Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake Compared Against Core i7-6700K Skylake – Overclocked Performance Results in Gaming and Synthetic Tests

The first proper performance results of Intel's Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake CPU against the Core i7-6700K Skylake CPU have been posted by Tom's Hardware. Yesterday, we got to see the first results of the flagship Kaby Lake processor which is going to launch at CES 2017.

Intel Core i7-7700K vs Core i7-6700K Compared Against Each Other

The Core i7-7700K is the top brass of the Kaby Lake processor family. It is based on the existing 14nm process node which has seen improvements due to a matured manufacturing technique. Intel calls the optimized node 14nm+ (Plus). These process improvements result in better clock gains under the same TDP headroom as Skylake.

Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake Benchmarks_2

Kaby Lake gets most of its architectural hierarchy from Skylake and next to no gains in the IPC department. The performance improvement come solely from the clock speed bump. The processor has been compared against the Core i7-6700K Skylake processor which is the flagship chip of the 6th generation family. Results include both reference and overclocked numbers which users would be interested to look at.

Intel Core i7-7700K – The Fastest Core i7 Kaby Lake Processor:

The Intel Core i7-7700K processor is the fastest Core i7 chip in the Kaby Lake lineup. This chip features a quad core, hyper-threaded design. The chip is based on the latest 14nm Plus process node which delivers improved efficiency and performance on the existing 14nm FinFET technology. The clock speeds are rated 4.2 GHz base and 4.5 GHz boost. The processor packs 8 MB of L3 cache and has a TDP of 91W. The Core i7-7700K CPU will retail at $349 US.

ASUS Maximus IX Formula_Detail

There are several SKUs in the Kaby Lake lineup, ranging from dual cores to quad cores. Benchmarks of the Core i5-7600K and the Core i3-7350K have already been covered. The Core i5 chip manages to offer up to 10% performance increase over the Core i5-6600K while the Core i3-7350K manages to tackle Quad core CPUs. The specifications and expected prices for Kaby Lake desktop processors (Kaby Lake-S) are listed below:

Intel 7th Generation 'Kaby Lake' Desktop Lineup

SKU NameCores/ThreadsCore ClockBoost ClockL3 CacheTDPSocketPrice
Core i7-7700K4/84.2 GHz4.5 GHz8 MB91WLGA1151$339 US
Core i7-77004/83.6 GHz4.2 GHz8 MB65WLGA1151$303 US
Core i7-7700T4/82.9 GHz3.8 GHz8 MB35WLGA1151$303 US
Core i5-7600K4/43.8 GHz4.2 GHz6 MB91WLGA1151$242 US
Core i5-76004/43.5 GHz4.1 GHz6 MB65WLGA1151$213 US
Core i5-7600T4/42.8 GHz3.7 GHz6 MB35WLGA1151$213 US
Core i5-75004/43.4 GHz3.8 GHz6 MB65WLGA1151$192 US
Core i5-7500T4/42.7 GHz3.3 GHz6 MB35WLGA1151$192 US
Core i5-74004/43.0 GHz3.5 GHz6 MB65WLGA1151$182 US
Core i5-7400T4/42.4 GHz3.0 GHz6 MB35WLGA1151$182 US
Core i3-7350K2/44.2 GHzN/A4 MB60WLGA 1151$168 US
Core i3-73202/44.1 GHzN/A4 MBTBDLGA 1151$149 US
Core i3-73002/44.0 GHzN/A4 MB51WLGA1151$138 US
Core i3-7300T2/43.5 GHzN/A4 MB35WLGA1151$138 US
Core i3-71002/43.9 GHzN/A4 MB51WLGA 1151$117 US
Core i3-7100T2/43.4 GHzN/A4 MB35WLGA 1151$117 US
Pentium G46202/43.7 GHzN/A3 MB51WLGA1151$86 US
Pentium G46002/43.6 GHzN/A3 MB51WLGA 1151$75 US
Pentium G45602/43.5 GHzN/A3MB54WLGA 1151$64 US
Pentium G39502/23.0 GHzN/A2 MB35WLGA1151$52 US
Pentium G39302/22.9 GHzN/A2 MB35WLGA1151$42 US

Intel Core i7-7700K vs Core i7-6700K Stock and Overclocked Performance

The testing was performed on a Gigabyte Z170X-Ultra Gaming motherboard with an updated firmware that will support Kaby Lake chips. Tom's Hardware reports that the motherboard was unable to read voltage reduction for the Core i7-7700K and resulted in higher power consumption than the Core i7-6700K. They had to manually set the firmware settings to automatic configuration otherwise the CPU was sipping in 1.30V at 4.50 GHz boost clocks.


The Core i7-7700K chip was overclocked to 4.8 GHz with 1.30V while the Core i7-6700K reached 4.6 GHz on the same board. Rest of the specifications for the test platform include G.Skill RipJaws V (3600 MHz) memory, GTX 1080 Armor OC and a Toshiba 256 GB NVMe SSD. Cooling was offered by a Noctua NH-U12 S heatsink.

Synthetic CPU Performance Tests (Image Credits: Tom's Hardware):

As we saw in the earlier benchmarks, the Core i7-7700K gets most of its gains over the Core i7-6700K from the clock speed bump. All 3DMark Sky Diver and 3DMark Firestrike results are a gain over the Skylake part due to increase in physics score which calculates the CPU performance. PCMark 8 sees similar gains, nothing that is too shocking.


Cinebench R15 reports a score of 192.6 (Core i7-7700K) versus 180.4 (Core i7-6700K) in single threaded render while overclocked results yield scores of 207.5 (Core i7-7700K) versus 198.0 (Core i7-6700K). Same scenario is seen in the multi-threaded rendering test. Sandra Arithmetic and Multimedia tests also show good gains for the Kaby Lake chip while Cryptography and Memory bandwidth tests show no gain at all.


Furthermore, Tom's Hardware also shared timed benchmarks where the Core i7-7700K resulted in lower loading times for several applications. This shows its faster computational performance that results in improved performance compared to Skylake.

Gaming CPU Performance Tests (Image Credits: Tom's Hardware):

Games tested include Ashes of the Singularity, F1 2015, Talos Principle and Metro Last Light Redux. All games see increased FPS on the Kaby Lake chip but those aren't big enough to validate an upgrade to Kaby Lake from Skylake based platforms.


The Core i7-7700K Is A Hot Chip With More or Less The Same Efficiency as Skylake

The increased clock speed of the 7700K gives it around 7% increase in performance over the Core i7-6700K. Results from both reference and overclocked testing reveal that the Core i7-7700K is a really hot chip with average temperatures hovering around 54C while the 6700K had 34C average load temps at reference clocks. In overclocked tests, the Core i7-7700K had an average temperature of 61C compared to 48C on the 6700K.

Yesterday, we saw similar results with the Core i7-7700K averaging around 80C and up to 100C when clocked past 4.9 GHz. These temperatures do not give a positive reflection of the upcoming K-Series chips. On the other hand, Core i7-7700K offers decent overclocking and performance out of the extra clocks.

The Intel Z270 platform is just around the corner which offers new features such as Optane memory support. The AMD Zen platform is also arriving soon and is looking quite competitive from the talks. AMD is holding a special Zen event in December prior to their release in Q1 2017. Whether Kaby Lake is good enough to tackle AMD's enthusiast-aimed Summit Ridge line remains to be seen.

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