Intel Core i7-9700K vs Core i7-8700K: Which One Should You Get?
Last week, Intel has officially announced their latest 9th Gen Intel Core Processors, a refresh of the previous 8th Gen Coffee Lake CPUs. The 9th gen Coffee Lake Refresh offers, in general, higher clock speeds and more cores, at least for the flagship Core i9-9900K. You can learn more about the Intel Core i9-9900K here. In this article, however, let’s check out the new Intel Core i7-9700K and find out how it compares with the Core i7-8700K. I personally find this comparison very intriguing since both processors are somewhat similar. Each CPU has its own advantage over the other and they are also priced very similar, making it quite puzzling which CPU to get for a (gaming) PC.
Intel Core i7-9700K vs Core i7-8700K: More Cores or More Threads?
Right off the bat, the Intel Core i7-9700K features 8 cores with only 8 threads but no hyper-threading feature. It has a base clock speed of 3.6GHz and a max turbo speed of up to 4.9 GHz. It also has 12MB of L3 cache and the rest of the specs are already similar with its predecessor. Like the Core i9-9900K, the Core i7-9700K features a soldered HIS as well.
On the other hand, the Intel Core i7-8700K only has 6 cores, but with 12 threads and yes it has hyper-threading. However, the base clock speed is 3.7GHz with a boost clock speed of only 4.6GHz. It also has 12MB of L3 cache and has 95W of TDP similar to the rest of the lineup. However, unlike the newer Core i7-9700K, the IHS is not soldered and many 8700K owners (including me) delid the CPU and replace it with a better thermal paste to achieve stable overclock of 5GHz.
Comparing just the specs alone, I can see that the only advantage of the Intel Core i7-8700K is it has more threads than the Core i7-9700K. It’s also a bit cheaper than the i7-9700K. However, the Core i7-9700K has 2 more cores, has a higher clock speed and the IHS is soldered. I have a strong feeling that the Core i7-9700K can do 5GHz on all cores easily, and perhaps even more.
With higher clock speeds, the Core i7-9700K has the potential to perform better than the i7-8700K in games and other tasks where core frequency has the higher impact than more number of threads. At this time, review embargo hasn’t lifted yet so benchmarks results are not yet available.
UPDATE: Embargo has lifted and reviews are out! Check out benchmark results and more comparison here:
Intel Core i9-9900K vs Core i7-9700K vs Core i7-8700K vs AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
However, more or less I already have an idea on the outcome of this comparison. The new Intel Core i7-9700K will be the faster CPU between the two, thanks to its higher clock speeds and two additional physical cores. The soldered IHS will also mean better heat transfer resulting in a better CPU temperature and longer sustained boost clock speeds.
If am building a strictly gaming machine and my options are the Intel Core i7-9700K vs Core i7-8700K (since the i9-9900K is out of the budget) I would certainly get the Core i7-9700K instead. It’s a refresh, meaning the technology is more refined; it has two more core and higher clock speeds that would definitely help when it comes to gaming.
However, the Core i7-8700K is still a powerful CPU with its 6 cores and 12 threads configuration. Remember, even the 8-core 16-thread AMD Ryzen 7 2700X can’t beat the i7-8700K when it comes to gaming. Let me repeat and clarify this, the i7-8700K defeats the Ryzen 7 2700X in gaming alone. Other tasks such as multi-threaded workloads, the Ryzen 7 2700X is the clear winner and faster CPU. So if ever you spot a really good deal for the i7-8700K and price difference between the i7-8700K and i7-9700K is somewhat significant at the time you are about to purchase, the Core i7-8700K isn’t a bad choice either. If you need more threads, you might want to get the i7-8700K instead.
Price and Availability
At the time this article was published, the Intel Core i7-9700K is currently priced at $409.99 USD. Meanwhile, the Core i7-8700K is currently priced at $375.99; making it $34 cheaper than the i7-9700K. They are priced very close making it a little bit difficult to choose. But personally, I would lean towards the i7-9700K, simply because it has higher clock speeds, 2 more physical cores, soldered IHS and has better overclocking potential than its predecessor. Check out their latest pricing and availability below.
Intel Core Processor latest pricing and availability:
9th Gen Intel Core Processors:
- Intel Core i9-9900K: available at Amazon here
- Intel Core i7-9700K: available at Amazon here
- Intel Core i5-9600K: available at Amazon here
8th Gen Intel Core Processors:
- Asus Z390 Motherboards: check on Amazon here
- Gigabyte Z390 Motherboards: check on Amazon here
- MSI Z390 Motherboards: check on Amazon here
Intel Core i7-9700K vs Core i7-8700K Specs Comparison
|Specifications||Core i9-9900K||Core i7-9700K||Core i7-8700K||Core i5-9600K||Core i5-8600K|
|Cores / Threads||8 / 16||8 / 8||6 / 12||6 / 6||6 / 6|
|Intel Hyper-Threading Tech||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
|Base Clock||3.6 Ghz||3.6 GHz||3.7 GHz||3.7 GHz||3.6 GHz|
|Boost Clock Speed||up to 5GHz||up to 4.9 GHz||up to 4.7 GHz||up to 4.6 Ghz||up to 4.3 GHz|
|L3 Smart Cache||16MB||12MB||12MB||9MB||9MB|
|Built-in Graphics||Intel UHD 630||Intel UHD 630||Intel UHD 630||Intel UHD 630||Intel UHD 630|