September 20, 2017 // 6:15 p.m.
The inclusion of a six-core CPU in Intel's Skylake-X lineup is something of a mystery in the current scheme of things given that we fully expect them to appear in the mainstream platform courtesy of Coffee Lake.
However, with Coffee Lake originally not having meant to arrived until 2018, the CPU here would have made more sense. It would give those that needed more multi-threaded grunt than a Core i7-7700K an option other than AMD for around £300, a gap-filler between June's X299 launch and Z370 originally penned for next year.
The Core i7-7800X costs barely any more than the Core i7-7700K, but the downside, of course, is that you'll need to spend more on a motherboard and on memory (if you wanted to take advantage of quad-channel). However, our main gripe with this CPU is that it lacks so many other features compared not just to its predecessors, the Core i7-6800K and Core i7-6850K, but also the other CPUs in the Skylake-X range.
For example, it lacks the improved Turbo Boost Max 3.0, whereas the next CPU up - the eight-core Core i7-7820X - has it. The latter also has considerably more L3 cache at 11MB compared to 8.25MB here, yet even that CPU lacks support for the maximum 44 PCIe lanes on the X299 platform. You need to step up to the £900 Core i9-7900X for that. There is one good point in amongst a number of disappointments, though, which is that at £350, it's less expensive than the Core i7-6800K cost at launch (about £400).
The early arrival of Coffee Lake means that the Core i7-7800X's life span may be very short indeed, but there is one small hope in that the retail price of the expected Core i7-8700K looks like it will be around £380 or $420 according to the latest leaks. It may also be a few weeks after launch that we see board prices coming down to levels that make the Coffee Lake CPU noticeably better value all other things aside; at the moment X299 boards can be had for £230 so that £40 gap will only be closed when Z370 boards are available for less than £200, and if you remember the Z270 launch, things stayed pretty expensive for a while.
You can see our initial launch article for Skylake-X here, while today we'll be comparing the Core i7-7800X to other current CPUs in its price range as well as those that match certain of its specifications - these include the Ryzen 5 1600X and Ryzen 7 1700X, which will be the new CPU's main competitors, at least until Coffee Lake arrives.