The high-end builders usually get their hands on the Core i7 or the Ryzen 7. The name Core i7 is Intel’s start of the high-end CPUs. Intel is releasing its 11th generation, but its older generation, like the 8th and 9th generation, is still going strong.
Even though those 2 CPUs are weak, they still perform top-notch with no hiccups in performance. But which CPU do I choose for my next build? Don’t worry. We will clear the confusion regarding these products and give a conclusive answer for your needs.
Core i7 – 8700K vs Core i7 – 9700K
The Core i7 is the high-end CPU from Intel. It is not the extreme CPU like the Core i9 or Xeon series. The Core series is directed towards the average consumer and enthusiasts. The Core i7 is the best high-end CPU that doesn’t break your bank. Intel’s Core i7 is one of the best choices in terms of performance in gaming and productivity.
So what does differ between the Core i7 8700K and the Core i7 9700K? First, comes the performance and the feature sets. Aside from the differences, these processors are quite similar to each other. Even though they have the same Core i7 title, each processor has its caveat. Here is small info on the processors.
Core i7 – 8700K
Intel’s 8th generation Core wasn’t a great leap considering it is the same Skylake process. The 8th generation Coffee Lake architecture is an improved approach to the Skylake process. This is the first time we saw the Core series getting a bump in core count and clock speed.
Previously, there was no competition in the market space, but the Ryzen processor’s introduction from AMD shook Intel. Not only Intel had a great competitor, but AMD was providing more cores for a lesser price.
Intel shifted its gears and increased the core count on the 8th generation processors. The Core i7 comes with 6 cores and 12 threads. The 8700K was clocked slightly higher than the Core i7 7700K with 2 lesser cores. The 3.7 GHz base of the Core i7-8700K is lower than the older Core i7 7th Gen processor and 6th gen processor. But it has an impressive 4.7 GHz boost clock and a clock multiplier value at 37.
It has 95W TDP and is efficiently cooled with the stock cooler. But if you are overclocking it, we suggest using an AIO cooler or water-cooling it. The processor retailed for around $385 at launch. But now it retails at about $400. Its availability is scarce and is hard to find currently.
Core i7 – 9700K
The Core i7 – 9700K is no different than the Core i7 8700K. It is based on the same Coffee Lake architecture, 14nm process node but offers quite different performance. Even though based on the same process node, the 9th generation Core i7 offers more cores.
But Intel went out of its way and removed the hyper-threading feature in the current CPU. Quite an Odd move considering Intel provided hyper-threading on all of its Core i7 processors. Nevertheless, the Core i7 9700K comes with 8 physical cores and 8 logical cores. It is the same Cores as in the Core i7 8700K.
The Core i7 9700K has an unimpressive 3.6 GHz base clock, but it ramps up to 4.9 GHz. The clock multiplier on the processor sits at 36, which is plenty enough to push over 5.1 GHz when overclocking.
The 95W TDP is quite impressive, making fair use of the stock cooler in vanilla settings. But as before, when overclocking, we suggest using the AIO water cooler. The processor retailed for around $359 during launch but now retails at $260 to $300, depending on the vendor. Thanks to the Ryzen 3000 processor, The 9700K has seen an aggressive price drop.
The Core i7 8700K and the Core i7 9700K are way more similar. As previously mentioned, both use the Coffee Lake architecture and have identical specifications. Here is a list of the similarities between the processors:
- Same Core architecture Design (Coffee Lake)
- Supported on the 300 series chipset motherboard chipset and LGA 1151 socket
- Uses the 14nm process node
- Unlocked Processor (Core i7 – X700K, “K” suffix)
- Intel UHD 630 graphics
- Max 128 GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM support
- PCIe Gen 3.0 with 16 PCIe lanes
- 12 MB L3 Cache
There are tons of similarities to be expected as the Core i7 9700K has 2 additional cores than the Core i7 8700K. The missing hyper-threading technology on the 9700K sure does cut some performance all in all. But as for the single-core performance, there is not much to separate between the two processors.
The Core i7 8700 and the Core i7 9700K are compatible with the same 300 series Intel motherboards based on the same coffee lake design. There is an upgrade path from 8th gen to 9th gen. The motherboard compatibility on the 8th and 9th gen allows for an easy upgrade path. But the 9th gen CPUs are the last CPU to be compatible with 300 series motherboards. So no upgrade path to the 10th gen or upcoming 11th gen Intel processors.
Intel is quite clumsy in terms of the process node. There is no much difference aside from the Core count increment and Hyper-Threading performance. The CPUs boast the same Core architecture, same L3 cache, same UHD graphics, etc. The Core i7 9700K is just the 8700K but with 2 extra cores and hyper-threading removed. More on that topic later.
The 9700K is the revised version of the 8700K created in haste. Intel slacked off during research and development. When AMD caused a threat in the market with its Ryzen CPUs, Intel had to increase the Core count and push the 14nm process node to its limit.
Intel provides many versions of all the Core series. The Core i7 has more than 3 iterations, like the Core i7 9700K, Core i7 9700KF, and the Core i7 9700F. Intel has its unique terminology for its products. Every product is differentiated with the suffix at the back.
- The K suffix denotes the processor is unlocked and is overclockable.
- F denotes the processor has no integrated GPU. You won’t be able to boot without an external GPU.
- KF denotes the processor is unlocked but doesn’t feature integrated GPU
Key Features / Specifications:
Even though they are old CPUs, we will be comparing the CPU with the 9th gen, 10th gen Intel processors. The Core i5 9600K and Core i5 10600K are added into the fray to give an example of how much the Core lineup has improved. All the tests are done on the same test bench except for the 10th generation processor. Aside from the motherboard swaps, there will be no difference between the test configurations.
Here is the test bench used for the performance check:
RAM: 8 GB X 2 Patriot Viper 3000MHz Cl14
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
Cooler: NZXT Kraken X62 280mm AIO
Storage: 1 TB Samsung 970 EVO NVMe
Each processor will undergo benchmark testing in various software. We will be looking for a Gaming and productivity workload to obtain a broad sense of results. We are using an AIO so that no thermal throttling etc., occurs while benchmarking. Here are the results of the benchmarks:
Higher Point is better
Higher is better
Lower Time is better (Measured in minutes)
Blender Open Data Render:
Lower Time is better (Measured in minutes)
As for the performance the Core i7 8700K loses out in the bout for the single-threaded workload. The aggressively clocked Core i7 9700K gains the upper hand in the single-core test. The cinebench score test saw 7% increase in the performance for the Core i7 9700K.
Even in multi-threaded work, it is looking bleak for the i7 8700K. But those 8 threads come in clutch during 3D applications. Other Times, the i7 9700K outperforms the i7 8700K but not by a lot.
There we can clearly see the influence of the increased TDP and clock speed in the results. The i7 9700K clearly draws more power with an 5% – 7% performance uplift. That isn’t great considering 9th generation’s extra 2 cores and bumped up clock speed.
All the gaming tests are done in 1080p with high settings. The 1080p resolution is perfect to display the power of the processors. The graphics card doesn’t fully influence the performance of the game under 1440p resolution. So for the best results, we are choosing the 1080p resolution with all graphical settings switched to the highest.
Shadow of The Tomb Raider:
Red Dead Redemption 2:
Most of our tests are done in 1080p resolution to get the best CPU bound game load. In the latest titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, there is a 7% uplift mention before. As for Red Dead Redemption it is quite a shocking result as all the CPUs scored similarly with no differences.
GTA V bears similar results like Shadow of the Tomb Raider. CSGO engine is unique as it allows the CPU to push frames more than intended. But in CSGO there is only 1% difference in performance.
The games usually rely on the single-core performance of the CPUs. The benchmarks clearly show slight differences in scores. The Core i7 9700K even though being an 8 cores processor is clearly on par with i7 8700K 6 cores. So there isn’t much there to gain from a generational jump.
The pricing for the processors are kind of a mixed bag. The Core i7 8700K was retailed for around $385 for launch. But it is now priced at about $400. It is quite expensive for an old processor. It is better to get a used CPU rather than using a brand new CPU.
The Core i7 9700K is better compared to the i7 8700K. It was retailed for around $349 and now goes for about $260, offering great value. Thanks to the courtesy of Ryzen and its latest performance uplift. The Ryzen 3000 posed a problem for Intel, and now Ryzen 5000 causes more price cuts for the pre-existing CPUs.
As for the value composition, buying a new Core i7 9700K is excellent. If you can find the Core i7 8700K for under $250, it is also technically for grab. But there is much more to the CPU’s here.
The performance of the Core i7 8700K still hangs up with the best. Even though it is out shadowed by the 10th generation Core and Ryzen 5000 CPUs, it still pushes frames enough for gaming. If you already own a Core i7 8700K and want to upgrade to 9700K, we don’t suggest taking the 9th gen CPU upgrade.
The 8700K is already capable of running games better, and thanks to its hyper-threading, it beats the i7 9700K in multi-threaded workload. But if you are looking to build a PC from scratch and only game, the i7 9700K is the best bet.
For a new buyer, the i7 9700K is excellent as it fits the budget. It isn’t that much different from the Core i7 8700K, but the clock speed bump and increased TDP uplift single-core performance.
But as always, there are other options like Ryzen inflict pain on the value of the CPU. Ryzen previously was a completely multi-threaded beast. But now the Ryzen 5000 might pose a problem for Intel. As new CPU’s arrive the prices get slashed making the previous Gen Core i7 affordable.
Core i7 8700K
- Lower TDP
- Great multi-threaded performance
- Weak Single-Core performance
- Buying Brand New is expensive and invaluable
Core i7 9700K
- Great Single-Core performance
- Higher Clock Speed
- Better Overclock potential
- Still Available for Low price
- Weak Multi-threaded performance
- Not worth upgrading from Core i7 8700K
Even though both have their traits, these CPUs still rock out in 2020. For productivity, the Core i7 8700K is excellent on its own. It still handles push frames in the latest titles without ease. But for sole gaming purposes, props go to the Core i7 9700K. So this is our conclusion for the Core i7 8700K vs. Core i7 9700K. Stay tuned for more buyer’s guides and subscribe for daily news.