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Intel Unveils Full Desktop Coffee Lake Refresh Lineup

(Image: © Intel)

Six months after the original unveiling of the first Coffee Lake Refresh models, Intel finally released its full 9th-Gen lineup today. The bulked-up line of desktop chips comes with 26 new models that span the Core i9, i7, i5, i3, Pentium, and Celeron families, with ten low-power models sprinkled in for good measure.

As with the first 9th-Gen models that came to market, these chips are based on the Skylake microarchitecture and work with existing 300-series motherboards.

With Intel's somewhat-belated launch of its 14nm++ chips finally complete, it's clear that these are the weapons Intel will wield in the battle with AMD's forthcoming 7nm Ryzen 3000-series processors that should arrive "mid-year."

Aside from the new Intel models that come as a byproduct of segmenting the chips into various core counts, clock frequencies, and memory support, there aren't many new features to speak of with the freshly-announced processors. The most surprising news comes in the form of Turbo Boost support for the Core i3 models, which does promise to bring even more performance to the value end of the market where AMD has steadily been chewing away market share with its more-capable Ryzen 3 models.

As Intel has already announced, the chips now feature support for up to 128GB of DRAM, a doubling necessitated by increasing RAM density, and support for Optane Memory with Pentium and Celeron processors.

The company also released six new H-series CPUs for gaming and prosumer laptops. We've got full details on those chips, which include the first 8-core, 16-thread consumer CPU, in a separate article.

Intel's full Coffee Lake Refresh roll-out has been slow, with the first K-Series chips arriving back in October 2018. A few more models have trickled out in the interim, but it's easy to assume that Intel's ongoing shortage of 14nm production capacity has played a role in the delayed arrival of the full complement of chips. There have been recent signs of the shortage easing, and Intel hopes to have the full lineup on shelves for purchase immediately. 

Core i9Core i7Core i5Core i3Pentium GoldCeleron
Cores / Hyper-Threading (HT)Eight Cores / HTEight Cores / No HTSix Cores / No HTFour Cores / No HTTwo Cores / HTTwo Cores / No HT

9th-Gen Intel Core i9 Series

Note: New processors are bolded.

Core i9 SeriesBase / BoostCores / ThreadsTDPPCIe LanesUnlockedL3 CacheMemory SupportIntegrated GraphicsRCP
Core i9-9900K3.6 / 5.08 / 1695W16Yes16MBDDR4-2666Yes$488
Core i9-9900KF3.5 / 5.08 / 1695W16Yes16MBDDR4-2666No$488
Core i9-99003.1 / 5.08 / 1665W16No16MBDDR4-2666Yes$439

Intel's Core i9-9900 slots in as the lone locked model of the Core i9 series. This model still comes with eight cores and sixteen threads like the other i9 models, but Intel pared back the base frequencies to 3.1 GHz while still maintaining a 5.0 GHz boost. This model also comes with integrated graphics and weighs in at $439, serving as the budget chip of Intel's flagship lineup, slotting in under the Core i9-9900K/F.

The Core i9-9900 is $65 more expensive than the eight-core eight-thread Core i7-9700K, which is the next step down on the ladder. The -9900 might prove valuable to semi-professionals on a budget, the performance of Intel's eight cores and sixteen threads is hard to beat with a mainstream platform in threaded workloads, but the 5.0 GHz boost clock means this chip will still require many of the expensive accommodations you'll need for an i9 chip, like a beefy cooler and motherboard.

9th-Gen Intel Core i7 Series

Core i7 SeriesBase / BoostCores / ThreadsTDPPCIe LanesUnlockedL3 CacheMemory SupportIntegrated GraphicsRCP
Core i7-9700K3.6 / 4.98 / 895W16Yes12MBDDR4-2666Yes$374
Core i7-9700KF3.6 / 4.98 / 895W16Yes12MBDDR4-2666No$374
Core i7-97003.0 / 4.78 / 865W16No12MBDDR4-2666Yes$323
Core i7-9700F3.0 / 4.78 / 865W16No12MBDDR4-2666No$323

Intel's Core i7 lineup comes with eight cores and no Hyper-Threading, with the Core i7-9700 models stepping down to a 65W thermal design power (TDP) compared to their other 95W Core i7 brethren. The reduced TDP rating comes as a byproduct of the reduced 3.0 GHz base and 4.7 GHz boost frequencies.

As per Intel's new strategy of selling F-series parts that come without graphics, the Core i7-9700F doesn't have a graphics engine. You'll notice that Intel doesn't provide a discount in exchange for the culled feature, so both chips come at a recommended customer pricing (RCP) of $323. In either case, the $51 savings compared to the -9700K and -9700KF is attractive given the relatively slim 200 MHz reduction in boost clock speeds, but you could also pick up an eight-core sixteen-thread Ryzen 7 2700X for ~$25 less. 

9th-Gen Intel Core i5 Series

Core i5 SeriesBase / BoostCores / ThreadsTDPPCIe LanesUnlockedL3 CacheMemory SupportIntegrated GraphicsRCP
Core i5-9600K3.7 / 4.66 / 695W16Yes9MBDDR4-2666Yes$262
Core i5-9600KF3.7 / 4.66 / 695W16Yes9MBDDR4-2666No$262
Core i5-96003.1 / 4.66 / 665W16No9MBDDR4-2666Yes$213
Core i5-95003.0 / 4.46 / 665W16No9MBDDR4-2666Yes$192
Core i5-9500F3.0 / 4.4 6 / 665W16No9MBDDR4-2666No$192
Core i5-94002.9 / 4.16 / 665W16No9MBDDR4-2666Yes$182
Core i5-9400F2.9 / 4.16 / 665W16No9MBDDR4-2666No$182

The Core i5 lineup serves the vast majority of the enthusiast market with six cores and six threads. The Core i5-9600 and -9500(F) feature much lower base frequencies than their more expensive i5 counterparts, but boost frequencies remain relatively high at 4.6 and 4.4 GHz, respectively.

There's a $49 price gap between the $262 Core i5-9600K and the $213 Core i5-9600, the biggest gap of the i5 series, meaning the -9600 could be the chip to get for mainstream gamers and enthusiasts that aren't interested in overclocking. AMD's Ryzen 5 2600X looms large in this price bracket, though, with six cores and twelve threads for ~$180.

9th-Gen Intel Core i3 Series

Core i3 SeriesBase / BoostCores / ThreadsTDPPCIe LanesUnlockedL3 CacheMemory SupportIntegrated GraphicsRCP
Core i3-9350K4.0 / 4.64 / 491W16Yes8MBDDR4-2400Yes$173
Core i3-9350KF4.0 / 4.64 / 491W16Yes8MBDDR4-2400No$173
Core i3-93203.7 / 4.44 / 462W16No8MBDDR4-2400Yes$154
Core i3-93003.7 / 4.34 / 462W16No8MBDDR4-2400Yes$143
Core i3-91003.6 / 4.24 / 465W16No6MBDDR4-2400Yes$122
Core i3-9100F3.6 / 4.24 / 465W16No6MBDDR4-2400No$122

Intel's Core i3 series has undergone perhaps the most radical changes over the last few years, with Intel's addition of two more cores enabling an impressive boost to performance with the initial Coffee Lake chips. Intel adds in support for Turbo Boost with these refresh chips, which should boost performance further. That's a much-needed addition here on the low end of the stack, primarily because AMD's full Ryzen 3 lineup comes with unlocked multipliers and are widely available.

9th-Gen Intel Core Pentium and Celeron Series

Pentium and CeleronBase / BoostCores / ThreadsTDPPCIe LanesUnlockedL3 CacheMemory SupportIntegrated GraphicsRCP
Pentium Gold G56204.0 / -2 / 454W16No4MBDDR4-2400Yes$86
Pentium Gold G5600T3.3 / -2 / 435W16No4MBDDR4-2400Yes$75
Pentium Gold G54203.8 / -2 / 454 / 58W16No4MBDDR4-2400Yes$64
Pentium Gold G5420T3.2 / -2 / 435W16No4MBDDR4-2400Yes$64
Celeron G49503.3 / -2 / 254W16No2MBDDR4-2400Yes$52
Celeron G49303.2 / -2 / 254W16No2MBDDR4-2400Yes$42
Celeron G4930T3.0 / -2 / 235W16No2MBDDR4-2400Yes$42

As we've recently covered, Intel's Pentium and Celeron lineup now support Optane Memory, which is helpful as Intel's Optane H10 Series SSDs come to address the value segment. These dual-core chips span from 54W down to 35W, with the three least-expensive models coming without Hyper-Threading. As with all of Intel's Pentium and Celeron chips, these models don't come with Turbo Boost and step back to DDR4-2400 memory support.

Core i3 and Pentium chips have suffered the most at the hands of Intel's 14nm shortage, largely because the company is prioritizing higher-margin models during the squeeze, so we might continue to see limited availability.

9th-Gen Intel Core T-Series

T-SeriesBase / BoostCores / ThreadsTDPPCIe LanesUnlockedL3 CacheMemory SupportIntegrated GraphicsRCP
Core i9-9900T2.1 / 4.48 / 1635W16No16MBDDR4-2666Yes$439
Core i7-9700T2.0 / 4.38 / 835W16No12MBDDR4-2666Yes$323
Core i5-9600T2.3 / 3.96 / 635W16No9MBDDR4-2666Yes$213
Core i5-9500T2.2 / 3.76 / 635W16No9MBDDR4-2666Yes$192
Core i5-9400T1.8 / 3.46 / 635W16No9MBDDR4-2666Yes$182
Core i3-9300T3.2 / 3.84 / 435W16No8MBDDR4-2400Yes$143
Core i3-9100T3.1 / 3.74 / 435W16No6MBDDR4-2400Yes$122

Intel's T-Series models are designed for the space-constrained systems that need to sip the least amount of power possible to facilitate lesser thermal solutions. All of these models come with a 35W TDP and span from four cores up to eight. The flagship T-Series Core i9-9900T is the only model to come with Hyper-Threading active, meaning the chip wields 16 threads. Pricing also runs the gamut from $122 for the Core i3-9100T (which only supports DDR4-2400) to $439 for the Core i9-9900T.

Intel says the full lineup will be available today at major retailers, but we wouldn't be surprised to see sporadic shortages. We'll keep an eye on availability and update accordingly.

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