Intel Core i7-8086K Anniversary Limited Edition, 5 GHz, 6 Core, 12 Thread Processor Review

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Sep 3, 2018
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PRODUCT INFO

Intel Core i7-8086K Anniversary Edition

June 2018
Type Processor
Price $429.99 US

Introduction

40 years ago, Intel released their iconic and one of the most successful line of x86 processors known as the 8086. The processor was the first one of the first CPUs to feature a 16-bit design along with a 5 MHz clock speed, based on a 3 µm process node. Fast forward to 2018, Intel is celebrating the anniversary of their commercially successful 8086 processor by releasing the anniversary edition, Core i7-8086K processor.

Part of the Intel Coffee Lake-S family which launched last year, the 8th generation Core i7-8086K is based on the 14nm++ process node. It features 6 cores and is the fastest commercially available 6 core processor in the market. Advancements in technology and architecture have allowed Intel to reach clock speeds of 5 GHz on their latest processor.

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The Coffee Lake-S 8th Generation family, was the first big core count jump on the mainstream 300 series platform. The Core i7-8086K not only offers the higher core count, but it also comes with the fastest clock speeds. The chip was announced back at Computex 2018 in June and was available in the market later that month.

Today, I will be taking a look at this special anniversary edition variant provided by Intel and see how it holds up to modern day tasks and whether it can keep up to the legacy of its 40-year-old predecessor, the original, the Intel 8086. Intel’s robust Z370 platform offers superb compatibility with all of the latest 8th generation processors and I will be testing the processor on one of the high-end motherboards to see how the chip holds up.

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Intel Z370 Express Chipset – The Top 300-Series PCH

Since the launch of Coffee Lake processors, Intel is also offering a new platform that is marked under the 300-series family.

The Intel 300 series platform features several chipset SKUs but the top of the line is the Z370 PCH. The Z370 platform is exclusively built to support Coffee Lake CPUs meaning that while we can expect later CPU launches (9th Gen) to feature support on the current platform, all CPUs that came before will not work on the new motherboards. We have more details on this in the LGA 1151 socket section so here, we will be taking a look at the Z370 feature set and what it offers over the previous 200 and 100 series platforms.

Intel Z370 PCH Features:

The 8th gen desktop platform has a range of new features that mainly include:

  • More Cores
  • More Intel Smart Cache
  • Best In Class Design
  • Enhanced Overclocking
  • Improved 14nm Process

And of course, powering the new platform is the Z370 PCH. The PCH offers the following:

  • Improved Power Delivery for 6 Core Processors
  • Enhanced Package Power Delivery For Overclocking
  • Memory Routing Support for DDR4-2666
  • Rec.2020 & HDR Support, HEVC 10-bit HW Decode/Encode, VP9 10-bit HW Decode
  • Integrated USB 3.1 Gen2 (10 Gbps)
  • Intel Optane memory support
  • Intel Smart Sound Technology with Quad Core Audio DSP
  • 24 Chipset PCIe 3.0 Lanes
  • 10 USB 3.1 Ports With Up To 6 USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) Ports
  • Up To 6 SATA 3.0 Ports
  • Intel Rapid Storage Technology 16
  • PCIe 3.0 x4 Storage Support

Expected Intel 300-Series Kaby Lake Refresh and Cannon Lake PCH Features:

Chipset Name Coffee Lake S (KBL-R) PCH / Z370 Platform Coffee Lake S (CNL-H) PCH / 300 Series (Z390/H370, B360, Q370, H310)
Process Node 22nm 14nm
Processor 8C, 6C, 4C (6 Consumer SKUs at Launch)
Enhanced IA and Memory Overclocking
Gen 9 Intel Graphics GT2 (Up To 24 EUs)
Consumer Only
8C, 6C, 4C, 2C (Full corporate/consumer SKU stack at launch)
Enhanced IA and Memory Overclocking
Gen 9 Intel Graphics GT2 (Up To 24 EUs)
Corporate/vPro & Consumer
Memory Up To DDR4-2666 (Native) Up To DDR4-2666 (Native)
Media, Display & Audio DP 1.2 & HDMI 1.4
HDCP 2.2 (HDMI 2.0a w/LSPCON)
HEVC & VP9 10-bit Enc/Dec, HDR, Rec.2020, DX12
Integrated Dual-Core Audio DSP
DP 1.2 & HDMI 1.4
HDCP 2.2 (HDMI 2.0a w/LSPCON)
HEVC & VP9 10-bit Enc/Dec, HDR, Rec.2020, DX12
Integrated Dual-Core Audio DSP
SoundWire Digital Audio Interface
I/O & Connectivity Integrated USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
Thunderbolt 3.0 (Alpine Ridge)
Integrated USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
Integrated Intel Wireless-AC (Wi-Fi / BT CNVi)
Integrated SDXC 3.0 Controller
Thunderbolt 3.0 (Titan Ridge) w/ DP 1.4
Storage Next Gen Intel Optane memory
PCIe 3.0, SATA 3.0
Next Gen Intel Optane memory
PCIe 3.0, SATA 3.0
Security Intel SGX 1.0 Intel SGX 1.0
Power Management C8 Support C10 & S0ix Support for Modern Standby
Launch 2017 2018

Intel LGA 1151 Socket Again – Now With 8th Generation Processor Support

Intel isn’t moving away from the LGA 1151 socket anytime soon. We are once again looking at the same socket which has been doing the rounds in the mainstream market since 2015. There is, however, a major difference. There’s no backward compatibility with Skylake and Kaby Lake processors.

That brings us to the next significant detail about the Intel 300-series platform. Intel is confirming that the Coffee Lake processors are only compatible with the 300-series chipset. The reason cited by Intel is the change in electrical lanes and power delivery that Z370 improves substantially. We did have a word with some motherboard manufacturers and while they reveal that Coffee Lake may work with older motherboards, it won’t deliver the same level of stability or clocks as on the Z370 series motherboards.

A more detailed analysis was posted by David Schor a few days ago which confirms the change in pin configuration on Coffee Lake processors, hence keeping the LGA 1151 socket on Z370 boards exclusive to Coffee Lake chips.

According to David, the reason we don’t have Coffee Lake processors compatible with older series motherboards that feature the LGA 1151 socket is the change in pins. For instance, if the pin config changes on a processor, the sockets on the motherboard need to be configured as such. It’s not a process that can be done via software as its more of a hardware level change.

When compared, the Coffee Lake processors have 391 VSS (Ground) pins which is an increase of 14 compared to Kaby Lake, 146 VCC (Electrical) pins which is an increase of 18 pins compared to Kaby Lake and about 25 pins that are reserved and a decrease of 21 pins from the 46 reserved on Kaby Lake.

Kaby Lake -> Coffee Lake

  • VSS (Ground): 377 -> 391 (+14)
  • VCC (Power): 128 -> 146 (+18)
  • RSVD: 46 ->25

Intel LGA 1151 CPU Pin Configuration (Coffee Lake vs Kaby Lake):

So one thing is clear, Intel was in fact telling the truth about electrical changes to the processors and socket in the 300-series platform. Furthermore, it’s not just the reserved pins from Kaby Lake that have simply been populated. There are pins aside the reserved ones that were swapped with VCC pins and indicate a design tweak.

While we can put many theories to rest with this new detail, I think much of the confusion could have just been avoided if Intel clarified this themselves. Of course, if you are making the boards with a new PCH and new series of processors on the same socket that ran the previous CPU line, consumers would definitely want to know more about why the new platform that has the same socket cannot support their older chips. We previously heard about the LGA 1151 V2 naming scheme and that may have sorted some confusion but as we can tell, all motherboards still use the LGA 1151 naming scheme which may lead to people thinking that their 6th and 7th generation processors can run on the newer boards.

Cooler Compatibility With LGA 1151 Socket

Keeping the same socket has some advantages in the form of cooler compatibility. All users who are running the LGA 1151 socket or even LGA 1150 boards can use the same cooler on the Z370 boards without any hassle. The socket has the same dimensions and no changes are made aside from electrical changes that are specific to socket and processor pins. The socket assembly and mounting remain the same.

Intel does offer a separate boxed cooler but it will be a much better choice to get an AIB cooling solution since those offer better cooling performance. It is recommended for the unlocked SKUs that users run them on a high-end air cooler or liquid cooling solution. Custom loop cooling will deliver even better results.

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