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Our Core i7-8086K Experiences: Problematic at Best

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Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

A Weekend of Misadventure

Last Friday marked the release of the Intel Core i7-8086K to consumers through retail channels like Amazon, Newegg, and Microcenter. Announced just earlier that week at Computex, the i7-8086K is essentially an i7-8770K, running slightly higher clock speeds, and is meant as a limited edition item to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Intel’s 8086 processor, which marked the beginning of the x86 microarchitecture.

Eager to test this new CPU, I picked one up from our local Microcenter on Friday evening, and plugged it into our Coffee Lake CPU testbed, powered by a Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 motherboard (updated to the latest BIOS), let my first pass of automated CPU benchmarks run, and went off with the rest of my evening.

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Saturday, when I came back to look at the results, they seemed mediocre at best, with the i7-8086K trading blows with the i7-8700K. While the extra 300MHz of clock speed seemed like it would provide more of a benefit than I was seeing, it wasn’t entirely unexpected that performance might not be spectacularly higher than the i7-8700K so I continued to run through the rest of our standard CPU benchmarking suite, as well as our CPU gaming benchmarks.

Finally looking at all of the data together, it appeared there was no change from the i7-8700K to the i7-8086K leading me to do some more digging.

Equipped with Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility, I began to measure the clock speeds during several benchmarks.

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Much to my surprise, even on purely single-threaded workload, such as Cinebench R15 in Single mode, the processor wasn’t getting close to its 5.0GHz Single Core Turbo Boost frequency, in fact, I never saw it get above 4.5GHz. We corroborated these issues with another piece of CPU monitoring software, HWInfo64.

As you can see in the screenshot from XTU, the processor was sitting at a cool 48C while this was going on, and no other alerts such as the motherboard power delivery or current limit throttling were an issue during our testing.

Moving to another motherboard, the ASUS Strix Z370-H Gaming, again on the latest UEFI release, we saw the same behavior.

So far, we have been unable to get this processor to operate at the advertised 5.0GHz Turbo Boost frequency, on a multitude of different hardware and software setups.

However, if we manually overclock the processor, we can get an all-core frequency of 5.1GHz, although with a temperature around 85C.

At this point, we are left puzzled and disappointed by the launch of the i7-8086K. This is the same hardware and software setup we used for all of our CPU benchmarking for the recent Ryzen 7 2700X review, with no issues. We even tried a fresh, fully updated Windows install on a separate SSD, to help eliminate any potential for weird software issues.

Jeff at The Tech Report used the same Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 motherboard as us, and while he didn’t see great performance overall, you can see explicit scaling in pure single-threaded workloads like Cinebench in his review.

As far as the ASUS motherboard we also tried is concerned, the i7-8086K is listed on ASUS’ CPU compatibility list for UEFI 1301 (which we are running), so it seems there should be no issue.

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This morning, the i7-8086K we ordered on Amazon showed up, and did the exact same thing, in both test setups. 

To be fair, based on the reviews that we have seen pop up thus far, including The Tech Report, the resulting performance if things were configured correctly doesn’t appear to be worth the extra cost.

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What was meant to be a celebration of Intel’s 40 years of the X86 architecture seems more like a rushed release than a fully baked product. Remember, we bought this processor directly from a retail outlet with no intervention from Intel. Without the proper BIOS-level support, and potentially a more widespread issue affecting normal consumers building machines with i7-8086K.


June 11, 2018 | 03:18 PM - Posted by Brother Michigan (not verified)

This could be a silly question, but do you see any 8700Ks hitting the proper turbo frequencies in these setups? I see where you said these rigs performed normally in the 2700X review, but I wouldn't expect that you guys go out and verify turbo frequencies every time you put a system together.

June 11, 2018 | 06:47 PM - Posted by Forstral (not verified)

So does that mean I wasted my money, do I need to just return it to newegg once it arrives?

June 17, 2018 | 01:11 PM - Posted by PaulH (not verified)

I bought two, (8086K) because I cracked my z370 motherboard doing install, the original chip may be fine. I think I bent the pins on board and chip. New board and chip, it let me run windows with cheap Intel cooling fan on 5 cores at 5.0GHz using Intel XTU, sixth core is at 4.9.

All adaptive defaults, changed nothing.

I saw 32 degrees celcius mostly on all cores, the 8700K could only do 4.7GHz sometimes 4.8GHz on five cores.

I'm not trying anything else today, after doing cables for power on motherboard. (MSI z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC).

I could not run, start, or shutdown W10 before at 5.0GHz, it crashed in less than sixty seconds.

June 17, 2018 | 01:16 PM - Posted by PaulH (not verified)

I also got from 4.3 to 4.7 CACHE on CPU, INCREASE, and memory OC to 3600MHz, "stable" what was 3400MHz it goes to 4000MHz, but, not with a high OC of CPU.

June 18, 2018 | 08:00 AM - Posted by PaulH (not verified)

This morning I put all six cores at 5.0GHz, Intel XTU, Intel air cooling with heat pipes $25 dollars (funny). It ran fine, W10, and a backup which might be a better test than most benchmarks.
It's what you need to do, fast, and I had no Thermal throttling.
So I think there is allot of value in it, you only have one shot at delidding, you can ruin the chip and the motherboard easy. Why not buy a chip that does it for you just with air cooling, really safe, and you cool the room like data center do. They had (now Oracle) servers and super computers with 128 cores on one board, they blast fans at them, and cool the data center. Maybe 66 degrees Fahrenheit. Water cooling was used on older mainframes the fortune 100 (75%) still run, not the newer models. I like the 8086K, they say there will be a 28 core 5.0GHz chip in Q4 also (Intel). That might be a mortgage payment on a luxury home in NJ.

June 18, 2018 | 08:03 AM - Posted by PaulH (not verified)

The average speed was 4.99GHz with XTU OC on six cores to 5.0GHz. The only point was, "I wanted 5.0GHz". I was tired of waiting for it to be quite honest.

June 18, 2018 | 08:06 AM - Posted by PaulH (not verified)

That was wrong, 4.91GHz average, maximum 4.99GHz.

June 19, 2018 | 12:04 PM - Posted by PaulH (not verified)

Today, with 8086K I tried 4000MHz memory and 5.0GHz on six cores, it crashed during PassMark physics test.

I did run each of there tests on 5.1GHz on six cores, with 3600MHz memory. The score was 8843, my best, but 9000 alludes me.

The average on 8086K was 5.01GHz and the maximum was 5.10GHz.

I had the memory back at 3600MHz, just a little better than 3400MHz I could run with 8700K at 47x5, 46x1 GHz on it (the multiplier).

Maybe, its just because I have the A/C cooler there was a heatwave that felt like 101 degrees. Still pretty cool that most of what I tried worked very well without any throttling.

June 11, 2018 | 09:47 PM - Posted by KingKookaluke (not verified)

I thought as much. Just a Marketing ploy,with a different lid.

June 12, 2018 | 04:40 AM - Posted by Spunjji

This is even lazier than Lenovo's limited-edition Thinkpad. Amazing!

June 12, 2018 | 06:30 AM - Posted by Meaker (not verified)

It's not really about stock performance, this is a binned part for a bit extra.

June 12, 2018 | 07:26 AM - Posted by psuedonymous

Yep, it's basically "Silicon Lottery's pre-binned parts, but official". If you weren't already considering a pre-binned 8700k (or for some reason wanted to buy up a pile of 8700Ks to bin yourself) then there's not any real reason to go for an 8086K.

June 12, 2018 | 07:55 AM - Posted by Don't panic! (not verified)

8086k differs from 8700k only by a 300Mhz higher 1-core Turbo frequency, multicore frequencies are exactly the same (inc 2 core). In real world this translates no real gains in performance.

I guess it could be a better binned model, so it could prove useful for extreme overclockers or collectors.

June 12, 2018 | 11:32 AM - Posted by Rocky123 (not verified)

" While the extra 300MHz of clock speed seemed like it would provide more of a benefit than I was seeing, it wasn’t entirely unexpected that performance might not be spectacularly higher than the i7-8700K so I continued to run through the rest of our standard CPU benchmarking suite, as well as our CPU gaming benchmarks."

That extra 300MHz clock speed is only on 1 core when going beyond more than 1 core the rest run exactly the same as the 8700K Anandtech has a pic of this showing it. That's how Intel dupes everyone by saying oh look we just released a 5.0GHz CPU but forgetting to say hey guys that is only on a single core. Kind of useless since most work loads use more than a single core these days.With that said all people see is 5.0GHz and assume that is what the CPU will always be running at when in fact it will almost never be running at that in normal work loads well unless you force it on in the UEFI bios with MCE turned on which then takes the CPU out of stock configuration.

June 12, 2018 | 11:45 AM - Posted by Rocky123 (not verified)

I wanted to add that in my own testing on my i7 2600K I have played with the turbo settings to see if that was a better way to do things for OC. What I found was when I staggered the cores lets say 5.1GHz 5.0GHz 4.9GHz 4.8GHz just for testing of coarse.

What I found was it never really hit 5.1GHz even in Cinebench yes it would bounce up to that once and a while but it never changed my single core score to higher since it sat at 5.0GHz for single core tests. Then I tried 5.1GHz 5.1GHz 5.0GHz 4.9GHz
Now it hit 5.1GHz in single core test and my score went up.

IN the winter months I just run 5.1GHz all cores without the turbo setup at all as it is turned off. IN the summer months I use the turbo with 5.1Ghz 5.1Ghz 5.1Ghz 5.0GHz which keeps the temps right where I want them at around 68c max under full load on all 8 threads.

If I do 5.1Ghz on all cores in the summer it gets into the 70c range well 74c to be exact which for me is out of my comfort zone. I need better cooling as I am on air right now was thinking on the EVGA AIO 280mm water cooler unless there is something better in that price range.

In 98% of the games whether it is 5.1Ghz or 5.0GHz the temps range from 43c to 56c & 64c max.

June 12, 2018 | 01:45 PM - Posted by ipkh

The question is, at default settings, how much power is the CPU using. Is there a noticeable difference between the 8700k and 8086k in power draw at equivalent frequencies. Similarly I'd like to know what the power draw looks like at 5.0Ghz across all cores between the 8700k and 8086k. Intels bullshit official tdp numbers for frequencies the CPU isn't programmed to use is extremely disingenuous and makes it very hard to compare cpus.

June 17, 2018 | 07:11 PM - Posted by quest4glory

So far, so good with mine. Paired with an Asus Maximus X Hero WiFi, G.SKILL Trident X RGB @ 3466 and a Corsair H115i Pro RGB. It’s obviously the RGB advantage.

Currently running at 5.1 GHz on all cores at 1.275V, easing my way up to 5.3 if possible.

Yes, I know what are the temps etc etc. etc.

I’m only saying I’m happy with mine as a binned 8700K and future collectors item status maybe 10 years down the line.

June 18, 2018 | 05:22 PM - Posted by elites2012

take it back and get a refund. let the misled intel fans buy it. some are still stuck on a single core world in a multitasking environment.

June 19, 2018 | 12:08 PM - Posted by PaulH (not verified)

I think that's terrible advice, my 8086K is much better than 8700K, "night and day", look at the tests I was able to run up to 5.1GHz on all cores, no delidding, water cooling, just Intel heat-pipes and fan to 3100RPM's.

June 19, 2018 | 05:48 PM - Posted by Anonymous12345 (not verified)

I have an i7-8700 non K running on an Asus Z370H motherboard running Windows 10 and I have never seen the turbo ratio go to the X 46 single core ratio. It never goes past X 45. I have HwiNFO64 running all the time and regularly check. I'm using the latest BIOS. Maybe there is something deeper going on here, or maybe one single core will never get pushed to its max multiplier under Windows 10 daily use with several programs and apps installed.

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