Intel Core i7-7700K And Z270 Chipset Review: Kaby Lake Hits The Desktop

Test Setup, SiSoft SANDRA, and PCMark 8

Test System Configuration Notes: When configuring our test systems for this article, we first entered their respective system BIOSes and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High performance Defaults". We then saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS and ensured the memory speed was set to each platform's maximum, officially supported frequency and that no CPU overclocking was taking place.

memory in gb mobo
G-SKILL DDR4 Memory Installed In The Gigabyte Z270X-Gaming 9 Motherboard

The solid state drives in the test systems were then formatted, and Windows 10 Pro x64 was installed. When the Windows installation was complete, we fully updated the OS, and installed all of the drivers necessary for our components. Auto-Updating and Windows Defender were then disabled and we installed all of our benchmarking software, performed a disk clean-up, and cleared any prefetch and temp data. Before invoking any tests, we also let the system reach an idle state, and rebooted in-between each benchmark.

HotHardware's Test Systems
Intel and AMD - Head To Head

System 1:
Intel Core i7-7700K
(4.2GHz+ - Quad-Core)

GB + ASUS Motherboards
(Z270 Chipset)

(@ 2400MHz)

GeForce GTX 960
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

System 2:
lntel Core i7-6950X
(3GHz+ - Deca-Core)

Intel Core i7-5690X
(3GHz+ - Octo-Core)

MSI X99A Gaming Pro
(X99 Chipset)

(@ 2133MHz / 2400MHz)

GeForce GTX 960
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

System 3:
Intel Core i7-6700K
(4GHz+ - Quad-Core)

Asus Z170 Deluxe
(Z170 Express Chipset)

4x4GB Corsair DDR4
(@ 2133MHz)

IPG or GeForce GTX 960
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

System 4:
AMD FX-8370 
(4GHz+ Octo-Core)

AMD FX-9590 
(4.7GHz+ Octo-Core) 

Asus CrossHair V Formula
(AMD 990FX Chipset)

2x4GB Radeon DDR3 
(@ 2133MHz)

GeForce GTX 960
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS

Preliminary Testing with SiSoft SANDRA 2016
Synthetic Benchmarks

We began our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA 2016, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran four of the built-in subsystem tests that partially comprise the SANDRA 2016 suite with Intel's new Core i7-7700K processor (CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Memory Bandwidth, and Cache and Memory). All of the scores reported below were taken with the processor running at its default clock speeds (4.2GHz base, 4.5GHz turbo), with 16GB of DDR4-2400 RAM running in dual-channel mode on the Gigabyte Aorus Z270Z-Gaming 9 motherboard.

san cpu
Processor Arithmetic
san mm
Processor Multi-Media
san mem
Memory Bandwidth
san cache
Cache and Memory Bandwidth

The Core i7-7700K put up some decent scores in the various SiSoft SANDRA tests, but we didn't see any big surprises. The arithmetic and multimedia scores are in-line with expectations, and memory bandwidth falls in the 24GB/s range, thanks to the platform's dual-channel DDR4 memory configuration. The cache and memory benchmark shows minimal improvements initially, and actually has Kaby Lake falling behind with middling data-set sizes, but it takes the lead with the largest data-sets.

PCMark 8 v2
System Level Benchmark

PCMark 8 v2 is the latest version in Futuremark’s series of popular PC benchmarking tools. It is designed to test the performance of all types of systems, from tablets to desktops. PCMark 8 offers five separate benchmark tests -- plus battery life testing for mobile platforms -- to help consumers find the devices that offer the perfect combination of efficiency and performance for their particular use case.

This latest version of the suite improves the Home, Creative and Work benchmarks with new tests using popular open source applications for image processing, video editing and spreadsheets. A wide variety of workloads have also been added to the Work benchmark to better reflect the way PCs are used in enterprise environments. These tests can be run with or without OpenCL acceleration. We chose to run with OpenCL acceleration enabled to leverage all of the platforms’ CPU and GPU compute resources.


Please note that we have a trio of scores from the Kaby Lake-based Core i7-7700K moving forward -- two sets with discrete NVIDIA Graphics on the ASUS Maximum IX Hero and Gigabyte Aorus Z270X-Gaming 9, and one using the iGPU (also run on the Gigabyte board).

The Core i7-7700K showed larger than expected gains in the PCMark Work and Home tests. The processors' higher turbo frequency appeared to be maintained throughout the entire benchmark and the QuickSync enhancements seemed to helps in the content creation (video related) tests.

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