Intel Unleashes The ‘Best Gaming Processor’ – Seeking Alpha
Rethink Technology business briefs for October 5, 2017.
Intel’s Coffee Lake Core i7-8700K receives rave reviews
Intel (INTC) today launched the successor to its highly regarded Core i7-7700K with its “eighth generation” Coffee Lake Core i7-8700K. The 7700K had been regularly recommended as the best processor to use in a gaming PC, and the 8700K is even better.
Of course, it’s not better for the reason that perhaps should have been. Intel should have moved on to the 10 nm node by now. Coffee Lake marks the fourth iteration on Intel’s 14 nm node, and it shows in the rather high power and heat dissipation of the device. While this has become problematic for Skylake X, it is at least manageable for Coffee Lake. And Intel’s target PC gaming market is less concerned about power efficiency than other markets such as the datacenter.
Reviewers took note of the power consumption in passing, while anointing the 8700K as the “best gaming processor.” Ars Technica called it “the best gaming CPU you can buy.” The main advantage that the 8700K offers is two extra cores, compared to the 7700K with four cores. While those extra cores come at the price of extra heat and power consumption, the purchase price of the 8700 (379.99 on Newegg) is only $40 more than the 7700K.
The Intel processor beats AMD for a simple reason: better single threaded performance. This has been pivotal thus far in providing better gaming performance. However, in non-gaming, higher core counts often trump better single threaded performance, a point in Ryzen’s favor. Tom’s review noted that the extra cores of the 8700 helped it to be more competitive with Ryzen in non-gaming tasks, as in this Blender benchmark:
A superior value proposition to AMD’s Ryzen
In its review, Tom’s looked even more extensively at the issue of value, comparing the 8700 with other processors, both from Intel and AMD, in both gaming and non-gaming tasks. The chart below plots price vs. gaming frames/sec performance over the entire test suite of games:
In the above chart, processors closest to the lower right corner offer the best value. The stock 8700K offered far better value than any AMD Ryzen processor and was only bested by overclocked Intel processors.
Tom’s also looked at value for non-gaming tasks. Consistently, the 8700K was the better value, as in this example for Blender:
Being competitive is good, but winning is better
Reviews often pointed out that AMD had brought competition back to the PC processor market, and that Intel would not be offering the value proposition that it was in the 8700K were it not for AMD. This is undoubtedly true.
AMD has become more competitive. AMD has probably forced Intel to offer better value processors as a result. It has always been my fundamental thesis about AMD that its competitors would respond to the challenge posed by AMD’s new products.
And it has always been a fundamental thesis of mine that AMD’s competitors would not be content to allow AMD to pull ahead in performance or value. With the 8700K, Intel has targeted the heart of the consumer desktop market, which is gaming. While AMD attempts to win the Core Wars, Intel is winning the competition that counts in this critical market, which is gaming performance and value.
Competition is good for consumers, and it’s commendable that AMD has become more competitive. That technical progress has been made should not blind investors to the harsh reality that AMD is outspent and technically outgunned in both of its key product lines, CPUs and GPUs, by its competitors.
Intel has effectively defeated AMD in the all-important PC gaming market with the 8700K. That it was able to do that without resorting to a more advanced 10 nm process speaks volumes about AMD’s ability to compete next year, when Intel finally moves on to 10 nm. I continue to rate AMD a sell.
Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.