It might be a few weeks away from a release, but the reviews editor at Tom's Hardware was given a nice surprise when a package containing a sample of the new Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake processor found landed on his desk. And naturally the blog put it through the ropes with some benchmarking action.
The new CPU delivers on the clock speeds promised by Intel, but the power consumption and thermal characteristics were disappointing. Intel declined to comment on the findings, but Tom's Hardware stresses that the CPU they received was not marked as an engineering part, they could not confirm that it was actually a retail sample.
Intel is promising 300-400MHz higher clocks with its 14nm+ process, facilitated by transistor fin optimisation. The Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake sample that was tested had base/boost frequencies of 4.2GHz/4.5GHz respectively. The previous generation i7-6700K offered a default base/boost of 4.0/4.2GHz. However the Kaby Lake chip is rated at 95W TDP compared to the 91W Skylake part.
Editor Thomas Soderstrom went through various synthetic benchmarks, 3D gaming benchmarks and timed mixed task benchmarks to figure out how the premier Kaby Lake processor fairs and if it shows significant improvements over the previous model.
Most of the benchmarking tests show varying degrees of improvement. As far as gaming goes, Soderstrom concludes that the CPU's "improved overclocking capability should put a smile on the faces of die-hard performance enthusiasts", though to most the difference will largely be negligable with an FPS increase of only a few frames.
The review concluded with temperature and efficiency measurements. These were perticularly disappointing results, with the older Skylake chip running much cooler than the Kaby Lake Core i7-7700K. The new processor used up to 20 per cent more power for an average 3.6 per cent performance.
Test system, Gigabyte’s GA-Z170X-Ultra motherboard was used with the latest Kaby Lake supporting BIOS. G.Skill DDR4-3600 modules were installed and the air cooling of the CPU was taken care of by a Noctua NH-U12S (testing a more powerful NH-D14 saved only 3°C on the Kaby Lake temperatures).
While these figures do come from a trusted source, they are early numbers and the Z270 platform with newer BIOS updates for 100-Series motherboards of various brands could drastically change the Kaby Lake benchmark results.