There are rumors that Intel may be planning a new, specialty bin of the Core i7 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first 8086 CPU. Unfortunately, it’s currently hard to nail down what form the chip might take, and we’ve seen various rumors targeting a variety of listings. The most common variant suggests a Core i7-8086K with an unlocked multiplier that’s pin-compatible with existing 300-series motherboards, and a boost clock as high as 5GHz.
If true, that would set multiple records for Intel. It’d be the company’s first CPU with a boost clock as high as 5GHz, a new performance record for the six-core family as a whole, and it’d probably put the Core i7-8700K firmly in second place. With the Core i7-8700K at 3.7GHz base and 4.7GHz Turbo, the Core i7-8086K should be faster across the board, but differences in how Intel assigns turbo frequencies depending on core load could result in some variance from point to point. Still, it seems safe to bet that the new core (if it exists) will be faster, generally speaking, than any current Intel CPU.
The other advantage, for Intel, would be reclaiming the pole position against AMD. While Intel has maintained consistent single-threaded leadership since the Core i7-8700K launched, the Ryzen 7 2700X (See on Amazon) was enough of an advance that we gave that CPU our overall performance nod earlier this spring. An 6-8 percent clock increase at base and boost frequency might be enough to shake up the rankings again, though we’re going to withhold judgment until we actually see the chip, obviously.
While the chip has been pulled down from several store listings, it’s always listed under the same part number: BX80684I78086K. All of the rumors also suggest a six-core CPU, so those parts of the story seem unlikely to change. Intel refused to comment on the story when we reached out to them, but there’s a golden PR opportunity for the company in this. The 8086K is expected to ship with the same Intel UHD 630 graphics solution as the company’s other desktop Core i7 processors and carries a retail price of $480 — a hefty $100 more than the Core i7-8700K and something we’ll factor into our price/performance comparisons, but also a price Intel may be able to get away with given the circumstances. After all, 40th anniversaries don’t happen every day.
Look for an announcement this week at Computex 2018 if Intel is serious about this chip. Those of you who might be interested, keep in mind that overclocking headroom is likely to be extremely limited given the realities of silicon performance at and around the 5GHz mark. Good aftermarket cooling will be an absolute requirement, especially since the CPU doesn’t come with a boxed cooler if reports are accurate.