Overclocking the Intel 8600K - Delidded on Air and Water

We've gotten to spend some quality time with our Intel Core i5-8600K Coffee Lake CPU, and of course we have spent our time finding out just how far we could push the processor's clock under both Air Cooling and Water Cooling. We relid and delid as well. The results look to be very promising for the overclocking enthusiast and gamer.

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Overclocking on XSPC Water

Below are our 8600K overclocking results while using our XSPC RayStorm Pro D5 Photon RX480 water cooling kit.

We are still working with the same 1.344v vCore again for these 5.2GHz overclocks on water. I did NOT try to scale the vCore down, but I am fairly certainly that I could a bit. I wanted to keep our vCore the same for those wanting to compare the air to the water temperatures.

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With our 8600K under water cooling, and using the metal TIM we were able to knock 10C off our die temperatures.

Looking to see if we could up the ante a bit we went ahead again for 5.3GHz. 5.3GHz was not attainable with our stock TIM. With the stock TIM I pushed the vCore as high as 1.5v vCore, and still could not get any kind of system stability at all.

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I found with our metal TIM that we could get fairly good 5.3GHz/3600MHz stability using a 1.44v vCore. I am not going to suggest that this is a "safe" vCore to run as your stock setting. It also did push our die temperature up 8C over the 5.2GHz shown above.

The screen grab above was taken 2.5 hours into the Prime95 run. The system was still stable after 6 hours into the run and finally threw a BSOD after that. So while again this is not a "fully" stable overclock by our definition, it was certainly far from unstable.


The Bottom Line

While Intel has again launched another processor with little to no gains in IPC, these new Coffee Lake CPUs do seem to have a bit more bark when it comes to overclocking than several of its predecessors. We are actually getting what Intel promised years ago, 5GHz overclocking on air cooling.

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And from watching what is going on around in hardware enthusiast circles, it seems that you do not need a golden sample CPU in order to make this happen. Of course since Coffee Lake is basically a paper launch, it will be a little bit hard to go out and grab your own 8600K or 8700K today. The other finger in the eye in all of this is Intel sticking with its stock TIM instead of using solder on these CPUs. I am getting as tired of this as you are. If you are going to sell us "enthusiast" K series CPUs, at higher prices, at least make the effort to give us a soldered TIM, Intel! That said, it is a fun project to replace, but it can be costly and risky for the end user to do this. There are a lot of folks out there saving up pennies to buy your Intel K series CPUs, at least have the decency to give them the TIM that they deserve.

With a little enthusiast elbow grease, good water cooling, and a liquid metal TIM, we see that a stable 5.3GHz overclock is possible on the Core i5-8600K. That does get me excited about Coffee Lake and I am sure there are a lot of gamers and enthusiasts out there that will be impressed with that clock speed as well, and can put it to good use across many of those cores.

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