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Intel Core i5 7600K Review - Armchair Empire

Intel Core i5 7600K Review


  • 9/10
    Price - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Power Consumption - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Game Performance - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Single Core Performance - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Multi Core Performance - 7/10
8.4/10

Our Rating


Intel Core i5 7600K Quick Specs
Cores 4
Cache L3 – 6 MB
Base Clock Speed 3.8 GHz
Standard Overclock Speed 4.2 GHz
Base Power Consumption 91 W

Introduction

The Kaby Lake series of processors is Intel’s latest updated processor range and unlike previous upgrades, this series does not seem to improve significantly on the earlier generation with a few exceptions. Does the Core i5 7600K then stand a chance?

Honestly, because of the poor availability of the 6600K in the market, we had to opt for the 7600K but where the 6600K is still available for cheaper, it is still an excellent mid-range computation intensive processor. In all our tests we felt the 7600K was only better by around 7 to 8 percent of the previous generation but because in most countries it sells for the same price as the 6600K or slightly more, it gets a place on our top CPU list.

This Kaby Lake processor lacks a few things compared with the 7700K Core i7. For instance, it does not have Hyper -threading and the L3 cache drops down to 6MB. Then there is the obvious difference between clock speeds with the i5 running at a base clock speed of 3.8GHz and boosting up to 4.2GHz when necessary. This is only slightly more than the 6600K and nowhere close to what the 7700K provides (4.2GHz to 4.5GHz). Where the 7600K does get a major boost is in its memory support, Optane Memory support and graphics card. This processor is compatible with DDR4-2400 sticks.

Sale
Intel Core i5-7600K LGA 1151 Desktop Processors (BX80677I57600K)
  • Socket LGA 1151
  • Intel 200/1001 Series Chipset Compatibility (1. Excludes Intel Optane Technology support)
  • Intel HD Graphics 630

Intel Core i5 7600K – Performance Analysis

The i5 7600K might not be a huge jump on the previous generation but it sure does provide some decent benefits. But before we go into the benefits, it is worth noting that the 7600K is mostly a lateral move over the 6th generation processor. That is probably why the 7600K retails at the same price as 6600K wherever the later has been phased out.

As far as performance goes, the i5-7600K tops the charts with respect to all Core i5 processors but falls well below any Core i7 processor since the past couple of generations. However, the test scores of Core i5 7600K do not paint a proper picture of the processor because of how real world programs interact with the CPU. In almost all cases the Core i5 7600K manages to hold its own and at times matches the performance of a Core i7 6th generation processor. The only places where it falls behind is where multi-core performance is required since it does not have multi-threading capabilities.

In other words, if you plan on doing video editing then there are way better processors in the market such as the 6700K or even the newer Ryzen 7 1700 and higher CPUs. The benefit of moving from i5 to i7 then becomes substantial. However, for workloads that do not scale up with core count increase, the performance of a 7600K is at par with Core i7 processors.

There is one small caveat though to the Core i5 performance in real world scenarios. Because of its lower clock speeds compared to the 7700K Core i7 processor, the latter will always post better results and scores. But, the difference between the two processors is not significant enough to warrant an additional expenditure.

Having said that, the difference in performance between the Core 7600K and the i7-6700K or i7-7700K is high enough on benchmarks that overclocking will not help narrow the gap down significantly. What you get is only a 15% boost in performance at best on overclocking. The highest that we managed to overclock our test i5-7600K was to 4.9GHz with a stock liquid cooler. 5GHz introduces instability in the processor operations.

Now coming to the previous generation 6600K, the newer edition is about 8% faster overall. However, if you have an even older Corei5 such as a 4670K or a 3570K then you will stand to get a significant boost in performance ranging anywhere from 17% to 35% in real world scenarios. Just with the i5-2500K, it registers a cool 45% uptick in computations and speed.

The only factor remaining is how well the 7600K games. Considering the superior performance of the 6600K in our tests, we expected an equal if not better gaming experience. However, it does not provide any sort of significant boost over the 6600K at 1080p. As for older generation Core i5s in the gaming segment, you will get a boost ranging from 5% to 17% depending on how far back you wish to go along the Core i5 K lineup.

Pros

  • A well-balanced performer that does a decent job with single core performance as well as multi-core performance though it lacks Hyper-Threading abilities.
  • The price of this particular processor hits the sweet spot for gamers specifically as you get the best of gaming and general purpose computer usage at the same time.
  • The most optimized of all CPUs from Intel, you hardly ever need to overclock it.

Cons

  • Just minor improvements over previous generation does not justify why Intel had to phase out the 6600K and introduce this processor.
  • Could have dropped the prices a little more considering the impending launch of Ryzen 5, its direct competition.

Should You Buy The Intel Core i5 7600K?

Quite honestly, if you were to purchase a brand new processor today, we would advise you to go for the 7600K if you are into intensive gaming most of the time and do not need multi-threaded performance. As it stands, 90% of all computer applications involves single core dependency and because it has four physical cores, multi-threaded operations too won’t suffer much.

However, if you are planning on a purchase down the road, say a month or two in advance, then it is best to wait for the Ryzen 5 launches and decide then. Even if Ryzen 5 does not match the performance of the Core i5 7600K, Intel will be forced to bring down its prices further and that money saved can then go into new generation SSDs or a graphics card instead.

The only real reason why you would even be willing to upgrade your processor to the i5 7600K is because it offers all the goodies that the 6600K gave with support for faster DDR4 memory, Intel Optane and a newer integrated graphics cards.

Verdict

The breadwinner of Intel for a few years now, it records maximum sales with the Core i5 range. Among gaming enthusiasts, the Core i5 K series has always been a hot favorite for meeting all gaming requirements while costing a good 40% less than Core i7 processors. For those building a brand new gaming rig, invest in this processor, save some money and put it elsewhere that would improve your gaming performance significantly. Try graphics cards or SSDs even.

For those already owning a gaming rig, unless you have a 4th or lower generation Core i5 in your system, you need not upgrade to the 7600K. And finally for folks who do more than gaming such as video editing and 3D designing – this is not the CPU to get if you want best results (see our Ryzen 7 and Core i7 6700K reviews). You should only consider the 7600K Core i5 if your budget does not stretch beyond this pricing range.