Skip to main content

Intel Announces Core i9-9900KS With $513 RCP, Arrives October 30 with 127W TDP (Updated)

Update 10/28/2019 12:08pm PT: Intel revealed the Core i9-9900KS will only be available until the end of the 2019 holiday season via a video posted to YouTube. 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Original Article 10/28/2019 6:00pm PT:

Intel's announced that its Special Edition Core i9-9900KS would land on store shelves October 30 with a $513 recommended customer pricing (RCP). As a special edition processor, Intel says the chip will be available worldwide for a limited time only but didn't specify the number of chips it will bring to retail or an expected end date for retail availability (later revealed to be available until the end of the 2019 holiday season). We recently tested Intel's Core i9-9900KS ahead of the official launch, finding that the chip expands upon Intel's lead in gaming performance, and reaches higher overclocks than our Core i9-9900K sample.

The Core i9-9900KS features the same silicon as its Core i9-9900K counterpart, meaning it has the same 14nm++ process and Coffee Lake microarchitecture, but represents the highest-quality silicon binned during the manufacturing process.

Intel Special Edition Core i9-9900KS Specifications

ProcessSEP / RCP (USD)Cores / ThreadsTDP (Watts)Base Frequency (GHz)Total Cache (MB)PCIe LanesiGPUPrice Per Thread
Ryzen 9 3900X7nm$49912 / 24105W3.5 / 4.73224 Gen4No$20.79
Core i9-9900KS14nm$5138 / 16127W4.0 / 5.01616 Gen3Yes$32
Core i9-9900K14nm$4888 / 1695W3.6 / 5.01616 Gen3Yes$30.05
Ryzen 7 3800X7nm$3998 / 16105W3.9 / 4.53224 Gen4No$24.94
Core i9-9700K14nm$3748 / 895W3.6 / 4.91216 Gen3Yes$46.75
Ryzen 7 3700X7nm$3298 / 1665W3.6 / 4.43224 Gen4No$20.56

The -9900KS's premium silicon supports a 4 GHz base clock, a 400 MHz improvement that leads to a beastly 127W TDP rating. That's a big increase from the Core i9-9900K's 95W TDP. 

However, the -9900KS delivers a 5 GHz Turbo Boost across all of its cores under any workload (AVX included), while the 'vanilla' -9900K only boosts to 5 GHz on two cores. As expected of a higher-bin processor, Intel's Core i9-9900KS should overclock higher than garden-variety -9900K chips, but the silicon lottery still applies (your mileage may vary). The higher quality silicon also affords tremendous power consumption advantages in our testing

Unlike Intel's standard processors, the Core i9-9900KS only carries a one-year warranty, as opposed to the standard three-year warranty period we're accustomed to. Intel chalks this up to limited volume, but we're following up for more information. 

Active CoresBase1 Core2 Cores3 Cores4 Cores5 Cores6 Cores7 Cores8 Cores
Core i9-9900KS (GHz)4.05.05.05.05.05.05.05.05.0
Core i9-9900K (GHz)3.65.05.04.84.84.74.74.74.7

Intel Special Edition Core i9-9900KS Pricing and Performance

Intel's recommended pricing is surprisingly close to the Core i9-9900K's $488-$499 RCP, but Intel assigns pricing based on 1000-unit tray orders, so prices at retail will vary. Given this chip is a special-edition processor, we can also expect the economics of supply and demand to come into play, so these chips will likely command a hefty premium over the recommended pricing. For instance, the Core i9-9900KS is listed (preorder) for $559 at B&H Photo

Intel's Special Edition chip vies with AMD's $499 Ryzen 9 3900X, but the lower-priced AMD processor comes with four more cores and eight more threads, which our testing shows offer more performance than the -9900KS in threaded workloads. However, Intel's Core i9-9900KS is unquestionably the new leader in gaming performance at both stock and overclocked settings, and the performance delta is often substantial enough that gaming enthusiasts looking for the absolute most performance, regardless of price, will seek out the processor. 

It's anyone's guess how long the -9900KS will remain available, though, as Intel continues to struggle with 14nm production capacity, leading to shortages. Luckily for enthusiasts shopping for pricey chips, Intel continues to prioritize its high-priced processors, so we might see availability for an extended period of time. 

Of course, you could also pick up a -9900KS from Silicon Lottery, which will bin the processors and sort out the best of the best and guarantee specific overclocking thresholds. That company recently listed the Core i9-9900KS as available on November 3, so well-heeled enthusiasts will have to wait for a bit longer to plunk down the extra cash it costs for the service. 

  • logainofhades
    While lower than expected, I think it is still higher than what it is worth. The $184 ish difference, vs a 3700x, could easily mean a better GPU. That isn't even taking into account the more expensive cooling, that will be needed to tame this beast.
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    That is a good question for an article to answer.

    What are the coolers capable to handling this new processor at 127 TDP. Unfortunately I don't see coolers listed by TDP or handy charts that convert TDP to cooler capability.

    I actually don't see coolers put numbers to their cooling power at all. Seems like it would be pretty easy to say X BTUs per minute dispersed at 70 degrees (f) air temp.
    Reply
  • tom1111
    I have a Coolermaster Masterliquid 120 with 200W TDP.
    I have set my i9-9900K to 5GHz allcore Turbo and the Power Limit to 180/165W to keep the Temperature under control.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Intel revealed the Core i9-9900KS will only be available until the end of the 2019 holiday season via a video posted to YouTube.
    Since the KS is basically just a new stepping of the i9-9900K, I'm betting they'll just start selling them as i9-9900K's. I mean, when you have a new stepping of a chip, it's pretty nuts to keep making the older, worse one, since the manufacturing costs should be essentially the same.

    Initially, the newer-stepping K chips might be lower-binned KS that couldn't hit the clock speed targets, but I guess some cherries should eventually end up being sold as Ks.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Co BIY said:
    That is a good question for an article to answer.

    What are the coolers capable to handling this new processor at 127 TDP. Unfortunately I don't see coolers listed by TDP or handy charts that convert TDP to cooler capability.

    I actually don't see coolers put numbers to their cooling power at all. Seems like it would be pretty easy to say X BTUs per minute dispersed at 70 degrees (f) air temp.
    Well, the preview they already posted showed it going well above 127 W. So, for most users*, that number is a fiction.

    However, the question of which coolers are up to the task is still relevant.

    * note: some motherboards enforce the TDP more strictly, but gaming-oriented boards tend not to.
    Reply
  • Darkbreeze
    logainofhades said:
    While lower than expected, I think it is still higher than what it is worth. The $184 ish difference, vs a 3700x, could easily mean a better GPU. That isn't even taking into account the more expensive cooling, that will be needed to tame this beast.


    Plus, only a 1 year warranty? No thanks. They can keep their processor right there on the store shelf. Permanently.

    https://www.tweaktown.com/news/68448/intels-new-core-i9-9900ks-5ghz-1-year-warranty/index.html
    Reply
  • kinggremlin
    Darkbreeze said:
    Plus, only a 1 year warranty? No thanks. They can keep their processor right there on the store shelf. Permanently.

    https://www.tweaktown.com/news/68448/intels-new-core-i9-9900ks-5ghz-1-year-warranty/index.html

    I wouldn't worry about it. All indications are that this will be a very limited release, which will make the RCP meaningless. Retailers are going to jack the price up so high, that you wouldn't have bought one with a 10 year warranty. The limited release is most likely also the reason for the 1 year warranty. Intel isn't going to have any of these lying around in 3 years for replacements.
    Reply
  • Darkbreeze
    I wouldn't have bought one anyhow, but there have been plenty of limited releases before and they never had a one year warranty. Obviously, they don't have much faith in the longevity of those chips with an all core 5Ghz boost.
    Reply
  • TraderJim
    What a joke. Intel is turning into the Trump of the chip world. So few of these must be binning out that they are only putting out the news to entice enthusiasts to stick with the Intel platform, only to downgrade to a plain 9900k when they can’t get a hold of a 9900ks. Nice try, Intel. How the mighty have fallen. Good luck with the graphic card program. Nobody will believe anything you say after this de facto fake news.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Darkbreeze said:
    I wouldn't have bought one anyhow, but there have been plenty of limited releases before and they never had a one year warranty. Obviously, they don't have much faith in the longevity of those chips with an all core 5Ghz boost.
    For those who just fire up the occasional game, I think there's no cause for concern.

    I suspect the 1 year warranty is just so they're not on the hook if some turkey buys it for heavy compute jobs and runs it full-tilt, 24/7.

    For anyone considering an i9-9900K, I don't see why they wouldn't just step up to the KS, assuming they can actually find it for anywhere near list price.
    Reply