Best i7 Processors

Best i7 Processors in 2021

With both AMD and NVIDIA releasing a new lineup of their graphics card, it is time for most gamers to upgrade their current system. You might be wondering why we are stating such a bold thing. Well, from the recent Steam survey, most of the users are stuck with old Gen i5.

And most of the new cards coming out in the market will be seriously bottlenecked with those CPUs. For that reason, if you are determined to get the most out of the GPU, you would need to get the Best Core ™ i7 Processor.

These have a good amount of cores and an adequate amount of threads, which will enable you to get a good amount of FPS. So, eventually, you will get an enjoyable experience in the AAA titles.

Our Recommendations

AwardDesignModelRetailer
Best Flagship i7 Processor Intel Core i7-10700K Intel Core i7-10700K Check Price
Best Overall i7 Processor Intel Core i7-9700K Intel Core i7-9700K Check Price
Runner-Up i7 Processor Intel Core i7-10700 Intel Core i7-10700 Check Price
Best Budget i7 Processor Intel Core i7-6700K Intel Core i7-6700K Check Price
Most Popular i7 Processor Intel Core i7-8700K Intel Core i7-8700K Check Price
Expensive i7 Processor Intel Core i7-8086K Intel Core i7-8086K Check Price

So here is my list of the 6 Best i7 Processors

The i7 models that each of the generations has are plenty. And getting the one that will offer you the most bang for the buck can get a bit tricky. Well, you should not worry one bit because we are here to make it easier for you. Take a look at the well-performing ones that we have picked for you:

Best Flagship: Intel Core i7-10700K Processor

Intel Core i7-10700K

Futureproofing is something that most gamers look for. Well, if you are one of them and want something that will deliver a stellar performance in the long run, you have to take a look at what the 10th gen i7 has to offer.

Let us get through the basics first. It packs eight cores and 16 threads. That amount of thread count is what is going to enhance the gaming performance significantly. Most of the developers are finally utilizing multiple threads, which means the titles should be able to take full advantage of the performance that this has to offer.

Aside from the core and thread count, the base clock is 3.8 GHz, and the boost clock is 5.10 GHz. Both the base and the boost clock saw a 10-15% increase in speed. As a result, the task that you are going to carry out using it will feel snappy. You would also be able to compile and render videos reasonably fast using this.

Other than that, the maximum memory capacity of the model is 128 GB. With that much amount of memory, you will never feel like you lack the required amount of memory to run your favorite title.

Also, it supports the DDR4 sticks that are up to 2933 MHz. By installing those, the latency of the renders should drop down significantly.

Alongside that, it integrates the latest Intel 630 graphics. So, even if you do not have a dedicated graphics card at that moment, you can enjoy some of the titles in low settings for a while. You would have the ability to wait a bit and save a couple of bucks to get the latest and the greatest card that is available at the time.

Pros

  • Packs eight cores and 16 threads
  • The base clock is 3.8 GHz
  • Delivers a boost clock of 5.10 GHz
  • Supports up to 128 gigs of memory
  • Sports Intel 630 graphics

Cons

  • The lithography is still 14nm
  • Power consumption is still the same as the last generation

Best Overall: Intel Core i7-9700K Processor

Intel Core i7-9700K

Usually, the generational leap is not that significant when it comes to processors. However, Intel went a step ahead in this case when they brought out the 9th gen i7. And you will know exactly why.

First of all, the main focus of this generation was performance. As Ryzen started to dominate the market with their Zen series, they had to do something that will make the gamers buy their offerings. Well, that is why they redesigned the whole architecture for this. This one sports a refreshed version of the 14 nm Lithography.

Even though the core architecture is the same as the predecessor, the efficiency is comparatively high. The TDP rating of the chip is just 95 watts. And though TDP watts and the watts of the power supply is not the same, the reduction of TDP will yield lower heat production, which will lower the chances of throttling.

Apart from that, the base clock of the CPU is 3.6 GHz. And it can boost up to 4.9 GHz. Also, as it is a K series chip, you will have the freedom to overclock it. The overclocking potential of the chip is quite praiseworthy too. With the proper motherboard and a proper cooling system, you can make this one fly off the charts.

Alongside that, Intel adopted a smart caching system for this CPU. As a result, the processes are going to get efficiently carried out. Modern titles are going to get benefit from this caching system. Also, with a good SSD or a high-end Optane, you can make every task run buttery smooth.

Lastly, the maximum memory support is 128 gigs, and it can support bus frequency up to 2666 MHz.

Pros

  • Highly efficient
  • Can be overclocked
  • Integrates a smart caching system
  • The boost clock is up to 4.9 GHz
  • Maximum memory support is up to 128 gigs

Cons

  • The voltage modification setting on the OC mode is pretty limited

Runner-Up: Intel Core i7-10700 Processor

Intel Core i7-10700

If you are rocking a non-overclocking motherboard, then there would be no point in getting a K-series chip. And in such a case, you should opt for the non-K models like this one.

The chip shares a lot with the K-version. It utilizes the same architecture, which is the double refreshed 14 nm. The unit’s socket type is the LGA 1200, making it compatible with the 400 series intel boards that are out there.

So, if you have any of the compatible motherboards, you should not worry about the compatibility that much.

Aside from that, the number of cores and threads is the same as the K model. It has 16 threads and eight cores. So, you are sure to get the same performance edge as you would get from the K model. With a good card, the AAA titles should run buttery smooth on your system.

However, the TDP rate of the chip is comparatively lower than the K model. Instead of having 95 watts TDP, it has 65 watts TDP. This lower TDP rate makes it exceptionally efficient. It also eliminates the need for getting a beefier cooler to keep the system cool when you are gaming on it.

Other than that, the base clock of the chip is 2.9 GHz. And it can climb up to 4.8 GHz, thanks to the Turbo Boost technology that it packs. As a result, it will be able to offer a good amount of performance in the heavier tasks.

Alongside that, it also features the smart cache technology that is going to enhance the performance of single-core tasks. Carrying out regular tasks and browsing through the web are going to feel smooth with this.

Pros

  • Features smart cache technology
  • Compatible with all 400 series boards
  • Sports turbo boost 3.0
  • Max boost clock is 4.8 GHz
  • Boasts a 65 watts TDP

Cons

  • Some of the packages do not ship with a CPU cooler
  • The integrated GPU is clocked at a comparatively lower frequency

Best Budget: Intel Core i7 6700K Processor

Intel Core i7-6700K

There is a high chance that you are still using a 4th gen or lower system. Well, with so many models released, it is high time that you shift to something that supports DDR4 memory. And this model is the entry-point to that.

To start with, this was the generation when Intel started adopting the DDR4 memories. This generation leap in memory yielded faster performance and better memory management mechanisms. As a result, you should see a significant boost in the FPS in your favorite games.

Alongside that, the integrated GPU of the model also saw a significant upgrade. The GPU that the predecessor models used were barely usable for games. But for this case, you can at least get 30 FPS in most of the competitive games. Chances are, you might not even need to get a dedicated GPU for a bit if you get this.

Aside from the integrated GPU, the chip is unlocked. Thus, it has the K letter in its model. For that reason, you will have the full freedom to boost the maximum turbo frequency if you are using a good CPU cooler and a good motherboard that has a good power delivery system.

Apart from supporting DDR4, it is also compatible with DDR3L sticks that are from 1333 MHz to 1600 MHz. So, if you have them lying around, you might not have to get yourself a new pair of sticks.

Other than that, the TDP rating of the chip is 91 watts. That rating makes it quite power efficient, especially when compared to the previous generations. So, there will be no need to use a beefy cooling system to prevent throttling.

Pros

  • Supports DDR4 and DDR3-L sticks
  • The TDP rate is 91 watts
  • Overclockable
  • Integrates a decent GPU
  • Reasonably power-efficient

Cons

  • Does not come with a CPU cooler
  • The maximum memory support is only 64 GB

Intel Core i7-8700K

The number of cores that the i7 had before the release of 8th was only four. However, Intel decided to up that game with the release of this gen. And that is why this was and still is the most popular pick for the gamers.

As we have mentioned above, the core count for this chip is six. Because of the increase of core count, it should be able to handle multi-thread tasks more efficiently, including gaming and other intensive tasks. Also, the thread count also saw an increase. The generation leap for the threads is 4, which means it has 12 threads.

Alongside the increase of cores and threads, the frequencies had a significant boost too. The chip’s base clock is 3.7 GHz, and the max turbo frequency that it can reach is 4.7 GHz. And as it has the turbo Boost 2.0 frequency, it should be able to set the ideal amount of frequency by considering the task you are doing.

Other than that, it sports Intel UHD 630 graphics. Even though it is an integrated graphics, you will have no trouble running some less-demanding titles at 30 FPS with the right memory bundled.

Aside from that, the maximum memory that it supports is 128 GB. With that amount of memory, worrying about not having a good amount of RAM would not be something you would have to do to play games. Also, the maximum bus speed that it supports is up to 2666 MHz.

On that note, it adopts the Smart Cache mechanism that will boost the individual cores’ overall performance. Tasks are going to feel snappier to carry out because of this.

Pros

  • Packs six cores
  • Sports Smart Cache technology
  • Integrates Turbo Boost 2.0
  • Can support up to 128 GB of memory
  • Features Intel UHD 630

Cons

  • Runs a bit hot under full load
  • The included cooling fan is not that efficient

Best Expensive: Intel Core i7-8086K Processor

Intel Core i7-8086K

Are you looking for something that is fairly modern? Well then, what you were looking for all this time might be the 8086K that Intel is offering. Even though it is relatively expensive, the performance that it offers is worth it.

First of all, the boost clock of the model is up to 5 GHz. Yes, you read that right. It is one of the older gen CPUs that can reach 5 GHz without any tinkering. The base clock is nothing that special. It is at 4 GHz, but it is still higher than the ones that are in the 3 GHz region. You can expect to get stellar performance with this.

On that note, you will have the option to overclock it, thanks to it being fully unlocked. With a proper cooler and a proper motherboard, you should be able to crank the boost clock closer to 6.0 GHz. Talking of which, the motherboards that are going to be compatible with this model are the 300 series ones.

Aside from the board that it supports, the maximum amount of memory that it can hold is 128 GB. That amount of RAM is more than enough to play games, work with large files, render videos, and do other RAM-demanding tasks. So, you would not have to worry about performance throttles that much.

Alongside that, it boasts the Intel UHD 630, which is clocked at 350 MHz. It can reach up to 1.20 GHz, depending on the amount of cooling that it gets.

On that note, the TDP is 95 watts. That TDP rating is considerably low considering that it can reach far beyond 5 GHz in overclocked mode. That means performance throttles are not going to be an issue.

Pros

  • Boost clock on the regular mode is up to 5 GHz
  • Fully unlocked and overclockable
  • Supports up to 128 GB of memory
  • Packs UHD 630 graphics
  • TDP rating is just 95 watts

Cons

  • Does not bundle with a cooler
  • Some of the units might ship defective

What to Look for When Buying Best i7 Processors?

There are some things that you would want to consider before you make a purchase decision. And those are as stated:

Motherboard

If you are not planning to fully upgrade your system, you should first consider which motherboard you have. Most of the generations have a different socket type, which requires a new series of the motherboard. So, if you are rocking any i5 in a 300 series board, you need to opt for the core i7 that is compatible with the board.

However, if you want to upgrade your overall system, you would not have to worry about this too much.

Cooling

Even if you get a beastly CPU, if you can not cool it properly, there is going to be a lot of performance throttle. And you would want to get the most out of your CPU, right? Well, that is why you need to consider the TDP. The higher the TDP, the beefier, the cooler you are going to need.

On that note, i7s tend to be around 85 to 110 watts. So, if you can get a cooler that is capable of handling that amount of TDP, you should be good.

Unlocked CPU

Another thing that you should factor in is whether you want to tinker around with the CPU or not. We are mainly referring to the K series CPUs here. Those are fully unlocked, and you will have the option to overclock them. So, if you want a bit of a futureproofing, we would recommend shooting for the K models.

Nevertheless, the K models are going to be a bit expensive than the non-K CPUs.  However, the price that you are going to pay will definitely be worth it in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I set up an 8th Gen Intel CPU on a 100 series motherboard?

No, it would not be possible to set an 8th Gen CPU on a 100 series board. The 100 series is meant for the 6th Gen CPUs, while the 8th Gen chips require 300 series board.

Do all core i7 motherboards support overclocking?

Most of the core i7 motherboards support overclocking. However, the result you are going to get from all of them will not be that consistent. If overclocking is your primary concern, you should opt for the Z and H series boards.

How much RAM is enough for 2021?

The days where 8 GB used to be more than enough are no more. Nowadays, having 8 GB is the bare minimum. Considering that, we would recommend getting at least 16 GB of RAM if you plan to game.

Are integrated graphics any good?

Integrated graphics are improving day by day. The new series that the 10th and 11th generation of Intel chips boast are quite capable. It would be pretty easy for you to get at least 30 FPS on low to medium settings on most of the less-demanding titles with those.

Is a water cooler an absolute necessity for intel i7?

Not really. If you are not overclocking your CPU, you should be good with any of the well-performing air coolers.

Final Words

The i7 has been one of the go-to CPUs for gamers. And with the Best i7 Processor in your rig, you would be able to get the most out of your GPU. Also, the FPS that you would get would be more than enough to enjoy a smooth and stutter-free gaming experience.

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