6700K vs 8700K Upgrading

6700K vs 8700K Upgrading

6700K vs 8700K Upgrading. Intel’s 6700K Skylake CPU is great for gaming and productivity, but is it worth upgrading to the newer six core 8700K Coffee lake CPU? In this video we’ll go through some game benchmarks and CPU tests to show you the performance difference between these two powerful CPUs, both at stock speeds and when overclocked. First lets cover the important similarities and differences between these two chips.

The 6700K is a high end chip from Intel’s 6th generation known as Skylake, while the 8700K is currently the top end option from the 8th generation known as Coffee Lake. The 6700K has 4 cores and 8 threads, while the 8700K has 50% more with 6 cores and 12 threads. The 8700K has a slightly lower base clock speed at 3.7GHz compared with the 6700K’s 4GHz, but the 8700K has a much faster turbo speed of 4.7GHz compared to 4.2GHz, although as K series CPUs both can also be overclocked.

Both are using the 14nm manufacturing process, the 8700K has a slightly higher TDP, and finally the 8700K also has 50% more cache, or cash depending on where you’re from. So how much of a performance difference do these changes make practically? To test this I’ve run various benchmarks on two different systems with these processors to find out. Both PCs are running Windows 10 with all available updates installed on a Samsung M.2 SSD, and have 16GB of DDR4 RAM.

The memory speed of the Skylake system was 2,133MHz while the Coffee lake one was running at 2,666MHz, so a minor amount of performance increase shown in the 8700K may be due to this platform difference. I’ve used the exact same EVGA 1080 FTW2 graphics card in each while performing the graphical tests, so other than the memory speeds the primary difference between the two systems is the CPUs. I’ve tested both CPUs at stock clock speeds, with the 6700K overclocked to 4.7GHz and the 8700K overclocked to 5.1GHz.

Intel i7 8700k
Intel i7 8700k

In general from what I’ve seen Coffee Lake seems to overclock higher than the previous generations, but in any case this was as good as I could get both of them. With all that in mind let’s check out the benchmarks! We’ll start with the gaming results because I’m sure that’s what most of you care about. I’ve tested the latest 1.0 version of PUBG using the replay feature, so the exact same test run was used for every test. We can see that the 8700K is giving us an improved frame rate, however interestingly the 1% lows seem to be doing better on it compared to the averages. It’s also interesting that even the stock 8700K is beating the overclocked 6700K, so it seems the extra cores might be helping here, I doubt that much of a difference is purely from architectural changes between the 6th and 8th generation.

In any case, even at 1080p ultra settings the 6700k at stock is averaging 90 FPS, sitting close to 60 FPS for the 1% lows, so not really worth the upgrade unless you’re playing competitively. The Witcher 3 performed around the same in terms of average FPS on the 6700K regardless of whether or not it was overclocked, although overclocking does seem to make a small difference to the 1% lows. I found it interesting that the 8700K at stock performed very close to the 6700K in terms of average frame rates, but when overclocked the 8700K pulls away from the rest of the pack at all setting levels.

Although this is a nice boost, we’re still getting good results out of the 6700K. Watchdogs 2 is a fairly resource intensive game, so it was nice to see that even at ultra settings the 6700K was still able to average 60 FPS. The 8700K is giving us quite a big performance boost compared to the 6700K, even at stock the 1% lows from the 8700K are above the 6700K averages in most cases, so it appears that those extra cores are actually getting put to work, and once again the overclocks aren’t making too much of a difference at the higher setting levels as the graphics card becomes more of a bottleneck.

In the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark we’re getting above 120 FPS on average even at max settings with the 6700K, with the 8700K giving a small increase, but in general nothing too amazing. The overclock on the 8700K once again seems to be proving more useful than on the 6700K, probably as it’s able to go a fair bit higher than the 6700K. Again with Shadow of War I used the built in benchmark tool, and we can see the results are scaling in a nice even pattern, however the actual frame rate difference between the CPUs isn’t very much at all, so once again it doesn’t seem that the extra two cores of the 8700K are making a difference at all here.

Ghost Recon is another fairly resource intensive game, however it seems to require a lot of GPU horsepower as we’re not really seeing any differences between the four and six core CPUs, especially at the higher setting levels. There’s a little boost with the 8700K in the middle of the graph, but not really enough of a jump to go crazy about.

In the past I’ve found DOOM to perform fairly similarly regardless of the setting level used, and there’s no changes here. There’s a little difference between each result as we step up in clock speed, but again no real discernable difference from the extra cores on the 8700K, the results are so close together that again there’s not a real practical difference here unless you’re serious about max FPS, as the overclocked 8700K was able to stay above 120 FPS for the 1% lows, pretty impressive.

As for benchmark tools test I’ve used 3DMark to test Fire Strike and Time Spy, and as synthetic tests they scale much more evenly with additional resources, so nothing too surprising there. I’ve also run the Heaven and Valley benchmarks from Unigine, and there’s much less of a difference between the results, especially in Heaven it’s pretty negligible. In most of these graphical tests we can see that the 8700K makes a much larger difference at the lower frame rates, as the CPU is doing more work while the GPU just sits around.

At the higher setting levels where the GPU is taking on more of the work there’s less of a difference observed between the two CPUs, and if you’re gaming with either of these CPUs there’s a pretty good chance you’re running a good graphics card too and using higher settings, so unless the game is able to actually take advantage of more CPU cores like in Watchdogs 2, the 8700K isn’t really making too much of performance difference, just a small little boost from its improved single core speeds.

Now with the games complete let’s look at various CPU specific tests. I’ve used Handbrake to encode a 4K video file to 1080p, and a separate 1080p video file to 720p, and we can see the extra cores on the 8700K are really helping out as it’s able to render more frames per second, significantly speeding up the job.

The Corona benchmark renders a scene, and we can see that the overclocked 8700K is completing the task twice as fast as the stock 6700K, and not too far behind even the overclocked 6700K despite only having 50% more cores, so it goes to show what the additional cores and higher clock speeds can do. I’ve used Veracrypt to test the AES encryption and decryption speeds, there’s a noticeable increase with the 8700K likely owing to those two extra cores, and we can see how well it’s overclocking as again it’s almost twice as fast than the 6700K at stock speeds.

The 7-Zip benchmark was used to demonstrate the decompression and compression speeds of both CPUs, and like the VeraCrypt test we can see the 8700K’s extra cores are making a noticeable performance increase, with the overclocks being icing on the cake. In Cinebench I’ve tested both single and multi core performance, as expected in the single core performance there’s not too much of a difference, and the 6700K overclocked is performing quite close to the 8700K at stock, as both would be running at 4.7GHz here, so the small difference should be due to other improvements between the CPU generations.

As expected in the multicore results the 8700K steals the show, and when that powerful overclock is applied to all 6 cores it jumps even further ahead. It’s similar in Geekbench4, the single core results are fairly close together especially with the overclocked 6700K and stock 8700K, and then with the multicore results the 8700K jumps right up thanks to the extra cores.

Again the same behaviour was noted in passmark9, slightly better single core performance between the two, and then multicore is blown out of the water using the 8700K. Based on the gaming tests, in most cases the 8700K appears to only be a small incremental upgrade unless the game actually takes advantage of the higher core count. For more real world productivity use cases however the extra cores makes a noticeable difference and could be worth upgrading to depending on your use case.

Although I didn’t notice any practical difference while playing the games myself, I did notice the time the 8700K saved me while doing tasks like rendering video, and if you’re a professional time is usually money. If you’re already running a 6700K there’s not really a major incentive to upgrade to Coffee Lake unless you really want to improve your multicore performance, those extra two cores make a noticeable difference in multicore workloads.

If you’re just gaming though the difference between the two is fairly small, and again probably not worth upgrading in most cases as you’ll also need to buy a new motherboard in order to support the Coffee Lake CPU, so that’s even more money. If you’re looking at buying either of these today from anything older then I’d definitely suggest going with the 8th generation unless you can find a good sale on the 6th or 7th generation, but if you’re still rocking Intel’s 6th generation you’ll probably still be fine for a while to come.

So what did you guys think about the differences in performance between the Intel 6700K and 8700K CPUs? Personally I thought the performance of the 8700K was excellent, it’s a beast of an overclocker and it’s awesome to finally have more than 4 cores available on the mainstream Intel platform, so I guess I should be thanking AMD for kicking Intel into gear for that one.

Be sure to let me know your thoughts down in the comments, and leave a share this post if you found it useful. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to subscribe for future tech reviews like this one.

Louise Martin

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