Intel Core i7 performance – From the 870 to the 8700

Intel’s lineup of Core desktop processors has seen major changes throughout the years.

While recent generations have stuck to the same process node and delivered incremental updates, there have been major boosts in performance as Intel continuously improves its CPU architecture and releases new products.

Intel’s Core i7 nomenclature began with the high-end, high-power Core i7-920 chip.

The first mainstream Core i7 CPUs were launched in September 2009, however – the Core i7-860 and Core i7-870.

Both of these were manufactured on a 45nm manufacturing process, which is very large compared to the current 14nm chips Intel makes today.


Specifications

To see how the chips’ performance and prices have improved over time, we compared the specifications and retail pricing of similar across Intel’s Core i7 generations.

Intel’s Core i7-870 boasted four cores with eight threads and a whopping $562 price tag.

The company did not take long to realise how expensive this chip was, however, dropping its price by 48% under a year later.

Since then, pricing of Core i7 chips has remained relatively stable.

The Ivy Bridge and Haswell microarchitectures saw Intel experiment with new naming conventions and different TDP ratings across the 22nm node, but it reverted to more standard configurations on the change down to 14nm.

The specifications and pricing of equivalent Core i7 processors across each Intel hardware generation are below.

CPU Cores/Threads Base/Boost Clock TDP RRP
Intel Core i7-870 4/8 2.93GHz/3.6GHz 95W $562
Intel Core i7-2600 4/8 3.4GHz/3.8GHz 95W $294
Intel Core i7-3770 4/8 3.4GHz/3.9GHz 77W $278
Intel Core i7-4770 4/8 3.4GHz/3.9GHz 84W $303
Intel Core i7-6700 4/8 3.4GHz/4.0GHz 65W $303
Intel Core i7-7700 4/8 3.6GHz/4.2GHz 65W $303
Intel Core i7-8700 6/12 3.2GHz/4.6GHz 65W $303

Benchmarks

The clock speed and eventually the core count of these processors showed an upward trend over the years, and this is reflected in their performance.

Despite their age, pre-Skylake Core i7 chips still boast great performance and can handle their own in gaming or performance builds – provided the software is not too reliant on CPU speed.

New chips, however, support the more efficient DDR4 RAM in addition to other technology, such as better integrated graphics and enhanced turbo boost support.

We compared the PassMark Score for each of the Intel Core i7 processors to provide an idea of the performance steps between each Core i7 generation – shown below.

Processor PassMark Score
Intel Core i7-870 5,358
Intel Core i7-2600 8,200
Intel Core i7-3770 9,301
Intel Core i7-4770 9,791
Intel Core i7-6700 10,012
Intel Core i7-7700 10,782
Intel Core i7-8700 15,297

Now read: Intel unveils 40th Anniversary Core i7-8086K processor

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Intel Core i7 performance – From the 870 to the 8700