AMD’s New Ryzen+ R7 2700X vs. Intel’s i7-8700K

It’s time for a big ol’ showdown as the shiny new flagship CPU of the Ryzen platform, the Ryzen 7 2700X, goes head-to-head with Intel’s high-end 8th-generation offering, the i7-8700K. We’ve got some big heavy hitters here, so let’s get into it!

Cores… cores everywhere

I want you to think back to just Q1 of 2017. Intel had been riding almost a 10-year high being the performance king, with everything from the i5-2500K up to the newly releasing (at the time) i7-7700K being hailed as the king of processors for gamers, content creators, and—well, just about anything else you could think you’d use a PC for.

However, the rumblings were there that, although the 7th generation was an improvement, it wasn’t as much as users were expecting. So much so that many 5th-, 6th-, and even 4th-gen owners were debating if it’s even worth upgrading. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, AMD blasts its way back into the mainstream with the release of the first-generation Ryzen lineup, mixing up the market and throwing Intel for a loop.

Intel themselves will always say the 8th generation would have come with more cores, yet there were rumours that this would not have been the case, were it not for the high core/thread count available at far lower costs from AMD.

So here we are, 5 months into 2018, just off the back of the 2nd-generation Ryzen launch, and we’re at it again with the most important of questions: who’s better, AMD or Intel? To start to answer it this time around, let’s take a look at the specifications.

 

Ryzen 7 2700X

i7-8700K

Cores/Threads 8/16 6/12
Base Clock 3.7GHz 3.7GHz
Boost Clock 4.3GHz 4.7GHz
L3 Cache 16MB 12MB
TDP 105W 95W
Cooler AMD Wraith Prism with RGB LED None

 

Look at all those cores! The 2nd-generation R7 comes with 8-cores/16-threads again, while the 8th-gen i7-8700K comes with 6-cores/12-threads! On paper, this is shaping up to be a monstrous battle, so let’s get into it!

 

Core/Thread Performance

Here’s the bottom line: it is insanely close across a lot of different measures.

In games, despite the fewer cores, the i7-8700K just (by no more than 10fps across titles) pulls ahead of the R7 2700X. However, your resolution plays a part in this, as you’ll find most of that gain at 1080p. When you jump to 1440p (a common choice for many i7 and R7 users), that gap closes even tighter—and finally at 4K, you’re getting a small enough difference where you can mark it down as test variation and instead getting GPU load issues.

An example from Tech Deals is shown below, yet you can also see these benchmarks yourself from Testing Games channel here.

Example Far Cry 5 benchmark, from Tech Deals review of Ryzen 7 2700X vs i7-8700K.

When it comes to productivity tasks (streaming, content creation, animation), the Ryzen 7 2700X starts to run away with it. The extra 2-cores/4-threads, as well as the improved clock speed, really show up well for AMD here, even on software like Premiere Pro which traditionally preferred outright single-core performance.

Standard clock performance for Ryzen 7 and i7 CPUs

This is where we have to resort to overclocking to really see the difference. Although the Ryzen 7 2700X comes with a boost clock of 4.3GHz, you can’t really get that super stable across all cores when overclocking to it (without a serious bit of cooling). This does still allow for a nice uptick in performance for gaming and productivity; however, Intel does have an ace up its sleeve here. Like many who overclock, taking the standard boost of 4.7GHz is only the beginning, with most overclockers setting their own CPUs to anywhere from 4.8GHz – 5GHz. When you do that, for gaming and productivity, the i7-8700K comes back into competition.

Winner:

For gaming, the victor is still Intel’s i7-8700K here. For productivity at standard clocks, it goes to AMD’s new R7 2700X (yet can go back to Intel once overclocked, depending on the software).

 

Value For Money

At $330 for the Ryzen 7 2700X and $347 for the i7-8700K, it is no real surprise people are going back and forth over which is best to buy. However, if you’re just going to be using out-of-the-box clock speeds, then you’re not going to need a great big aftermarket cooler, which means you can use the Wraith Prism cooler included with the Ryzen CPU. With no cooling solution coming from Intel for its unlocked processors, your only option is aftermarket, which does add to the cost if you’re only using the stock speeds.

However, if you’re spending this sort of money onto these CPUs, then it’s likely that you’re intending on doing at least some conservative overclocking to get the best possible performance out of these flagship products. And if that’s the case, then you are likely to need a powerful aftermarket CPU Cooler for either CPU.

Winner:

AMD’s R7 2700X wins this one out-of-the-box for its slightly lower price and its included cooler (yet if you’re keen to overclock, and are still only interested in gaming, the pendulum once again swings back to Intel’s i7-8700K for overall value).

 

Summary

If you can’t tell from the above points, this is super close to call. Everything about these processors puts them very close together across multiple tasks. If anything, Intel only just (very just) comes out a little ahead overall due to its larger overclocking capability. Yet the outright core/thread advantage and the lower cost from AMD are bonuses (but only really when you have a specific application in mind to take advantage of them).

Yet what do you think about the ongoing CPU wars? Are you an Intel fan or an AMD fan, and have you built with any of these new CPUs recently? Let us know!