The Core i7-8086K Review: 40 Years Of x86

Forty Years Of x86

Compared to the 16-bit 8086, Intel's Core i7-8086K represents a quantum leap in technology. Whereas a modern CPU can spend four years in the design process, Intel brought its 8086 to market in just 18 months. Stephen Morse, then 36 years old, was the lead architect. The 8086 was originally designed to be a filler product before Intel released the 8800, but Morse designed it to be the first in a line of chips that shared a common architecture to ensure forward compatibility.

Product
Intel 8086Core i7-8086K
Core i7-8700K
Release Date
June 8, 1978
June 8, 2018
October 5, 2017
TDP
1W (power draw)
95W
95W
Cores / Threads
1 / 1
6 / 12
6 / 12
Frequency Base / Boost
5 - 10 MHz (0.005 GHz)
4.0 / 5.0 GHz
3.7 / 4.7 GHz
Transistors
29,000
~3 billion
~3 billion
Manufacturing Process
nMOS/HMOS 3 micron (3000nm)
CMOS 14nm++
CMOS 14nm++
Word Size
16-bit
64-bit
64-bit
Lithography
G-Line (Mercury Arc Lamps) 436nm Wavelength
Argon Fluoride Excismer Laser, 193nm Wavelength
Argon Fluoride Excismer Laser, 193nm Wavelength
Die Size
33mm2
149mm2
149mm2
Minimum Feature Size
3.2 Microns (3200nm)
8nm
8nm
Wafer Diameter
4 inches
12 inches
12 inches
Memory Support
1MB
64GB
64GB
Memory Bus Speed
4.77 MHz
2966 MHz
2966 MHz
Integrated Graphics
None
UHD Graphics 630
UHD Graphics 630
Socket
40-pin
LGA 1151v2
LGA 1151v2
Price
$86.65 (1978) $330 adjusted for inflation
$425
$359

And thus, the x86 instruction set architecture was born. Over the course of 40 years, Intel continually enhanced the x86 ISA, adding more than 3500 new instructions like MMX, SSE, TSX, and three flavors of AVX, among many others. Amazingly, the 64-bit Core i7-8086K is capable of running original 16-bit 8086 code. That's a testament to the x86 instruction set's longevity.

The original 8086 was fabbed on a 3200nm nMOS process using mercury arc lamps. Meanwhile, 40 years later, Intel is on its third-gen 14nm CMOS process that's manufactured with argon fluoride exerciser lasers.

Transistor measurements are no longer based strictly on feature sizes, but we can derive some basic comparative metrics. Die sizes have increased from the 8086's 33mm2 to the -8086K's 149mm2, and transistor counts are up from 29,000 to ~3,000,000,000 per processor, respectively. That means the original 8086 featured 879 transistors per square millimeter, while Core i7-8086K comes with 20,134,228 transistors per square millimeter for an astounding 22,905x density increase.

Interfaces have also changed as Intel added more cores, cache, new buses, expanded memory support, and on-die graphics. The original 8086 dropped into a 40-pin quasi-PGA interface, whereas the eighth-generation Core processors employ an LGA 1151v2 socket that boasts 1151 pins. If we widen the scope to Intel's 28-core enterprise behemoths, some interfaces pack a whopping 4637 pins.

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41 comments
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  • AgentLozen
    Cons:
    -No bundled cooler

    You're saying that if Intel paired their little aluminum heatsink with this CPU you would have been more satisfied with this product?

    I've never heard of this silicon lottery place before. That's neat stuff.
  • Yuka
    I'm going to be unfair, but not too much:

    - We doing something for the 40th anniversary? -> Yes.
    - What do we sell for the 40th anniversary? -> A re-branded 8700K.
    - What do we include to make it more expensive? -> A letter from the CEO we most definitely won't be firing in the upcoming weeks! And a weird bottle with coffee beans in it (it seems?).
    - Do we bother in making it special (metal solder, bundled CLC, etc...) or just pick a couple golden sample 8700Ks? -> Don't bother, shrinks our profit; we don't care about the anniversary or making this special, really.

    Too much cynical thought process there?

    Cheers! :P
  • PaulAlcorn
    496490 said:
    Cons: -No bundled cooler You're saying that if Intel paired their little aluminum heatsink with this CPU you would have been more satisfied with this product? I've never heard of this silicon lottery place before. That's neat stuff.


    Touché
    ;)
  • mac_angel
    why is it that internet news media no longer uses proof readers or editors?
  • ubercake
    I like the article and the page two comparison with the old 8086.
  • ingtar33
    so Intel releases 8000 binned cpus for a $100 markup over their basic cpu, plus some crap, however, this release is by lottery only (as in only the lotto winners have permission to buy this chip), and THG does a review?

    seriously?
  • mister g
    " But if you go the Silicon Lottery route, expect to pay even more than a brand new Core i7-8086K costs and lose two years of warranty coverage."

    I thought Intel CPUs usually come with a 3 year warranty?
  • Math Geek
    1027081 said:
    this release is by lottery only (as in only the lotto winners have permission to buy this chip), and THG does a review? seriously?


    think you missed how it went. they did a drawing to give away a bunch of these chips but they also made the rest available for purchase through the normal routs. no lottery there, just have to be quick on the draw and buy one before they sell out. Tom's bought thier's the same way any of us could have since intel did not send out press samples of it. it's a valid product for sale like any other they review.
  • g-unit1111
    496490 said:
    Cons: -No bundled cooler You're saying that if Intel paired their little aluminum heatsink with this CPU you would have been more satisfied with this product? I've never heard of this silicon lottery place before. That's neat stuff.


    Yeah I noticed that too. Intel hasn't been bundling coolers with its' high end CPUs since the X79 days. I honestly wouldn't count this as a hit against it.
  • Krazie_Ivan
    and lets check in with Paul on those 8086k temps...

    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/54/23/5a/54235a5fac7cee9c208e0838115f1752.jpg
  • jimmysmitty
    73949 said:
    I'm going to be unfair, but not too much: - We doing something for the 40th anniversary? -> Yes. - What do we sell for the 40th anniversary? -> A re-branded 8700K. - What do we include to make it more expensive? -> A letter from the CEO we most definitely won't be firing in the upcoming weeks! And a weird bottle with coffee beans in it (it seems?). - Do we bother in making it special (metal solder, bundled CLC, etc...) or just pick a couple golden sample 8700Ks? -> Don't bother, shrinks our profit; we don't care about the anniversary or making this special, really. Too much cynical thought process there? Cheers! :P


    I haven't seen many companies do much more for an anniversary version of their product. For example, the 50th anniversary Mustang in 2015 was just a Mustang GT with the Performance Pack but came in two special colors (Kona Blue and Wimbeldon White) and had the badging. They did a limited run of 1964 of those. However it didn't perform any better than a 2015 GT with the Performance Package.

    I think celebrating their beginnings is neat. Some people love this stuff. Let them enjoy it.
  • PaulAlcorn
    349598 said:
    " But if you go the Silicon Lottery route, expect to pay even more than a brand new Core i7-8086K costs and lose two years of warranty coverage." I thought Intel CPUs usually come with a 3 year warranty?


    Yup. Intel gives you a three-year warranty, while Silicon Lottery gives you a one-year warranty. So, you lose two years of coverage if you buy a chip from Silicon Lottery.
  • Yuka
    149725 said:
    73949 said:
    I'm going to be unfair, but not too much: - We doing something for the 40th anniversary? -> Yes. - What do we sell for the 40th anniversary? -> A re-branded 8700K. - What do we include to make it more expensive? -> A letter from the CEO we most definitely won't be firing in the upcoming weeks! And a weird bottle with coffee beans in it (it seems?). - Do we bother in making it special (metal solder, bundled CLC, etc...) or just pick a couple golden sample 8700Ks? -> Don't bother, shrinks our profit; we don't care about the anniversary or making this special, really. Too much cynical thought process there? Cheers! :P
    I haven't seen many companies do much more for an anniversary version of their product. For example, the 50th anniversary Mustang in 2015 was just a Mustang GT with the Performance Pack but came in two special colors (Kona Blue and Wimbeldon White) and had the badging. They did a limited run of 1964 of those. However it didn't perform any better than a 2015 GT with the Performance Package. I think celebrating their beginnings is neat. Some people love this stuff. Let them enjoy it.


    They usually include some performance packages factory cars don't get. Unfortunately, the analogy falls a bit short, since here you're basically comparing the Shelby Mustang of the line up to the anniversary edition, which is a Shelby Mustang in another color. Not even special wheels, interior or markings; just a new badge and a higher price point.

    But yes, I do agree at least they did *something* to "celebrate". I just find it amazing how they "celebrate" and not lose money doing it (or pass it as a marketing cost).

    Cheers!
  • jdlech2
    TBH, I think anyone who even opens the package is nuts. It's like breaking the plastic on that vinyl album you know is going to be history, or opening the plastic bag on that one comic book you know is going to be worth thousands, someday. These are collectors items - they're valued not for their performance, but for their collectibility. 25 years from now, museums are going to want them, collectors are going to bid for them. "Mint condition" is going to be worth something.
  • Giroro
    Come on, guys. Intel went through all that effort to send you some coffee in the press kit, so the least you could do is throw it into a lake.
  • AgentLozen
    Giroro said:
    Come on, guys. Intel went through all that effort to send you some coffee in the press kit, so the least you could do is throw it into a lake.


    Well what's the point in doing that? All that's gonna happen is some coffee is going to get in that lake.
  • jimmysmitty
    73949 said:
    149725 said:
    73949 said:
    I'm going to be unfair, but not too much: - We doing something for the 40th anniversary? -> Yes. - What do we sell for the 40th anniversary? -> A re-branded 8700K. - What do we include to make it more expensive? -> A letter from the CEO we most definitely won't be firing in the upcoming weeks! And a weird bottle with coffee beans in it (it seems?). - Do we bother in making it special (metal solder, bundled CLC, etc...) or just pick a couple golden sample 8700Ks? -> Don't bother, shrinks our profit; we don't care about the anniversary or making this special, really. Too much cynical thought process there? Cheers! :P
    I haven't seen many companies do much more for an anniversary version of their product. For example, the 50th anniversary Mustang in 2015 was just a Mustang GT with the Performance Pack but came in two special colors (Kona Blue and Wimbeldon White) and had the badging. They did a limited run of 1964 of those. However it didn't perform any better than a 2015 GT with the Performance Package. I think celebrating their beginnings is neat. Some people love this stuff. Let them enjoy it.
    They usually include some performance packages factory cars don't get. Unfortunately, the analogy falls a bit short, since here you're basically comparing the Shelby Mustang of the line up to the anniversary edition, which is a Shelby Mustang in another color. Not even special wheels, interior or markings; just a new badge and a higher price point. But yes, I do agree at least they did *something* to "celebrate". I just find it amazing how they "celebrate" and not lose money doing it (or pass it as a marketing cost). Cheers!


    No the 2015 50th anniversary Mustang. Not the 50th anniversary Cobra Jet (which looks insane) of which they are only pushing 68 out and will be unique in that its a 5.2l cross plane Coyote V8 super charged. The 2015 50th anniversary of the original Mustang was just a 2015 GT with special colors and badging nothing more.

    I said it is often the same as what Intel does. Normally just aesthetic changes or badging or even a special this year and trim only color.

    People should be allowed to celebrate and enjoy it. Its not meant for everyone just those that enjoy it.
  • Gam3r01
    Now the question is, would the winners of the giveaway be getting just the processor, or the whole spread in the first picture?
  • cangelini
    169108 said:
    why is it that internet news media no longer uses proof readers or editors?


    Editor checking in. What issues did you spot? Thanks!
    Chris
  • cryoburner
    1920539 said:
    Pros: Rare moments of 5 GHz operation are exciting

    A bit like spotting bigfoot in the wild? What's the point of giving the processor a slightly higher boost clock on a single core when that doesn't actually translate to better performance in real-world scenarios? Considering that these processors are capable of overclocking to 5GHz, I'm sure they could have given it higher multi-core boost clocks as well, even if they were just increased by 100MHz over the 8700K. The resulting performance difference would still be indistinguishable, but at least it could be measured.

    1920539 said:
    But in an effort to maintain a 95W thermal design power rating, Intel only tweaked this chip's base and single-core clock rates.

    But didn't you state in the 8700 review posted just the other day that...

    1920539 said:
    You see, Intel's thermal design power specification applies to the CPU's base frequency. But its processors exceed that rating when they jump to higher Turbo Boost bins.

    Honestly, I think they just pull numbers out of a hat when specifying their TDPs.

    About the only "Pro" this processor has is that overclockers can get a chip that's been binned for about 100Mhz higher clocks on average. However, there's still no guarantee that you'll get a chip that clocks better, it just increases one's odds. Going by Silicon Lottery's data, there's still a chance of getting an 8086K that won't be able to exceed 5GHz.

    And what's with these other "Pros"? Fastest gaming processor? Even with a high-end graphics card at 1080p, frame rates were practically identical to an 8700K, and even that processor's performance in today's games is practically indistinguishable from a number of lower-priced options. Why even mention gaming performance in the review summary? Anyone building a gaming system would be better off putting that extra $75+ toward other components that have some actual performance benefit.

    And will the 8086K really end up a collector's item? I somehow doubt this processor will retain all that much of its value in the long term. It's not so much a piece of history as it is a marketing gimmick to extract more profit out of 8700Ks that can potentially clock a bit higher. And from a performance standpoint, the 8086K will undoubtedly be surpassed by the 9th-gen Core processors that should be launching within the next few months or so.
  • feelinfroggy777
    The only people that I have seen buy this chip is tech reviewers because Intel made so few that they did not send any review copies out.

    I just cant imagine any regular Joe buying this thing.
  • PaulAlcorn
    582021 said:
    1920539 said:
    <snip>
    1920539 said:
    But in an effort to maintain a 95W thermal design power rating, Intel only tweaked this chip's base and single-core clock rates.
    But didn't you state in the 8700 review posted just the other day that...
    1920539 said:
    You see, Intel's thermal design power specification applies to the CPU's base frequency. But its processors exceed that rating when they jump to higher Turbo Boost bins.
    Honestly, I think they just pull numbers out of a hat when specifying their TDPs. <snip>.


    Good catch, as we pointed out in the past, the TDP is based on the base frequency only. Correction made.
  • jeffrey.egan
    What if I got one for free in the sweepstakes? Is it worth it then? :D

    Seriously should I sell it and use my 8700k?
  • Gam3r01
    2728635 said:
    What if I got one for free in the sweepstakes? Is it worth it then? :D Seriously should I sell it and use my 8700k?


    In your case, yes. Sell it and put the money to something else.
    I also won one, but I am using a 4590, so I will happily use it.