Update 1/13/2019: Added pricing information. We have in-depth coverage of pricing here.
Intel held its CES 2019 keynote here in Las Vegas and announced that it would soon release new 9th-Generation processors that span from the Core i3 to the Core i9 families. Curiously, the company didn't announce the models or specifications during its keynote.
The company's post-keynote press release lists the new Core i5-9400, and shortly thereafter, we found the new Intel Core i9-9900KF, Core i7-9700KF, Core i5-9600KF, Core i5-9400F, and Core i3-9350KF listed on the company's official site.
These processors surfaced in listings at Norwegian and Finnish retailers in late December, tipping us off that Intel had a new line of 9th-Gen Core products coming to market. Several of these new models lack the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 iGPU, as denoted by an "F" suffix on the product name. The Core i5-9400 stands as the only new locked model. These chips come packing the same 14nm process and Coffee Lake microarchitecture as their other 9th-Generation counterparts.
|Cores / Threads||Base / Boost Freq. (GHz)||Integrated Graphics||Memory Support||Cache||TDP||RCP|
|Core i9-9900K||8 / 16||3.6 / 5.0||UHD 630||DDR4-2666||16MB||95W||$488|
|Core i9-9900KF||8 / 16||3.6 / 5.0||No||DDR4-2666||16MB||95W||$488|
|Core i7-9700K||8 / 8||3.6 / 4.9||UHD 630||DDR4-2666||12MB||95W||$374|
|Core i7-9700KF||8 / 8||3.6 / 4.9||No||DDR4-2666||12MB||95W||$374|
|Core i5-9600K||6 / 6||3.7 / 4.6||UHD 630||DDR4-2666||9MB||95W||$262|
|Core i5-9600KF||6 / 6||3.7 / 4.6||No||DDR4-2666||9MB||95W||$262|
|Core i5-9400||6 / 6||2.9 / 4.1||UHD 630||DDR4-2666||9MB||65W||$182|
|Core i5-9400F||6 / 6||2.9 / 4.1||No||DDR4-2666||9MB||65W||$182|
|Core i3-9350KF||4 / 4||4.0 / 4.6||No||DDR4-2400||8MB||91W||$173|
|Core i3-8100F||4 / 4||3.6 / -||No||DDR4-2400||6MB||65W||$117|
The incredibly complex chip manufacturing process isn't perfect, so many processors come off the production line with defects. Intel can simply disable cores on a chip, instead selling it as a lower-end model, if a defect lands in a core. It stands to reason, then, that selling chips without integrated graphics would allow Intel to sell chips with defects in the graphics units. That would certainly help as Intel grapples with an ongoing shortage of 14nm manufacturing capacity. It is unlikely that these new chips come with a die that lacks integrated graphics, largely due to the expense of designing and fabricating an entirely new die. We've reached out to Intel for more information.
Deactivating the GPU has other benefits, too. The disabled unit could also serve as 'dark silicon,' which is unused silicon that absorbs heat from surrounding chip structures, thus improving thermal performance. That could open up more headroom for longer boost duration or higher overclocking capability. Or, more likely, it will allow enthusiasts to buy a new chip without integrated graphics at a lower price point than the full-featured models.
Aside from the $182 Core i5-9400F, Intel's newest listings do not include pricing, so we'll have to wait until the products come to retail to learn if there is a price reduction associated with the removal of the integrated graphics units. Aside from the deactivated (or removed) graphics units, the Core i9-990KF, i9-9700KF, and i5-9600KF all feature the same core counts, threads, base and boost frequencies, TDPs, and cache allocations of the existing "non-F" models.
Intel also brought its new Core i5-9400 to bear. This new processor features six cores and threads and operates at a 2.9 GHz base frequency that jumps up to 4.1 GHz on a single core. Unlike the "F" models, this processor comes with the integrated UHD Graphics 630 engine. It also features a 65W TDP, meaning this processor serves as the replacement for the popular Core i5-8400, but it comes with an extra 100 MHz of base and boost clock overhead. This model, as identified by the lack of a "K" suffix, isn't overclockable. The Core i5-9400F is identical but lacks integrated graphics.
The Core i3-9350K comes with four cores and threads. This processor operates at a 4.0 GHz base clock rate and boosts to 4.6 GHz on a single core. Aside from the lack of integrated graphics, this chip differs from the others with its lower DDR4-2400 support, but relatively high 91W TDP. This chip obviously fills the role of the previous-gen Core i3-8350K, but it appears that Intel has no plans to launch an equivalent with integrated graphics.
The Core i3-8100F slots in at the bottom of the stack with four cores and threads, a static 3.6 GHz frequency, and 6MB of L3 cache.
Intel lists the processors as available in the first quarter of 2019 but hasn't provided a firm release date.