It’s been another busy month for Intel, they recently released the new Skylake X platform which are their new enthusiast processors, we have already put together an overview of the new CPU’s here.
The have also, surprisingly, just launched another 2 processors which they are calling the Kaby Lake X chips.
The new CPU’s are the i5 7640X 4GHz and the i7 7740X 4.3GHz variants.
The surprising thing about these chips are that they are basically the same as the existing i5 7600K and i7 7700K Kaby Lake chips found on the mainstream CPU line up (and available in our Ultra and Trader PC’s), but they require the Skylake X platform to run, which is Intel’s enthusiast line.
Essentially, they have reworked 2 of the fastest mainstream CPU’s into an enthusiast package and re-released them, at roughly the same price as well, confused yet?
Enthusiast & Mainstream – A Brief Guide
Intel have 2 series of chips, their mainstream which most customers end up with, and their enthusiast line which is more expensive and specialised.
Each series has a number of different CPU options all at different price and performance levels.
Generally mainstream chips are lower cost, they can be fast at the top end of the scale and offer varying levels of multi-tasking ability.
The enthusiast series specialises in multi-threaded / multi-tasking workloads, their CPU’s have lots of processing cores allowing them to do more things simultaneously which is great for specialised workloads such as CAD rendering and other processor intensive tasks.
Kaby Lake X Performance Levels
Looking at the benchmark testing results for these two new processors at Anandtech and Kitguru show the performance of them is very similar to the existing mainstream Kaby Lake chips, this is to be expected as they are essentially repackaged versions of the same chip.
What is interesting though is due to some technical changes required by the switch to the Skylake X platform, and a slightly higher clockspeed, the i7 7740X Kaby Lake X CPU tends to marginally outperform the mainstream Kaby Lake i7 7700K.
This results in it being crowned the fastest single-threaded CPU available right now.
By single-threaded what I mean is that if a piece of software can only use one CPU thread (or core) i.e. it is not designed to scale up and use as many processor cores as are available, then the speed of the new i7 beats anything else on the market.
The interesting point to note is that a lot of software is single-threaded, web browsers included and a lot of trading software runs through them.
If you trawl through the benchmark tests and graphs on the Anandtech / Kitguru sites linked above you will see that the i7 7740X hits the top of pretty much all the web browser tests.
It is not just web browsers that are single threaded, lots of other software is too, including the highly popular MetaTrader 4 trading program.
Other benchmark tests which simulate multi-threaded workloads show that there are better options out there than these Kaby Lake X chips, namely, the new Skylake X 6, 8 and 10 core CPUs.
So, Should You Go For Kaby Lake X?
It’s a tricky one to call, but before I make some recommendations we have to mention pricing.
Whilst the new CPU’s are priced at similar levels to the i5 and i7 mainstream Kaby Lake chips, they do require the Skylake X platform to run, this means a different and more expensive motherboard.
They also run hotter so need better cooling, we use liquid CPU coolers on all of our enthusiast based computers (the Extreme’s) so this also bumps up the cost somewhat as well.
To give you an idea, one of our Extreme PC’s with the Kaby Lake X i7 will work out to be £180 + VAT more than an Ultra running the i7 7700K with the rest of the specification the same, so this is not an insignificant amount of difference.
Based on all of the above, here are my recommendations:
Firstly, I personally see no point to go with the i5 Kaby Lake X chip, the i7 is superior in every way.
Choosing the Kaby Lake X i5 would save you around £80 off the price of the Extreme with the i7 7740X but that would still be £100 more than going for the Ultra with the i7 7700K which beats it in pretty much any test you look.
For these reasons, we will not offer the Kaby Lake X i5 7640X at all.
Now, is the i7 7740X a recommended option?
I guess, if you want the absolute best performance possible for single threaded software such as web browser based applications and software like MetaTrader 4, then go for the 7740X in the Extreme PC.
The Ultra (or Trader PC) system with the i7 upgrade and 16GB of RAM is far better value, it almost matches the performance of the Kaby Lake X 7740X processor and in the real world there will be hardly any noticeable difference between the two systems.
So, the best value is the i7 7700K in an Ultra or Trader PC, but if money is no problem and top performance is essential then go for the Extreme with the i7 7740X CPU.
Whilst you’re at it you may as well add in one of the new M.2 SSD drives as well, combined you would end up with a massively fast and responsive system, I can’t really see how you’d improve any further upon that.
Ready to place your order? Configure your Kaby Lake X Extreme Multi-Screen PC here.
Written by Darren @ Multiple Monitors
Last Updated: July, 2017