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Intel Core i9-9900K 9th Gen CPU Review: Fastest Gaming Processor Ever

Editor's Choice

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Intel’s processors extend their lead in the single-threaded POV-Ray and Cinebench tests. However, it's easy to see that AMD’s extra cores help offset their lower IPC in threaded benchmarks.

The Core i9-9900K sets a new high water mark for mainstream desktop performance at stock and overclocked settings in the threaded POV-Ray and Cinebench benchmarks.

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Our threaded compression and decompression metrics work directly from system memory, removing storage throughput from the equation. Ryzen 7 2700X is competitive in these workloads, especially after overclocking. But Intel's Core i9-9900K carves out a commanding lead.

y-cruncher, a single- and multi-threaded program that computes pi, is a great test to use for measuring the affect of AVX instructions. Core i7-7820X sports two 256-bit AVX FMA units per core that operate in parallel, so it isn't surprising to see that CPU leading through the multi-threaded test. Core i9-9900K is still highly competitive, but we dialed back its all-core AVX frequency to 4.8 GHz for our overclocked configuration. Consequently, the tuned -9900K is outperformed by the stock configuration, which benefits from the dual-core 5.0 GHz AVX frequency. 

Core i9-9900K leverages high clock frequencies to dominate the HandBrake x265 test, which relies heavily on AVX instructions, and the H.264 test. Notice that the tuned -9900K outpaces the stock configuration in these tests despite our 4.8 GHz AVX offset. That's because the stock setup drops to an all-core 4.7 GHz under full utilization.


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  • dlim389
    "The better the cooling, the better power consumption"? What?! This doesn't make sense at all. You meant the better the cooling, the lower the temperature.
    Reply
  • siman0
    "Redefine" at double the price of a 2700x it needs to do more than that. The price diffrence is more than enough to go up another GPU tier ie 1070ti to a 1080ti. Id rather have more pcie bandwidth and the ability to upgrade my cpu till 2020. The only way Id recommend a upgrade to something close is if you already have the motherboard. But even then Id say the 9700k.
    Reply
  • s1mon7
    Wait, so it performs within a spitting distance of the 2700x with DOUBLE the power consumption and price? Holy smokes, I thought Intel will be able to easily take on AMD after they launch their 8-cores. I have to say that these results were very surprising to me, since I believed in this being the ace up Intel's sleeve. This is really interesting, and a big win for AMD. The 9900K goes through twice the power just to squeeze out that extra clock speed edge to outperform the 2700x by a mere 10%, at double the price, mind you.

    Intel clearly needs 10nm and a new architecture to go back into the game. As is, I struggle to think of any reason to buy the 9900k.
    Reply
  • TCA_ChinChin
    Interesting chip from Intel, but if you are looking at CPUs from a performance per dollar point of view, its rather disappointing. The real disappointment is the 9700k which is more expensive than the 8700k but performs basically the same on average.
    Reply
  • Adrian Ocampo
    As a gamer, why would I buy a 9700K when an 8700K trades blows with the 9900K in both gaming and productivity. It just doesn't make sense. Its like its just competing with its own product as this point. I would be better off buying an 8700K deliding it, put liquid metal and overclock to 5.0Ghz for a much lower price than a 9900K.
    Reply
  • gfaiii
    Guys just as a heads up you should say second generation 1151 socket, these are NOT compatible with 200 series boards that have 1151 sockets (without modding)
    Reply
  • sonichedgehog360
    Ladies and gentlemen, Intel’s FX 9000 series.

    (By the way, I totally saw this coming what with the crazy clock speeds they were pushing.)
    Reply
  • Johnpombrio
    I was surprised on how well the i9-9900K did on stock clocks. I may not even bother with overclocking as it does well even without it and I may be able to use air cooling that way. Compared to my Kaby Lake i7-7700K, it definitely is a big step up. I already have the ASUS Strix Z380 mobo, 32GB Corsair Dominator Platinum memory kit and have preordered the CPU.
    Reply
  • sstanic
    how is this an editor's choice is beyond me. but not beyond marketing people, is it?
    Reply
  • redgarl
    For the money, you can buy a motherboard, a CPU and a 1080 GTX for the same price as the 9900k with it's motherboard.

    Also, you tested this system on a 600$ motherboard... 600$ and a prenium cooling solution.

    This system is above the 2000$ threshold compared to an AMD one barely hitting the 1000$.
    Reply