When it comes to gaming, there are always a wide variety of options for customization.
Whether you want something simple for work or if you are trying to build the most powerful machine the world has ever seen, none of it will be possible without a processor.
The processor, or CPU, is the brain of the computer and handles all the calculations and tasks you throw at it. Without this part, you would not be able to even start your computer.
Today we will be looking at two specific processors from Intel, the i5-8600K and the i7-8700K. Both of these processors are from Intel, the leading manufacturer of processors, since forever.
Intel Core i5 8600K vs. Intel Core i7 8700K – Comparison
Intel Core i5 8600k
Intel Core i7 8700k
Number of Cores
Number of Threads
Base Clock Speed
Maximum Boost Speed
Maximum Memory Capacity
Thermal Design Power (TDP)
212°F / 100°C
212°F / 100°C
Yes: Intel VT-d, Intel VT-x, Intel VT-x with Extended Page Tables (EPT)
Yes: Intel VT-d, Intel VT-x with Extended Page Tables (EPT)
Intel UHD Graphics 630
Intel UHD Graphics 630
SpeedStep, Stable Image Platform Program, TSX-NI, Turbo Boost 2.0
Hyper-Threading, SpeedStep, Stable Image Platform Program, TSX-NI, Turbo Boost 2.0
A Little Overview
Intel has been the pioneer of making computer processors since forever. Right now, the market is very saturated with many different processors. From AMD’s new Ryzen series to already existing Intel core-series processors, there’s a lot of options for gamers.
Each of these entries has something they bring to the table, and there’s no single best processor. Everybody has their personal preferences, and there are many things to account for when buying a processor for gaming.
Today we’ll look over a few of these aspects, such as each processor’s specifications, their advantages and drawbacks, and their prerequisites.
Intel Core i5 8600K
The Intel Core i5-8600K was originally released in October of 2017 to much acclaim. Right out of the box, this CPU promised that it would be a powerhouse and optimal for virtual reality (VR) use.
This already spells out that it could potentially be a fantastic CPU, but just because the box says that it is fantastic, should you trust that? Taking a look at the specifications, this CPU comes with 6 cores and is ready to take on any overclocking, as evident from the “k” in its name.
- Number of Cores: 6
- Number of Threads: 6
- Processor Base Frequency: 3.60 GHz
- Max Turbo Frequency: 4.30 GHz
- Cache: 9 MB Intel® Smart Cache
- Bus Speed: 8 GT/s
- Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 Frequency: 4.30 GHz
- TDP: 95 W
- Optimized 14nm architecture
- Overclocking up to 4.1GHz for all six cores
- Great value for an Intel processor
- Unlocked multiplier for overclocking and faster processing.
- The heatsink is required to properly function. Without this, your CPU will overheat.
- Hyperthreading is not an option, no virtual cores are available.
- Requires a 300-series chipset
Intel Core i7 8700K
Moving on to the Intel Core i7-8700K, this product was also released in October of 2017 alongside the i5-8600K. Since it was released by the same manufacturer, this was not released for competition but rather offering gamers what would seem to be the “premium” option for PCs.
Of course, with an initial cost of one-hundred dollars more than the i5-8600K, the i7-8700K seems to be the top-of-the-line option. Right off the bat, the box displays once again that it is an optimal option for VR setups, and just like the i5-8600k, this one is a six-core processor and also allows for easy overclocking.
The i7 8700k, once again, requires a 300-series chipset to function. That is a little bit too much for the average gamer, but if you’re looking for a premium experience with hyper-threading and turbo boost, that’s the price you pay.
- Number of Cores: 6
- Number of Threads: 12
- Processor Base Frequency: 3.70 GHz
- Max Turbo Frequency: 4.70 GHz
- Cache: 12 MB Intel® Smart Cache
- Bus Speed: 8 GT/s
- Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 Frequency: 4.70 GHz
- TDP: 95 W
- More optimal for gaming performance as well as productivity
- Unlocked multiplier for overclocking
- Outperforms AMD’s 8 core processor
- Hyper-threading available
- More expensive than Ryzen competitors with about the same performance
- Runs hot, will require a CPU cooler for more efficient processing
- Requires a new z-series motherboard
Intel Core i5 8600k vs. Intel Core i7 8700k – Which Is Better For Gaming?
Which CPU is better? That all depends on what you may require out of your machine. For a better gaming experience, the i7-8700K outperforms the i5-8600K.
However, i5-8600k tends to offer a more balanced performance between gaming and productivity applications. Many gamers recommend the i5-8600k for its amazing gaming performance, as well as its seamless streaming capabilities.
Once again, the i7-8700K does offer hyperthreading and will allow for easier processing and overclocking. If you don’t know what hyperthreading is, it means that one CPU core can work on two different calculations simultaneously.
So, when it comes to the actual game performance, the i7-8700K will outperform the i5-8600K most of the time. However, these performances do come at a cost, but these issues can be circumvented. Unfortunately, these require further purchases. From there, you will have to assess which addition is more suited for you.
Considerations to take income from how much space you may or may not have in your case or even just the piling on the cost of adding more to your PC. Intel has always carried on the trend of providing balanced and reliable processors that handle both gaming and other processes very well. In the end, it all comes down to what you want in your rig.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive solution to run all the triple-A titles, as well as get some work done and stream your games, the i5-8600k is a no-brainer. If you’re looking to really up the ante and go overkill, or if you just need all the processing power you can get, the i7-8700k is your winner.
There are a lot of different factors you should look into before making your final decision, though. Let us cover those briefly.
Core i5 8600k vs. Core i7 8700k: The Major Differences
Though both processors perform extremely well, there are a few major differences between the two. For example, the i5-8600K does require a heatsink to function properly. Think of a heatsink as another cooling device, but it is not actively moving, like a fan.
A heatsink is passive and takes the heat generated by the CPU and dissipates it away from the electronics. Without this, your CPU will overheat, so it is another part that you will have to purchase.
Most gaming rigs these days need a heatsink anyway, though if you’re looking for maximum power. Conversely, the i7-8700K will not necessarily require a CPU cooler, but it will certainly help to have one to run your processor better as it may overheat.
Another difference is the clock speeds. The i5 has a base speed of 3.1 while the i7 has a base speed of 3.7. They also have different max speeds. The i7-8700K sits at a max speed of 4.7 GHz while the i5-8600K sits at a max speed of 4.3 GHz.
And it’s not like you can overclock your processor right out of the box. There’s a lot of care to be taken while overclocking, or else you might end up frying the whole CPU.
i5 8600k vs. i7 8700k: The Threads
Another major difference is that the i5-8600K does not offer any hyper-threading, which allows your processor to run off both virtual and physical cores. So, unfortunately, what this means is, the i5-8600K only allows for the physical 6 cores in your processor. The i7-8700K allows this and goes even beyond, for virtually a 12-core processor, 6 physical and 6 virtual cores.
Upgrades Required With The i5 8600k And i7 8700k
Looking at these two CPUs, you may wonder if you will need to upgrade any part of your PC. As previously mentioned, both may require a few additional parts to keep these CPUs cool.
Additionally, while no extra upgrades are necessarily needed to run the i5-8600K CPU (besides a heatsink), this is not the case with the i7-8700K. The i7 processor requires a new Z-series motherboard.
This type of motherboard is necessary for gaming and high-end performance computers. No specific brand is exclusively compatible with this CPU so just ensure that your motherboard is a Z-series.
The difference in motherboards is that your current one maybe a B or H series, which will not be compatible with the i7-8700K at all. Of course, you can always upgrade your motherboard for the i5-8600K, but it is not necessary. Any 200-series chipset or even lower will work just fine.
What About RAM?
When it comes to the RAM differences, both have a maximum supported memory of 128GB. This will entirely come down to how much RAM you’d like for your PC. Once again, ensure that whichever motherboard you get is compatible between the two CPUs.
Overall, the i5-8600k does seem to be the most user-friendly, and you won’t need to do much for it to work other than getting a heatsink. The i7-8700k will, of course, provide you with beastly performance, but keeping it cool and maintaining it may prove a difficult task unless you’re willing to put in the time and effort.
Let’s Talk About Detailed Specifications
Further looking into the specifications, aside from what we have covered today, we can see that there a heap of similarities, thanks to both processors being from the same manufacturer. But there are a lot of important differences too.
For example, both CPUs have a 95W TDP. The TDP is the thermal design power, the maximum heat that is generated, and the PC will need to work to dissipate it and keep it from overheating everything else.
While the L1 and L2 cache are both similar as well, the L3 cache sizes are different. The i7 has a 12MB capacity, while the i5 only has 9MB. This shouldn’t be much of a problem unless you need the absolute highest processing power in your everyday work, such as rendering videos or processing high-resolution images.
Finally, neither CPU offers ECC support, nor do they come with any sort of integrated coolers. Intel has never really been a fan of inexpensive options or bonus parts.
Final Verdict: i5 8600k vs i7 8700k
When choosing between these two processors, the decision may be a bit difficult. Both the i5-8600k and the i7-8700k perform like absolute beasts for gaming, the differences start to pop up in the little things, though.
For example, the i7-8700k will outperform the i5-8600k heavily when it comes to multi-tasking and heavy workloads. However, all that extra power does come at a cost, a cost you won’t have to pay with the i5-8600k.
Another thing to note is that the i7-8700k has a few prerequisites just to get it installed. You’ll need to ensure a 300-series chipset, most importantly. The i5-8600k is mostly plugged and play and will work with any other parts you have, provided you have a heatsink and a strong enough PSU.
On the final note, we can see that both of these CPUs are excellent choices in their own right. And while the aftermarket prices are still similar to the launch price, there is a clear distinction as one is much lighter on the pocket than the other.
These CPUs offer strong performances for both gaming and productivity. While there are several differences between the two, your final choice should come down to what’s most important to you.
If you want the processor with the most value, definitely invest in the i5-8600k. If you need high-end gaming performance that isn’t exorbitantly priced, the i5-8600k won’t disappoint.
You’ll get amazing performance in all triple-A titles, and the processor won’t let you down in other heavy workloads either. However, if you need all the power you can get, go for the i7-8700k.
Give the i7 the components it needs, and it will shatter your expectations. The i7-8700k, when overclocked, will never dip below 60fps even if you’re pushing the graphics to their utmost limit.
Rest assured that you can even get amazing performance at 1440p and the best performance on the market for 4k gaming. That’s a huge deal if you ask us.
Value Winner = i5-8600k
Performance Winner = i7-8700k
Do you agree with our ranking? If there’s anything we missed out on or anything you feel like we should add, please let us know. We hope this guide helped you to choose your gaming processor!