Intel Core i5-8600K 3.6 GHz
- Very good single-threaded performance
- 6-cores, large multi-threaded gains over the previous generation
- Great overclocking potential
- Unlocked multiplier
- Lacks HyperThreading
- New motherboard required
ConclusionThe Core i5-8600K is a highly disruptive product by Intel. At its $260 price point, it makes you wonder if it's worth spending the extra $100 on the i7-8700K. You get six physical CPU cores with the inherently higher IPC of Intel cores compared to AMD "Zen" cores, while losing out on HyperThreading and making do with 9 MB of L3 cache. This presents an interesting performance equation compared to the previous-generation flagship i7-7700K as you're comparing six physical cores to four cores with eight threads enabled by HTT, and a slightly bigger L3 cache. The Core i5-8600K has higher single-threaded performance than its predecessor, the i5-7600K, owing to higher sustained boost clocks, and its multi-threaded performance takes a huge leap of over 50 percent due to its two extra cores. We're impressed with how Intel managed to increase multi-threaded performance by this much without a proportional 50 percent increase in power draw. In most multi-threaded tests, such as video encoding, the i5-8600K performs in the league of the 8-core/16-thread Ryzen 7 1700 (non-X) and is consistently faster than the similarly priced Ryzen 5 1600X 6-core/12-thread chip. Thanks to its higher IPC and high clock speeds, it also stays ahead of the bulk of AMD's lineup in single-threaded tests. The single-threaded performance of the i5-8600K also makes it one of the fastest processors in our bench for gaming, where it trades blows with the more expensive i7-8700K and is significantly ahead of AMD's top-dog Ryzen 7 1800X. This goes to show that today's games are still not very parallelized at the CPU level, and four to six reasonably fast cores are enough to handle them. You can safely go ahead and pair the i5-8600K with the fastest graphics cards you can buy without worrying about any bottlenecks due to the CPU. Thanks to its unlocked multiplier, the i5-8600K is an overclocker's delight, and we were able to sustain all-core clock speeds of up to 4.80 GHz with ease. Unfortunately, the chip refused to scrape the 5.00 GHz mark the i7-8700K had no problems reaching on air-cooling. You might overcome this hurdle by investing in liquid-cooling and having a bit of luck in the silicon lottery. The overclocked i5-8600K is still a mean beast, outperforming the stock i7-8700K and bulk of AMD's Ryzen 7 lineup.