The last time an Intel Skylake CPU came in for review, it had been the Intel Core i5-6600K – a middle ground entry that pushed the envelope as far it could when it comes to high performance computing. Now an Intel Core i7-6700K – the real deal – has arrived and it is a doozy of an entry.
As is, many consider the top-end entrant into the Intel 6th Generation Core family as its cream of the crop. Right out of the box, the Intel Core i7-6700K CPU operates with a default clock speed of 4GHz and punches around 4.2GHz when turbo boost is engaged. Generally speaking, this is 0.5GHz faster than the Intel Core i5-6600K. While it may not sound significant, in computing speak even a 0.1GHz increase makes a whole lot of difference.
This being the top-end of the Intel 6th Generation Core, it has to pack in extras that reflect its status as a high-spec CPU. With built-in bus memory, it rocks another 2MB – pushing the 6MB present on the Intel Core i5-6600K to 8MB for the Intel Core i7-6700K as well as feature HyperThreading support for four cores with eight work threads. As shared in the previous review, the Intel Core i5-6600K does not have this particular feature. The only things that both top-of-the-line Intel 6th Generation Core CPUs have in common are the built-in Intel HD530 graphics, support for both DDR4 and DDR3 RAM, and a TDP rating of 91W.
Leader by Right
As per what had been noted in the Intel Core i5-6600K CPU review, the one entrant that sits right at the top – obviously – uses the same design and offers similar advanced processing functions. Thus, there is really no need to go into detail about Intel Skylake and what it generally offers in terms of functionality. Instead, let’s jump right into the real life usage and benchmarks of the now infamous Intel Core i7-6700K processor.
For this review, the most powerful Intel CPU to-date has to, of course, be paired with an equally as renowned platform. Just so there would be no bottle-necks present during this review, an ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) Maximus VII Ranger motherboard and a couple of high performance Kingston DDR4 RAM have been used to ensure there is no performance compromise whatsoever.
Once everything is in place, it is only a matter of firing up the PC and setting up the benchmarks. First up, the former. Hitting the on switch, while an age-old practice, is a whole new experience with the Intel Core i7-6700K. Upon hitting the power knob on the Cooler Master Stacker Case – seriously, the best has to be paired with nothing but the finest in hardware – Windows 10 fired up like a charm in seconds. Proper time tracking – yes, that had to be done as well – showed it only took less than five seconds to boot from cold to the Windows 10 login page. A direct restart shaved off two seconds from that.
Having an SSD drive jacked into it does help as well.
Using CPUZ’s built-in benchmark utility, it is easy to see that the Intel Core i7-6700K is around 13% faster than what the Intel Core i7-4790K Devil Canyon CPU is able to push out on the same clock speed. That is, indeed, a big jump from what had once been crowned as a high-spec dedicated gaming processor.
Paired with an Intel stock cooler, this review run had, many times, managed to bump the speed up to 4.6GHz. That is, theoretically, 10% above the default clock speed. If there had been a third-party or liquid-cooling system on hand, then this review could have really pushed the envelope.
Alas, that never came to be. However, interestingly, the higher clock speed that had been achieved did not really bump the temperature measurement by much. Based on recorded readings, it only rose to 60°C at most. Only one core from the i7-6700K broke the 70°C barrier.
Look at those awesome ratings! Being the daring sort, there had been attempts to boost the clock speed even further. Tests have managed to jack up the Intel Core i7-6700K to around 4.8GHz but only for a short while as heat readings jumped through the roof as well.
Ouch. Indeed, this is why a dedicated cooler is always good to have if one wants to really push beyond recommended clock speed rates. Going beyond the threshold, which had been easy enough, proved that there is loads of overclocking potential hidden within the innovatively high-tech processor.
For those who are curious, the 4.8GHz clock speed test run lasted close to five minutes – enough time to power up, load CPU-Z, take a screen-shot, and shut down the testing rig. Any longer and, very likely, the processor would have cooked itself.
The overpowered CPU, while running the gauntlet over at the Amanz.net Review Lab, proved two things – on its own, it can be a totally amazing processor and when paired with the right graphics, there is nothing in this world that has proven itself as capable enough to compete with the current top-of-the-line high-performance CPU. Now imagine having a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 or AMD Radeon equivalent being paired to this bad boy.
Well, the Review Lab made do with the tech that is available and paired it up before putting it through the wringer with PC Mark 8. Based on the readings that came out of that, it proves – beyond any shadow of doubt – the Intel Core i7-6700K is made to perform at the highest possible output.
Here are the general readings that PC Mark 8 managed to put out with the high-spec Intel processor:
The Intel Core i7-6700K shows that it certainly can walk the talk and prove itself to be Intel’s best processor by far. Personally, those keen to push this powered system as far as it can go should ditch the stock cooler that comes bundled with the CPU and, instead, use an exceptional third-party cooler just so it can be allowed to tap onto its fullest potential. If users have the right know-how, they can even fiddle with the more serious aspects of the top-end CPU and unlock its empowered capabilities. In doing this, it can be pushed to its upper limits and then some. This is why a reliable cooling system is needed.
Over The Top
If anything, the Intel Core i7-6700K is the one platform to consider if the PC it is powering is the sort that deals with high performance computing, made to play games at maximum output, or is made to run heavy graphic renders constantly. Even if paired with the most basic of parts, which is an odd thing to do, the heart of the PC – high-spec innovations and all – is more than enough to produce the speedy experiences that had been seen throughout the review.
Price-wise, well, if one is determined to build a computer that will last the next few years, deal with videogames that demand the very best in performance, and has room to go beyond its theoretical threshold – provided the right cooling equipment and equally as top-notch parts are used, then the Intel Core i7-6700K is a no-brainer.
Word of advice, don’t do anything that would literally cook the CPU. It’s too precious to accidentally overload and will cause more than just heartburn.
Total Score: 4.5/5
Verdict: Intel has out-did itself on a number of occasions but this, this tops it all. If anyone is now out in the market looking for the best from Intel – then look no further.