Intel Responds to the i7-7700K Thermal Issues

As I mentioned in my last post, my i7-7700K was experiencing such extreme temperature spikes during normal operation that it made the fan noise intolerable until I switched to an AIO cooler and tinkered with my fan settings. There is a long thread on the Intel forums where other people have reported this same problem. Today, Intel finally came back with an official response regarding the temperature spikes. Tl;dr: they don’t think it’s a problem and won’t fix it.

You can read the post on the Intel forums, but I’ll reproduce it here for posterity:

Hello Everyone,

We appreciate the feedback you have provided, and your patience as we investigated this behavior. The reported behavior of the 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-7700K Processor, showing momentary temperature changes from the idle temperature, is normal while completing a task (like opening a browser or an application or a program).

In our internal investigation, we did not observe temperature variation outside of the expected behavior and recommended specifications. For processor specifications, please refer to the Intel® Core™ i7-7700K Processor Product Specifications.

Most motherboard manufacturers offer customizable fan speed control settings that may allow for smoother transition of fan revolutions per minute (rpm). Please consult your motherboard manufacturer’s manual or website for instructions on how to change default fan speed control settings.

We do not recommend running outside the processor specifications, such as by exceeding processor frequency or voltage specifications, or removing of the integrated heat spreader (sometimes called “de-lidding”). These actions will void the processor warranty.

Kindest Regards, Ronald M.

So, in short, Intel is saying that the behavior is within spec and won’t be fixed. It’s worth noting that the i7-7700K is rated for temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius, so an uncharitable interpretation of “we did not observe temperature variation outside of the expected behavior and recommended specifications” is that Intel never saw temperatures spike above that 100 degree threshold and just called it a day.

If you’re wondering why the Intel rep specifically admonished people not to delid their processors, it’s because people have been experiencing temperature decreases of around 20 degrees Celsius just by replacing the cheap thermal interface material (TIM) Intel used for the i7-7700K; delidding these processors has become mainstream to the point where you can now buy delidding kits or pay a delidding service to do it for you. I’m strongly considering doing this myself.

At this point, I really find it impossible to recommend a Kaby Lake build over Ryzen. Ryzen’s platform still has some teething issues (pay careful attention to your motherboard’s compatible RAM list), but at least those problems are being solved by AMD and the motherboard manufacturers; with Kaby Lake, the only true fix for its thermal problems involves voiding your warranty to do a delid.