Intel Core i5-9600K Review: A Mid-Range Gamer's CPU

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VRMark, 3DMark and AotS: Escalation

VRMark, 3DMark

We aren't big fans of using synthetic benchmarks to measure performance, but 3DMark's DX11 and DX12 CPU tests provide useful insight into the amount of horsepower available to game engines.

The Core i5-9600K suffers due to its six threads. That's half of what the Ryzen 5 2600X offers to our DX11 test. AMD's stock chip beats the overclocked -9600K, then adds insult to injury with a bit of tuning. Notice that the stock -9600K demonstrates a decent boost compared to Intel's -8600K. Then, after overclocking, they end up faring similarly.

In the DX12 test, Intel's Core i5-9600K provides a slight improvement over the -8600K. Ryzen 5 2600X leads the stock -9600K, though overclocking helps extract the advantages of Intel's generally higher per-core performance.

VRMark lets you gauge your system's suitability for use with the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, even if you don't currently own an HMD. UL defines a passing score as anything above 109 FPS. The -9600K easily beats its Ryzen competition in this lightly-threaded benchmark. 

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation is a computationally intensive title that scales well with thread count.

The Core i5-9600K enables a few more frames per second than the -8600K, but surprisingly trails after tuning. A handful of frame time outliers obviously affected the overclocked configuration's performance.


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Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.

  • PrinceTexasLoaf
    Nice cpu it seems to have better single core if I'm not mistaken
  • Tobias Claren
    How high can I overclock with intel boxed cooler?
    Or a cooler that fits in a mini itx case lake Silverstone Raven or similar (12 litres or less)?