compare different processors and systems to each other. We are using x264 HD v5.0.1 for this test. Media Encoding Benchmark Results Summary: Our media tests showed that the Intel Core i7-7700K Kabylake processor was 6-7% faster in our handbrake test than the Intel Core i7-6700K Skylake processor and an impressive 13-14% faster than the Intel Core i7-4790K Haswell processor. More impressive is the fact that it was 30% to 46% faster than the Intel Core i7-2700K Sandy Bridge processor overclocked up to the same 4.5GHz clock speed. In our x264 HD benchmark the Intel Core i7-7700K  was 5% faster on the first pass and a solid 7% faster in the second pass versus the Core i7-6700K.  Not bad results here as this will shave tens of minutes off transcoding entire movies.

VeraCrypt 1.19 - link

VeraCrypt is an open-source disk encryption software brought to you by IDRIX and is a fork based on the discontinued TrueCrypt 7.1a utility. The developers claim that weaknesses found in TrueCrypt have been resolved with the VeraCrypt project. This is a popular utility used by people that don't want to use Microsoft's built-in encyption tool for Windows 10 called Bitlocker. Encryption Benchmark Results Summary: This AES Encryption test shows that the Intel Core i7-7700K Kabylake processor was 6% faster than the Intel Core i7-6700K at stock speeds and 12.7% faster when overclocked to 5.1GHz. Speaking of overclocked... Check out the Intel Core i7-2700K overclocked up to 4.5GHz from it's stock turbo clock of 3.5GHz. The Core i7-7700K is 31% faster than the Core i7-2700K running at the same 4.5GHz speeds.

Web JavaScript & HTML5 Benchmarks

Mozilla Kraken 1.1: link

Kraken is a JavaScript performance benchmark created by Mozilla that measures the speed of several different test cases extracted from real-world applications and libraries. Kraken uses a test harness based on the SunSpider benchmark. Results are reported in milliseconds (lower is better).

Google Octane 2.0: link

Octane 2.0 is a benchmark created by Google that measures a JavaScript engine’s performance by running a suite of tests that is supposed to be representative of today’s complex and demanding web applications. Octane‘s goal is to measure the performance of JavaScript code found in large, real-world web applications, running on modern mobile and desktop browsers. The latest Octane 2.0 benchmark includes four new tests to measure new aspects of JavaScript performance, including garbage collection / compiler latency and asm.js-style JavaScript performance.

JetStream 1.1: link

JetStream combines a variety of JavaScript benchmarks, covering a variety of advanced workloads and programming techniques, and reports a single score that balances them using geometric mean. JetStream includes benchmarks from the SunSpider 1.0.2 and Octane 2 JavaScript benchmark suites. It also includes benchmarks from the LLVM compiler open source project, compiled to JavaScript using Emscripten 1.13. It also includes a benchmark based on the Apache Harmony open source project's HashMap and a port of the CDx benchmark, hand-translated to JavaScript.

WebXPRT 2015: link

WebXPRT 2015 uses scenarios created to mirror the tasks you do every day to compare the performance of almost any Web-enabled device. It contains six HTML5- and JavaScript-based workloads: Photo Enhancement, Organize Album, Stock Option Pricing, Local Notes, Sales Graphs, and Explore DNA Sequencing. Web JavaScript & HTML5 Benchmarks Results Summary: When it comes to online browsing it is clear that Kaby Lake is superior and should provide a noticeable performance increase over the last generation processors, so if you are upgrading an older Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge system running at stock speeds you'll see huge gains on sites that are HTML5 and JavaScript heavy.

3DMark & Cinebench

Futuremark 3DMark 2.2.3509 - link

3DMark is a popular gaming performance benchmark that includes everything you need to benchmark your PC whether you're gaming on a desktop PC, laptop, notebook, or a tablet. 3DMark includes seven benchmark tests and we'll be running 'Sky Diver' that is aimed at gaming laptops and mid-range PCs.

Maxon Cinebench R15.038 - link 

CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software Cinema 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more. 3DMark and Cinebench Benchmarks Results Summary: The new Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake processor with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition graphics card had a 3DMark Fire Strike score of just under 18,000 points and when overclocked it was 18,625 points. Pretty impressive scores and the older Intel Core i7-2700K Sandy Bridge processor overclocked up to 4.5GHz wasn't even able to break 16,000 points on the overall test. Cinebench R15 performance was impressive on the 7700K with 996 points on all available cores and 198 points on a single core. When overclocked to 5,100MHz the 7700K hit 1,114 points with all cores and 221 points on a single core. This is the first time we've broken the 220 point mark here on Legit Reviews! OpenGL benchmark performance scaled nicely with the CPUs that we tested and you can see the 7700K was about 3.2% faster than a stock 6700K. Once again the higher clock speed on the 7700K is the reason it leads, but there is a nice gain over the 4790K that has a boost clock that is just 100MHz slower.

Discrete GPU Gaming Performance

Thief

Thief is a series of stealth video games in which the player takes the role of Garrett, a master thief in a fantasy/steampunk world resembling a cross between the Late Middle Ages and the Victorian era, with more advanced technologies interspersed. Thief is the fourth title in the Thief series, developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix on February 25, 2014. We picked this game title for CPU testing as it is known to scale well with CPUs. We use the games built-in benchmark and test with the default settings with these changes; exclusive fullscreen, vSync off, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz.

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V, currently one of the hottest PC games, was finally released for the PC on April 14, 2015.  Developed by Rockstar, it is set in 2013 and the city of Los Santos.  It utilizes the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE) which Rockstar has been using since 2006, with multiple updates for technology improvements. We picked this game title for CPU testing as it is known to scale well with CPUs. We use the games built-in benchmark and test with the default settings with these changes; vSync off, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is an action role-playing stealth video game developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix. Set in a cyberpunk-themed dystopian world in 2029, two years after the events of Human Revolution, Mankind Divided features the return of Adam Jensen from the previous game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, with new technology and body augmentations. The game was released on August 23rd, 2016 for PC users and we are using it to show DX12 performance on the CPUs that we tested. DX12 removed most all of the CPU overhead, so we wanted to see what happens to performance on DX12 game titles as well. We use the games built-in benchmark and test with the default settings with these changes; DX12 enabled, exclusive fullscreen, vSync off, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz, medium graphics. Discrete Gaming Benchmarks Results Summary: We found pretty good CPU scaling on DX11 game titles and found that the Intel Core i7-7700K did have a nice 20-30 average FPS performance advantage over the older Intel Core i7-2700K Sandy Bridge processor that was overclocked up to a matching 4.5GHz clock speed. Testing on a DX12 game title like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided showed that performance topped out at around 127 FPS and that there was only a 1 FPS difference between a Core i7 4790K, 6700K and 7700K at stock speeds and even with the 7700K overclocked. Having a modern CPU still does matter though on DX12 game titles as the Intel Core i7-2700K running at 4.5GHz and the AMD FX-8370 at stock speeds were still significantly behind.

Power Consumption and Temperatures

No review is complete without taking a look at power and the Intel Core i7-7700K doesn't disappoint when we looked closer at the power numbers. At idle the new the Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake platform used just 38.9W at idle and that is impressive as includes the Gigabyte Aorus Z270X-Gaming 5 motherboard,  NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 FE video card, Crucial MX300 1050GB SSD and the Corsair H105 water cooler. The Intel Core i7-6700K Skylake processor used just 36.6W at idle, which is impressive, but Gigabyte is still optimizing their UEFI for Kaby Lake and our UEFI build that we used was pre-release. At load the Intel Core i7-7700K used slightly less power than the 6700K and that is pretty impressive due to the higher clock frequencies it comes at. The Intel Core i7-2700K overclocked to 4.5GHz at 1.36V had the Intel Z77 platform using 211W running Handbrake v1.0.1 and was slower than the new Intel Core i7-7700K in stock form that was doing the same task at just 154W. Pretty big power savings can be had by upgrading from an older overclocked Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge system! We just took a quick look at temperatures at stock speeds on the Intel Core i7-7700K under the Corsair Hydro H105 CPU cooler. A quick 5 minute run of the AIDA64 stress test and found that the temps topped out at around 77C when you average the max temp on each of the individual cores. With the Intel Core i7-7700K overclocked up to 5,100 MHz at 1.55V we were hitting 87C when you average the max temp on each of the individual cores. This is a 10C temperature increase and isn't too bad considering we were using the tried and true Corsair Hydro Series H105 water cooler that has been around since 2014 and can be picked up for $103.99 shipped. If you bought one of these popular coolers years ago you should be happy to see that it easily handles Kaby Lake! Let's wrap this review up!

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

For months we've heard people talking about how Kaby Lake is going to suck and that there is no reason to upgrade to it since it's basically just an updated Skylake processor. We can understand that some people might look at the specifications and minor architecture changes and come to that conclusion, but the benchmark results look good. For those running older Intel Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge Processors the time to upgrade is looking pretty good right now. For the next six months of 2017 we aren't aware of anything 'new' coming out from Intel as Kaby Lake and the Z270 platform are just not being released and this is the mainstream desktop platform that Intel is going to be using for the foreseeable future. Later this year sometime in late summer we expect Intel to release the Kaby Lake Refresh processors and that will more than likely just be speed bumps of the Kaby Lake processors just announced today with a few minor tweaks. The next big platform change for Intel will be happening in 2018 and that will be the introduction of Coffee Lake processors. Those look interesting as they will be the first 6-core mainstream desktop processor from Intel and will likely be released along side a new chipset and socket design. Intel was able to work their magic and get higher clock speeds at basically the same power consumption on the Core i7-7700K as the Core i7-6700K at the same price. The Intel Core i7-7700K is also a superior overclocker as we were able to get it up to 5.1 GHz whereas the Core i7-6700K that we reviewed in 2015 topped out at just 4.7 GHz. That extra 400MHz clock speed on the Core i7-7700K is nice! Intel Kaby Lake with Gigabyte Z270 The Intel Core i7-7700K has 1ku tray pricing at $339.00 and the Gigabyte Aorus Z270X-Gaming 5 motherboard that we used for testing here today is priced at $194.90. At $533.90 for the processor and board we are pretty happy with the performance results. We didn't have to spurge on the Gigabyte Aorus Z270X-Gaming 9 board at $499.90 to get fabulous performance at stock speeds and amazing overclocking results. We took Gigabytes middle of the road Aorus Z270X series board that costs under $200 and had marvelous user experience. We tested Intel's older processors like the Core i7-2700K on the Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H motherboard and everything from web browsing to gaming feels faster on the new platform, so those running older platforms will finally be able to feel a difference on pretty much everything by upgrading. About time right? The wild card for 2017 for Intel is if they did enough to hold off AMD's upcoming Ryzen 8-core 16-thread processor series that is expected to be out sometime in Q1 2017. Intel hasn't had any real pressure from AMD in the desktop processor market for years and AMD looks like they finally have a processor that is competitive with what Intel has to offer. AMD has yet to disclose pricing, but they have shown a handful of performance demos where it is faster than the Intel Core i7-6900K ($1,044.49) and more importantly it uses less power. With the release of Kaby Lake processors now and Skylake-X (10-core/20-thread) processors coming out later this year we don't think Intel is too worried about leading the performance front, but we do think that AMD using less power came as a shock to them. That matters more for enterprise sales though and not desktop, but that is a segment that Intel prizes like no other. Depending on how the performance looks on Ryzen and how low AMD prices it, we might actually see a scenario where Intel is forced to lower pricing on their lineup to be competitive. We'll just have to wait and see what AMD does and how performance across the board looks. For now Intel Kaby Lake is as good as it gets for gamers and enthusiasts and we'd easily recommend it to anyone looking to upgrade their system. AMD Ryzen processors are expected to debut sometime in Q1 2017 and everything online is pointing to a March 2017 debut, so if you want to see what AMD has cooking you'll need to wait another 2-3 months. LR Recommended Award Legit Bottom Line: The Intel Core i7-7700K has solid performance and overclocks easily past 5 GHz on water cooler, so what is there not to like?