Intel’s 8600K CPU changes the story significantly for the company’s i5 lineup. When AMD’s R5 CPUs launched, we noted that the i5-7600K 4C/4T CPU had a “fading grasp,” highlighting that the R5 1600(X) achieved close enough gaming performance while offering greater versatility. The gap between an R7 and i7 remained much more significant – enough that we could, and do, still recommend an i7 for some workloads – but the R5 and i5 distance grew closer, and so the R5s became easy to recommend. Now, with the i5-8600K, Intel moves its mid-range lineup to 6C/6T designs, maintains high clocks (higher, even), and potentially makes up for losses on the 4C units.
We just bought Intel’s i5-8600K CPU for $300, following high demand for a review, and ran it through the benchmark ringer. We’ve previously reviewed other Intel 8th Gen units, including the i7-8700K (review here), the i5-8400 (review here), and the i3-8350K (review here). This review looks at the Intel i5-8600K benchmark performance, including overclocking (to 5GHz), Blender, gaming, thermals, and power consumption.
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Our i5-8600K CPU was able to hit 5GHz core in our testing and, being a 6C i5, posted some interesting benchmark numbers when compared to the i7-8700K; unfortunately, both are either expensive or difficult to get right now, depending on your region and which CPU is of interest. The two are the best pairings for the motherboard market, being limited to just the unlocked Z370 chipset, but future B360 and H-series boards will give the i5-8400 a new value argument.
These K-SKUs, as always, should only really be used with Z-series motherboards – that’ll permit overclocking, and will enable the primary reason for the suffixed K parts to exist. We’re still running our Z370 CPU tests on the Gigabyte Ultra Gaming motherboard and, due to some Vdroop, we’re using load-line calibration set to the second-highest setting (High) to stabilize voltage supply. Our 8600K was able to achieve 5.0GHz at 1.4Vcore, including stability in AVX workloads, and we think it’d be able to push 5.1GHz with some more effort (or a higher-end board). Ultimately, though, 5.0GHz is a good representation of what at least some consumers should be hitting. Remember that 5GHz is largely a nice number for psychological reasons, but that 4.9GHz is often more readily achieved and isn’t that behind in performance. In our case, we could achieve 4.9GHz with a lower Vcore, and thus would be able to drive down power consumption and heat generation by reducing the clock.
We’re going to get right into this review, as it’s now the fourth 8th Gen part that we’ve looked at.
All of the new (non-legacy) CPU tests were conducted with 3200MHz CL16 memory. A GeIL EVO X kit was used across the board, with some exceptions made for a GSkill RGB Trident Z kit that had been reconfigured to match the GeIL timings. We’ve also moved to a 1080 Ti FTW3 from the 1080 FTW1, making for a stark difference in GPU bottlenecking headroom between the legacy and new tests. Part of this means updating drivers to version 385.69, with Windows now updated to Creator’s Update (game mode disabled) for new CPU benchmarks and reviews. An EVGA SuperNOVA T2 1600W PSU was used as the primary power supply, with a Kraken X62 (max pump + fan speeds) used for the cooler on all benches.
Previous platform and test methodology information can be found in more recent CPU reviews, but we are updating in big ways for CL onward.