Over the last year I have jumped back and fourth between Intel and AMD based systems. With the release of the new Coffee Lake 6-core 12-thread high clock CPU’s, we may have finally hit the sweet spot between gaming and productivity.

I was able to snag an i7-8700 and Asus Rog Strix Z370-I motherboard on launch day. While the i7 coffee lake variants appear to be out of stock everywhere, keep checking daily, as stock is supposed to start shipping later in the month.

Case: Phanteks Evolv Shift

phanteks evolv shift caseChoosing the case wasn’t hard. I have had my eye the Phanteks Evolv Shift mini-itx case since I saw it at Computex earlier this year. A vertical compact case with with support for dual 120mm radiators is a rarity. In fact it is the only case of it’s kind that I am aware of. The shift is beautiful, flexible and has plenty of room for additional upgrades in the future.

System Components

i7-8700 mini-itx build parts

CPU Intel Core i7-8700
MOTHERBOARD Asus Rog Strix z370-I
CPU Cooler Corsair Hydro H55
RAM 32GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000MHz
HDD Samsung 960 EVO 256GB
HDD Samsung 850 EVO 500GB M.2
HDD Samsung 850 EVO 500GB
HDD Intel 600p 256GB
PSU Corsair SF450
CASE Phanteks Evolv Shift
CASE Phanteks RGB LED Strip

I tried to put together a balanced but powerful system that could handle gaming and video editing duties. The MSI GTX 1070 should have no problem playing modern games at 60fps, and speeding up video renders.

Full System Build

For the full system build and additional info, check out the video above. It does a better job explaining everything than my writing ever could.

System Benchmarks

System CPU Benchmarks

Cinebench CPU 1419
Passmark CPU 16527
Geekbench (Single Core) 5614
Geekbench (Multi Core) 25507
CPU-Z Single 510.3
CPU-Z Multi 3888.5

The i7-8700 trounced the performance of Intel’s last gen 65W i7-7700, putting up very nice single and multi-core scores. You can pull even more performance out of this CPU with an Asus motherboard, by enabling multi-core enhancement, which forces all cores to hit their max boost speed.

CPU Temperatures

100% LOAD 92C

Even with liquid cooling the CPU still hit 92C under load. This was really surprising. Coffee Lake chips definitely run hot.

phanteks evolv shift case leds

Synthetic Gaming Benchmarks

Valley 4724 – 112.9 fps
Heaven 2570 – 102 fps
Cinebench Open GL 156.6
3D Mark: Timespy 6106
3D Mark: Firestrike 15778
Passmark GPU 3D 12752
Passmark GPU 2D 1006

When running gaming benchmarks I noticed that without a case fan blowing air over the GPU I was seeing some throttling. This may not be the case with a full sized card, but is definitely something to take note of.

In testing the scores were about what you would expect from a compact 1070 running at stock speeds. You will be able to play all the modern titles at up to 1440p with no issues.

Gaming Benchmarks

Min Max Avg
Batman Arkham Knight 59 131 93
Metro Last Light 26.55 198.89 91
Shadow of Mordor 63.29 156.55 92.84
Tomb Raider 68 104 87.8

This system is handles games really well. All test were run at 1440p. The 8700 and 1070 had no problem hitting well over 60fps. Batman Arkham Knight dipped down to 59 frames momentarily but every game I tested averaged over 85 fps.

GPU Temperature


Shockingly, during gameplay I was running into thermal throttling with my MSI GTX 1070 Mini. There are a few reasons for this. Check out the benchmark video above to learn more.

phanteks evolv shift top io

System Power Draw

IDLE 52.1W
100% LOAD 298

Power draw numbers were very nice. The system never hit 300W under full system load running Prime 95, Furmark, and Crystal Disk Mark simultaneously. There is plenty of headroom to run a more powerful GPU and CPU of of the SF 450.

Noise Levels

IDLE 42.1db
GAMING 47.3db
RENDER 53.4db

The system was much louder than I thought it would be. It peaked at over 54db at load. That is simply too loud for a system of this size. I have much smaller cases that are significantly more quiet at load. Selecting proper components is very important with this case.

i7-8700 mini-itx build desk setupBuilding in the Phanteks Evolv Shift was interesting. The case while gorgeous is not the most functional out there. If you are planning on doing a build in it I would definitely plan on using some form of liquid cooling for both the CPU and GPU, otherwise you may run into temperature and noise issues like me.


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