Intel i5-7600K Review Ft. 5 Generations of i5 & i7 CPUs

By Published February 04, 2017 at 4:43 pm
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Additional Info

  • Component: CPU
  • Original MSRP: 240
  • Manufacturer: Intel

The Kaby Lake i7-7700K launched to the usual review verdict for Intel CPUs: Not particularly worthwhile for owners of recent Intel i7 CPUs, but perhaps worth consideration for owners of Sandy Bridge and (maybe) Ivy Bridge. The CPU gave an extra 1.5-3% gaming performance over the i7-6700K and roughly ~+7% performance in render applications. The i5-7600K we’d suspect would be similar in its generational stepping, but it’s worth properly benchmarking.

Our i5-7600K ($240) review and benchmark includes CPUs dating back to the i5-2500K (including OC) and i5-3570K, though we’ve also got a similar amount of i7 CPUs on the bench. We’ve just finished re-benching some of our AMD CPUs for some near-future articles, too, but t hose won’t make it on today’s charts.

Before starting, a quick refresher on Intel Kaby Lake CPU specifications (reprinted from our Intel i7-7700K review):

Intel Core i7-7700K vs. i5-7600K, i3-7350K Specs

Intel Kaby Lake K-SKU CPUs
GamersNexus.net i7-7700K i5-7600K i3-7350K
Cores 4C/8T 4C/4T 2C/4T
Frequency 4.2/4.5GHz 3.8/4.2GHz 4.2GHz
Overclocking Yes Yes Yes
IGP HD 630 HD 630 HD 630
Dynamic Frequency 1150MHz 1150MHz 1150MHz
DDR4/DDR3L MHz 2400/1600 2400/1600 2400/1600
Intel Smart Cache 8M 6M 4M
Memory Channels Dual Dual Dual
TDP 91W 91W 60W
Process Technology 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm+
1ku Price $339 $242 $168

Intel i5-7600K Benchmark [Video Version]

Reminder on Kaby Lake Architecture

Again, check the i7-7700K review for the Kaby Lake architecture updates, along with Page 2 for the chipset differences, but we’ll quickly update here.

Kaby Lake is built on “14nm+” process, which is Intel’s way of marketing fine tuning over the previous 14nm Skylake process. For Kaby Lake, updates primarily consist of changes to the gates and fins (widened gate pitch, slightly modified fin height), ultimately resulting in a clock frequency increase. That change gets us an extra couple hundred MHz in stock clocks over the previous generation, the origin of nearly all performance gains with Kaby Lake.

Caching and features are effectively identical to Skylake, as are most of the chipset features. We see some additions in Intel Optane support (learn what that is here) and HSIO lanes for lower-end chipsets, but that’s about the start and the end of it.

Like other K-SKU CPUs, the 7600K is fully overclockable via BCLK + multipliers and pairs best with the Z-series motherboards. As for other 7600K specs, we’re looking at a 2MB reduction in total cache from the i7, dropping to 6MB (vs. 8MB), but otherwise keeping largely the same specs and compatibilities. The biggest change, as always, is the halved thread count and reduced frequency.

Game Test Methodology

NVIDIA 376.33 drivers were used for benchmarking. Game settings were manually controlled for the DUT. All games were run at presets defined in their respective charts. All other game settings are defined in respective game benchmarks, which we publish separately from GPU and CPU reviews. Our test courses, in the event manual testing is executed, are also uploaded within that content. This allows others to replicate our results by studying our bench courses.

Windows 10-64 build 10586 was used for testing.

Each game was tested for 30 seconds in an identical scenario, then repeated three times for parity.

Some benchmarks disable EIST, Turbo, and other features -- please check each section to learn if that is the case. Otherwise, for game benchmarks, assume stock settings (Turbo enabled). We always disable C-states.

Average FPS, 1% low, and 0.1% low times are measured. We do not measure maximum or minimum FPS results as we consider these numbers to be pure outliers. Instead, we take an average of the lowest 1% of results (1% low) to show real-world, noticeable dips; we then take an average of the lowest 0.1% of results for severe spikes.

Core Components (Unchanging)

  • NZXT 1200W Hale90v2
  • For DDR4 platforms: Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB 3200MHz
  • For DDR3 platforms: HyperX Savage 32GB 2400MHz
  • Intel 730 480GB SSD
  • Open Air Test Bench
  • Cooler #1 (Air): Be Quiet! Dark Rock 3
  • Cooler #2 (Cheap liquid): Asetek 570LC w/ Gentle Typhoon fan
  • Cooler #3 (High-end): Kraken X62
  • GPU: GTX 1080 FTW (EVGA)

Note: fan and pump settings are configured on a per-test basis.

Z270 Platforms:

- Gigabyte Aorus Gaming 7 (primary)

- MSI Gaming Pro Carbon (secondary - for thermal validation)

- i7-7700K (x2) samples from motherboard vendors

Both used for the 7700K.

Z170 Platform:

- MSI Gaming M7

- i7-6700K retail

Z97 Platform:

- Gigabyte Z97X G1 WIFI-BK

- i7-4790K

Z77 Platform:

- MSI GD65 Z77

- i7-2600K

Dx12 games are benchmarked using PresentMon onPresent, with further data analysis from GN-made tools.

Note: We'd like to add the i5, i3, and FX CPUs, but this was enough for now. We'll add those as we expand into coverage of Zen or i5 Kaby Lake products.

Thermal Test Methodology

We strongly believe that our thermal testing methodology is among the best on this side of the tech-media industry. We've validated our testing methodology with thermal chambers and have proven near-perfect accuracy of results.

Conducting thermal tests requires careful measurement of temperatures in the surrounding environment. We control for ambient by constantly measuring temperatures with K-Type thermocouples and infrared readers. We then produce charts using a Delta T(emperature) over Ambient value where notated, otherwise, we'll use the diode and sensor measurements to provide a baseline performance metric. AIDA64, Intel Xtreme Tuning Utility, and HW Monitor (CPU PKG) are all used to monitor thermals. It appears that XTU and HW Monitor match in their measurement of CPU PKG for Kaby Lake.

All open bench fans are configured to their maximum speed and connected straight to the PSU. This ensures minimal variance when testing, as automatically controlled fan speeds will reduce reliability of benchmarking. The CPU fan is set to maximum fan speed, unless otherwise stated.

We use an AMPROBE multi-diode thermocouple reader to log ambient actively. This ambient measurement is used to monitor fluctuations and is subtracted from absolute GPU diode readings to produce a delta value. For these tests, we configured the thermocouple reader's logging interval to 1s, matching the logging interval of AIDA64, HW Monitor, and other tools. Data is calculated using a custom, in-house spreadsheet and software solution.

Continue to Page 2 for thermals & synthetics.


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Last modified on February 04, 2017 at 4:43 pm
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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