Intel Core i9-9900K 9th Generation CPU Review

Author:Kyle Bennett

Date: Friday , October 19, 2018

The new 9th generation Intel i9-9900K CPU is upon us! AMD has been pushing into Intel's desktop market and Intel knows it. Today Intel is pulling the curtain back on "not paid for" reviews and we are happy to be serving you one of those up here today. Is the i9-9900K better than the Ryzen 7 2700X, and is it worth the staggering price premium?

Intel Core i9-9900K - i7-9700K - i5-9600K CPUs

The 9th generation Intel Core processors for the desktop are not exactly a secret. The i9-9900K, i7-9700K, and i5-9600K have been available for pre-order for a while now, and have been talked about extensively by Intel. Speaking of pre-orders, let's look at price before we move forward.

Core i9-9900K - $530

Core i7-9700K - $410

Core i5-9600K - $280

This "9th Gen" processor is a "Coffee Lake-Refresh." Do not look for any big upticks in IPC or clocks in enthusiast terms, however out of the box, the stock Boost Clocks are getting very speedy. Although Intel will not say this, we all know that this release is a keep-up-with-the-Joneses move on Intel's part to answer the 1st and 2nd Generation Ryzen 7 CPUs from AMD, and that is a great thing in our opinion. Having competition in the CPU market again is a tremendous thing for all of us, especially us computer hardware enthusiasts. We truly owe the launch of the i9-9900K to AMD in a twisted way.

The i9-9900K is an 8 core / 16 thread part while the i7-9700K is an 8 core / 8 thread CPU. The i5-9600K is 6 core / 6 thread and can be looked at as a direct replacement for the i5-8600K. The specification chart below has all the stock Boost Clocks listed, and we will certainly be checking those ourselves on the following pages. TDP is listed at 95 watts for all the K SKU parts, and we will be testing package power on the 9900K that we have in hand. Intel has sampled us for the first time in years, but it chose not to send us the 9700K or 9600K today. We are fairly certain this is being done to keep the attention on the 9900K in order to keep focus on this part in hopes that it trumps the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X across the board, and we will of course know that by our conclusion page.

One of the biggest things to address enthusiasts wants, is that all of these new K SKU processors have soldered TIMs (STIM); no more cheap thermal paste delidding will be required.

Intel today is also "launching" the Z390 chipset. The only changes to this new 300 series chipset are the addition of integrated USB 3.1 Gen 2 and integrated Intel Wireless-AC with support for Gigabit Wi-Fi speed. All these new 9th gen CPUs will work on all 300 series chipset motherboards. Of course, if you are using a 9900K, you are going to be concerned about the motherboard VRM abilities, so you might keep that in mind if you are overclocking a 9900K on a "lesser" motherboard due to the additional cores and power needs.

Our i9-9900K arrived in a snazzy little box however this does not represent the upgraded retail packaging that you will find at retailers.

The new i9-9900K CPU comes in an impressive looking see-through packaging. Again this looks to be an attempt to up the ante on the marketing side as AMD has surely made strides in these areas in the last year.

Intel 9th Gen Desktop Processor Specifications

All of this information has been public for quite a while, so there should be nothing here that comes as any surprise.

Intel Introduces its 9th Gen Intel Core Processors

In case you missed its launch event, you can check it out below. I will not pull any punches here and tell you that you are missing anything. Soldered TIM, 5GHz clocks, 8 cores on the desktop....that is about it. It is probably one of the worst Intel marketing introductions that I have ever witnessed. It just falls flat.