Clicky

Intel Core i7 6700K Review - Armchair Empire

Intel Core i7 6700K Review

  • 8/10
    Price - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Power Consumption - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Game Performance - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Single Core Performance - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Multi Core Performance - 8/10
8.6/10

Our Rating


Intel Core i7-6700k Quick Specs
Cores 4 w/ hyperthreading
Cache L3 – 8 MB Shared
Base Clock Speed 4 GHz
Standard Overclock Speed 4.7 GHz
Base Power Consumption 91 W

Introduction

At the time of writing this review, the 7700K was priced higher than the 6700K. The performance benefits of the 7th generation processor over its predecessor are nominal at best and hence we opted to give the 6700K a place on our charts. After all, money is still a consideration and performance for every dollar you spend is what should matter the most.

14nm Skylake architecture at its best – that is what Intel promises with the 6700K. This is a quad-core processor with incredible clock speeds and even amazing performance. This processor costs less than the Ryzen 7 and it performs better than it in today’s real world scenario.

It has a base clock speed of 4GHz and can go up to 4.2GHz, which isn’t much of a jump though overclocking the processor can get you anywhere from 4.7GHz to 5GHz with stability. The 6700K comes with Intel HD530 graphics card, which is just as capable as the newer HD630 card if not better than it so not much difference there.

Where the Core i7 7700K does differ is in its design optimization and power consumption, but only slightly. As for performance indexes, the difference is too small to even consider. Hence, if you plan on purchasing a Core i7 7700K then you can read this review as these two processors are practically the same with just minor optimization and improvements. Besides, both CPUs use the LGA 1151 socket.

Intel Core i7 6700K 4.00 GHz Unlocked Quad Core Skylake Desktop Processor, Socket LGA 1151 [BX80662I76700K]
  • LGA 1151
  • Unlocked Processor. DDR4 & DDR3L Support
  • Display Resolution up to 4096x2304

Performance Analysis

For this review, we will be discussing why the 6700K is a better choice as opposed to the 7700K with numbers and figures supporting our argument. This review is slightly different from the rest of our series as we do not go much into exact benchmark scores. This is because both processors bring in nearly the same scores with just a couple or few points difference between the two. The only thing to keep in mind is that the 7700K does score higher than the 6700K in all tests, even if by just a few points.

The first thing we learned was the 7700K took 6% more power than the 6700K at its stock configuration. But, when both processors are overclocked the power usage difference between the two reduces to 4.7%.

The second lesson was gaming improvements were nominal. Because the 6700K already provides impressive performance in all games, we expected the jump in framerates to be nominal with the 7700K and we were proven right. Take for instance our Metro Last Light Redux test where the 7700K raked in about 15 frames per second higher than the 6700K. However, if you overclock both processors then the difference in frames drops down to less than 5 FPS.

So far, it seems that the 7700K is just a minor improvement over the 6700K and so the slight price jump is justified. However, what worried us was the temperature readings from the Kaby Lake architecture. The 7700K ran hot hitting 54C when playing games whereas the 6700K on average maintained 34C. This is astonishing and what makes it worse are the temperature readings when both processors are overclocked. The 6700K reaches 48C whereas the 7700K goes up to 61C.

Basically, if we were to compare these two processors head to head, the clear winner would be the 6700K simply because of its lower operating temperatures, stable overclocking abilities and near identical performance to the 7700K.

Next up, let us discuss where the 6700K stands against the Ryzen 7, which is also our top pick. First of all, the Ryzen 7 isn’t yet fully optimized for games as it is a brand new processor but even then, it manages to come close to the Intel i7 7700K and 6700K. However, in a majority of games, the 6700K does win the race.

The only areas where the 6700K does not match up to the Ryzen 7 1700 is in Handbrake, 7 Zip, and other similar tests. Basically, any application that relies on multi-thread performance will fare much better with the Ryzen 1700. However, today’s applications are all single core intensive and the Core i7 6700K can be cheaper than the Ryzen 7 1700. Hence, the Core i7 6700K wins the race for us in the real world scenario.

Pros

  • Impressive single core performance and multi-core performance.
  • Minimal power consumption with lower operating temperatures.
  • Manages to match the performance of the Core i7-7700K at stock settings.
  • Cheaper than both the 7700K and Ryzen 7 1700.
  • Motherboards are cheaper for the 6700K and provide upgrade option if in future you decide to change to 7th

Cons

  • Multi-thread performance is a slight concern considering the price you pay for this CPU.

Should You Buy The Intel Core i7 6700K?

Yes, you should buy the i7 6700K if you can afford it. If you have $300 for a processor and want the best deal you can get, this is what you should consider. With the phenomenal overall performance, there is absolutely no reason why you should not purchase the 6700K.

Ryzen 7 launch has definitely brought some stiff competition to the Intel line of processors, however, with the pricing strategy of Intel currently on the 6700K (as of writing this review), we cannot recommend the 1700 AMD processor over the 6700K. In future, things might change and we will certainly revisit this review and change our verdict but as it stands, the 6700K is what you should get no matter what you do.

There are absolutely no justifiable reasons for spending higher on the 7700K as we have outlined. However, there are situations where the Ryzen 7 1700 is a better bet. Video editing, 3D programs, and similar multi-thread dependent applications will perform faster and better with the Ryzen. For everything else, which is nearly 90% of usage, the Intel Core i7 6700K is a clear winner.

Verdict

We recommend the Intel Core i7 6700K over all other currently available processors in the market. At the price point it currently retails at, the 6700K outperforms competing models and manufacturers in several departments. 14nm construction, power optimization, and performance are all impressive but what truly sets it apart is the temperature readings we received on a stock cooler. It is the cheapest, coolest and most reliable among all processors within this price range.

If you are upgrading from an older 3rd or 4th generation processor, the 7th generation 7700K is a better choice as you futureproof yourself. In fact, the Ryzen 7 1700 is an equally great choice too. However, if you already have a 6700K or a 5th generation processor then there is absolutely no reason to think of an upgrade at present. And for all new buyers building a brand new machine, the Core i7 6700K is a top performer that should last you a good five years before needing any significant upgrade.