Intel looks like it's going out of its way to maximize profits for its 9th-generation Intel Coffee Lake Refresh processors. The Intel Core i9-9900F has just been listed in the SiSoftware Official Live Ranker database and will join the other variants, such as the i9-9900K, i9-9900KF and i9-9900T.
Just by looking at the product name, we can decipher what the Core i9-9900F is all about. The "F" suffix tells us that the processor doesn't have the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 (GT2, with GT standing for graphics technology) iGPU (integrated graphics processing unit) at its disposal. And since the new chip lacks the "K" suffix, we can surmise that the multiplier is locked as well. In summary, it seems the i9-9900F is a locked-down version of the original i9-9900K but without integrated graphics.
Intel Core i9-9900F Specs Comparison
|Model||Cores / Threads||Multiplier||Base Frequency||Boost Frequency||Memory Support||Processor Graphics||Cache||TDP||MSRP|
|i9-9900K||8 / 16||Unlocked||3.6 GHz||5 GHz (1 / 2 Core)4.8 GHz (4 Core)4.7 GHz (6 / 8 Core)||DDR4-2666||Intel UHD Graphics 630||16MB||95W||$488 - $499|
|i9-9900KF||8 / 16||Unlocked||3.6 GHz||5 GHz (1 / 2 Core)4.8 GHz (4 Core)4.7 GHz (6 / 8 Core)||DDR4-2666||N/A||16MB||95W||$499|
|i9-9900F||8 / 16||Locked||3.1 GHz||?||DDR4-2666||N/A||16MB||?||?|
|*i9-9900||8 / 16||Locked||?||?||DDR4-2666||Intel UHD Graphics 630||16MB||65W||?|
|i9-9900T||8 / 16||Locked||1.7 GHz||3.8 GHz GHz (1 / 2 Core)? GHz (4 Core)3.3 GHz (6 / 8 Core)||DDR4-2666||Intel UHD Graphics 630||16MB||35W||?|
Belonging to the Coffee Lake family, the i9-9900F is manufactured under Intel's 14nm++ process node. It has an eight-core, 16-thread design and 16MB of L3 cache. According to the SiSoftware entry, the i9-9900F features a 3.1 GHz base clock speed, which is about 500MHz lower than the "K" and "KF" variants. However, the chip seems able to reach 5 GHz on two cores and 4.8 GHz on four cores.
There are a few theories that could explain the processor's behavior. The leaked Core i9-9900F is probably an engineering sample, and Intel is still tweaking the clock speeds. It's also possible the motherboard wasn't recognizing the Core i9-9900F properly without a BIOS update and, thus, not managing the clock speeds correctly. Or, perhaps, Intel just went ahead and reduced the TDP (thermal design power) on the processor, which dramatically limits the clock speeds. Either way, we won't know for sure until more information on the processor arrives.
The Core i9-9900F will probably have a similar price tag to the full-featured Intel Core i9-9900K, which is $499 (~£369.18). As the i9-9900KF has shown us before, a chip with less features doesn't necessarily mean it should be cheaper -- at least not in Intel's books.