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

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Even though this suite has a few parallelized workloads, its final score is heavily influenced by the lightly-threaded tasks common in most desktop applications.

The Core i5-9600K clearly excels in lightly-threaded tasks, while AMD's Ryzen carves out wins in the threaded applications. Overclocking does help Intel more, though.

We see slight advances favoring Intel's -9600K over the -8600K, but it's definitely not worth upgrading from the latter to the former.

Web Browser

The Krakken suite evaluates JavaScript performance using audio, imaging, and cryptography workloads. Like most browser-based benchmarks, single-threaded performance reigns supreme.

The stock Core i5-9600K leverages its relatively high clock rates to outperform the Ryzen processors.


The application start-up metric measures load time snappiness in word processors, GIMP, and Web browsers under warm- and cold-start conditions. Other platform-level considerations affect this test as well, including the storage subsystem. Single-core performance largely determines responsiveness, so Intel's processors form a predictable hierarchy based on their frequencies.

Our video conferencing suite measures performance in single- and multi-user applications that utilize the Windows Media Foundation for playback and encoding. It also performs facial detection to model real-world usage. This workload responds well to available resources, so AMD's Ryzen family fares well. For example, the Ryzen 5 2600X takes a commanding lead over the Core i5-9600K. Even a Ryzen 7 2700 and its relatively low base clock rate ekes past the overclocked -9600K.

The photo editing benchmark measures performance with Futuremark's binaries using the ImageMagick library. Common photo processing workloads also tend to be parallelized, giving the Ryzen 7 2700 and Ryzen 5 2600X an easy advantage over Intel's Core i5-9600K. Also bear in mind that an overclocked Ryzen 7 2700 and 2700X offer similar 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)?