Is the i7 8086K CPU good

Intel Core i7-8086K: The limited edition for hunters and gatherers

tl; dr5.0 GHz makes the Intel Core i7-8086K Limited Edition look something at first glance. But the test reveals too many similarities with the Core i7-8700K that Intel did not mention. In the end, the surcharge of over 100 euros in free trade cannot be justified in terms of performance.

The first Intel processor with 5 GHz (in turbo)

40 years ago, Intel's x86 technology saw the light of day and gave the manufacturer an unbroken triumphant advance to this day. For the anniversary there is a very special CPU: the Intel Core i7-8086K Limited Edition. With 5.0 GHz instead of 5.0 MHz, it offers 1,000 times the clock rate of the original model from 1978 and instead of 29,000 transistors for one core, there are now six cores with twelve threads based on many millions of transistors - Intel reveals the exact number not for a long time. What is the limited edition? Intel does not reveal that either.

Here and now, the Intel Core i7-8086K does not compete against a 40-year-old model, but against the Core i7-8700K, which has only been on the market for almost nine months (test). The underlying family is identical to the code name Coffee Lake. And the test shows: Both CPUs are much closer in detail than Intel's public statements suggest.

At the start, Intel focused on its own competition, but there were no samples for the press. ComputerBase has therefore (as with many tests) asked the free online trade for help and received a copy that every customer has been able to buy since Thursday. Today's sample comes from the Bora Computer Group (consisting of Schwanthaler Computer, K&M Computer and Bora Computer), where the CPU is available from stock.

The clock rate gain for the 8700K only exists in 2 out of 5 scenarios

Intel advertises 5.0 GHz for the Core i7-8086K Limited Edition, but that's only one side of the coin. Because in this case, too, there are various cycle levels for different load scenarios, each depending on the number of cores loaded in parallel. However, Intel no longer reports these clock rates. In addition to the single-core turbo, only the base clock of 4.0 GHz is stored in the ARK in-house database for the newcomer.

No clock speed advantage with multi-core load

The 300 MHz more in the base and in the maximum turbo look like a clear thing compared to the previous flagship Core i7-8700K. But it is precisely the details that Intel has not mentioned for two years that are decisive in everyday life. And here we can see why again today: There is no difference between the Core i7-8086K and the Core i7-8700K at all multi-core load levels.

The clock speed increase is therefore only present in two out of five scenarios: In the base clock, which is never applied on commercially available mainboards without TDP restriction, and in a single-core load environment. There are still scenarios for this, but they are gradually becoming extinct in mid-2018. More cores and threads, on the other hand, are being supported more and more, and it's not for nothing that Intel and AMD have been promising processors for the high-end desktop market (HEDT) with 28 and even 32 cores in the past few days. In particular, games and thus players, who are the selected target group of the Coffee Lake family, benefit from more cores - it should now be at least four in number. And in this environment, the Core i7-8086K will deliver the same performance as the Core i7-8700K.

Intel's secrecy is annoying

The anniversary model shows once again and very prominently why Intel's silence on the clock rates per load level is only a disadvantage for the end customer. But the manufacturer is not only stingy with the turbo clock rates, also the other technical data and details that can be set in a modern BIOS are not presented; These are, for example, the clock rate of the L3 cache or the UnCore area - here as a customer (and tester) you have to blindly rely on the specifications of the mainboard manufacturer.

The problem: Manufacturers differ from one another here. What should be “standard” according to Intel is not always the same. Crystal clear public documents, as they were once the standard, would avoid any ambiguity and problems. A glance at two mainboards reveals this: With the Asus Maximus X Hero, the UnCore area is clocked differently than with the Gigabyte Aorus Ultra Gaming. Both are the defaults according to the manufacturer.

Intel Core i7-8086K Limited Edition in the test

Like all Coffee Lake processors, the Intel Core i7-8086K Limited Edition naturally also requires a 300 series motherboard. Since it is a K model, i.e. It has a freely definable multiplier for overclocking, it should preferably be a Z370 mainboard, because only there the multiplier can be freely selected.

Once it has been placed in the LGA 1151 (v2) socket, the BIOS with the latest update recognizes the CPU without any problems. The turbo clock rates already mentioned are visible in Windows 10 in everyday life. Speaking of visible: The 5.0 GHz is very rare, because it requires a clean Windows without many parallel background applications, otherwise, as with almost all applications and games, 4.3 to 4.6 GHz are present.

On the next page: Benchmarks: Core i7-8086K versus Core i7-8700K

  • Volker Rißka email
    ... has been writing about CPUs, their architectures and manufacturing processes as well as mainboards and RAM since 2002.