Select any two CPUs for comparison
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Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Core i9-7960X 16-Core 2.8GHz Core i7-7700K 4-Core 4.2GHz
Cyberpunk 2077 66% 43%
Assassins Creed: Valhalla 54% 23%
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War 56% 25%
Mafia: Definitive Edition 64% 38%
Genshin Impact 74% 57%
eFootball PES 2021 64% 38%
FIFA 21 68% 46%
Watch Dogs Legion 54% 23%
Death Stranding 59% 30%
Microsoft Flight Simulator 62% 35%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Core i9-7960X 16-Core 2.8GHz is massively better than the Intel Core i7-7700K 4-Core 4.2GHz when it comes to running the latest games. This also means it will be less likely to bottleneck more powerful GPUs, allowing them to achieve more of their gaming performance potential.

The Core i9-7960X 16-Core was released less than a year after the Core i7-7700K 4-Core, and so they are likely to have similar levels of support, and similarly optimized performance when running the latest games.

Both CPUs exhibit very powerful performance, so it probably isn't worth upgrading from one to the other, as both are capable of running even the most demanding games at the highest settings (assuming they are accompanied by equivalently powerful GPUs).

The Core i9-7960X 16-Core has 12 more cores than the Core i7-7700K 4-Core. 16 cores is probably excessive if you mean to just run the latest games, as games are not yet able to harness this many cores. The cores in the Core i7-7700K 4-Core is more than enough for gaming purposes. However, if you intend on running a server with the Core i9-7960X 16-Core, it would seem to be a decent choice.

The Core i9-7960X 16-Core has 24 more threads than the Core i7-7700K 4-Core. Both the Core i9-7960X 16-Core and the Core i7-7700K 4-Core use hyperthreading. The Core i9-7960X 16-Core has 2 logical threads per physical core and the Core i7-7700K 4-Core has 2.

Multiple threads are useful for improving the performance of multi-threaded applications. Additional cores and their accompanying thread will always be beneficial for multi-threaded applications. Hyperthreading will be beneficial for applications optimized for it, but it may slow others down. For games, the number of threads is largely irrelevant, as long as you have at least 2 cores (preferably 4), and hyperthreading can sometimes even hit performance.

More important for gaming than the number of cores and threads is the clock rate. Problematically, unless the two CPUs are from the same family, this can only serve as a general guide and nothing like an exact comparison, because the clock cycles per instruction (CPI) will vary so much.

The Core i9-7960X 16-Core and Core i7-7700K 4-Core are not from the same family of CPUs, so their clock speeds are by no means directly comparable. Bear in mind, then, that while the Core i7-7700K 4-Core has a 1.4 GHz faster frequency, this is not always an indicator that it will be superior in performance, despite frequency being crucial when trying to avoid GPU bottlenecking. In this case, however, the difference is probably a good indicator that the Core i9-7960X 16-Core is superior.

Aside from the clock rate, the next-most important CPU features for PC game performance are L2 and L3 cache size. Faster than RAM, the more cache available, the more data that can be stored for lightning-fast retrieval. L1 Cache is not usually an issue anymore for gaming, with most high-end CPUs eking out about the same L1 performance, and L2 is more important than L3 - but L3 is still important if you want to reach the highest levels of performance. Bear in mind that although it is better to have a larger cache, the larger it is, the higher the latency, so a balance has to be struck.

The maximum Thermal Design Power is the power in Watts that the CPU will consume in the worst case scenario. The lithography is the semiconductor manufacturing technology being used to create the CPU - the smaller this is, the more transistors that can be fit into the CPU, and the closer the connections. For both the lithography and the TDP, it is the lower the better, because a lower number means a lower amount of power is necessary to run the CPU, and consequently a lower amount of heat is produced.

The Core i7-7700K 4-Core has a 70 Watt lower Maximum TDP than the Core i9-7960X 16-Core (though they were created with the same size 14 nm manufacturing technology). What this means is the Core i7-7700K 4-Core will consume significantly less power and consequently produce less heat, enabling more prolonged computational tasks with fewer adverse effects. This will lower your yearly electricity bill significantly, as well as prevent you from having to invest in extra cooling mechanisms (unless you overclock).

CPU Core Details

CPU CodenameSkylake-XKaby Lake
MoBo SocketLGA 2066LGA 1151
Notebook CPUnono
Release Date25 Sep 201730 Jan 2017
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link
Approved

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores16vs4
CPU Threads32vs8
Clock Speed2.8 GHzvs4.2 GHz
Turbo Frequency-vs-
Max TDP165 Wvs95 W
Lithography14 nmvs14 nm
Bit Width64 Bitvs64 Bit
Virtualization Technologynovsno
Comparison

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size-vs256 KB
L2 Cache Size-vs2048 KB
L3 Cache Size22 MBvs8 MB
Max Memory Size-vs64 GB
Memory Channels-vs4
ECC Memory Supportnovsno
Comparison

CPU Graphics

Graphics
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Max GPU Frequency-vs-
DirectX-vs-
Displays Supported-vs-
Comparison

CPU Package and Version Specifications

Package Size-vs-
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PCIe Configurations-vs-

Gaming Performance Value

Performance Value

CPU Mini Review

Mini ReviewThe Core i9-7960X 16-Core 2.8GHz is a high-end CPU based on the 14nm Skylake-X micro architecture. It offers 16 physical cores (32 logical), initially clocked at 2.8GHz, which may go up to 4.4GHz with boost, and 22MB of L3 Cache. Among its many features, Turbo Boost 3.0 and Virtualization are activated and the processor has its multiplier unlocked. With a 165W TDP, the Core i9-7960X 16-core processor is very power hungry. The Intel Core i9-7960X is part of the first ever generation of Core i9 processors. These CPUs are designed to offer the fastest gaming performance of all Intel CPUs.Little is known for definite yet regarding the specific specs of this Intel flagship CPU, but some benchmarks are starting to creep in.
The Core i7-7700K 4-Core 4.2GHz is a high-end CPU based on the 14nm, Kaby Lake micro architecture. It offers 4 physical cores (8 logical), initially clocked at 4.2GHz, which may go up and 8MB of L3 Cache. Among its many features, HyperThreading, Turbo Boost 2.0 and Virtualization are activated and the processor has its multiplier unlocked. This CPU is likely to offer exceptional computational performance and will not be the bottleneck in any modern gaming PC. It will be able to play all modern games comfortably on high/ultra graphics performance without being a hindrance to the accompanying GPU.