Intel’s i9 9900K information leaked, and it sounds amazing

We have been waiting for Intel’s response to AMD’s Ryzen 2700X for quite a while now, and rumors of an 8core/16 thread Intel chip based on the refined Coffee lake architecture have been finally revealed. This new Intel processor in 2018 will probably blow away AMD’s current offerings in the CPU market. The i9 9900K will feature a TDP of 95W, a base clock of 3,6GHz and a boost clock of 4,7 GHz. That is the highest boost clock we have ever seen on an 8 core processor. The processor will feature 16 MB of Cache as well.  If we take the overclockability of Coffee Lake chips into consideration, this beast of a CPU could easily reach 5 GHz with an AIO cooler or even a capable air cooler. Sure is that the i9 9900K will be difficult to tame temperature-wise due to Intel’s decision to include low-quality paste on their CPUs. For extreme overclockers, delidding should be a no-brainer if they want to reach the CPUs maximum potential. According to wccftech, pricing will be around $450.

Intel has to find a price point that can match Ryzen’s value for money offerings while still not de-evaluating their other existing high-end CPUs like the i7 8700K. Do not expect any price drops for their other CPUs, either, so if you have been waiting for the i9 9900K in order to buy the i7 8700K at a lower price, you will be disappointed.


Intel i7 9700K will not be what you expected 

Besides the i9 9900K, Intel will release a bunch of other CPUs that will feature similar characteristics to their well-established Coffee Lake series. What was unexpected, though, is the release of the i7 9700K, which I initially thought would take the place of the i9 9900K. Well, I guess I was wrong. The i7 9700K, while featuring 8 cores, will not have hyperthreading enabled and we will be left with an 8core/8thread processor. It is the “cheaper” i9 variant and you will pay $100 less for it compared to their flagship i9 9900K,  at around $350.  With the same base clock of 3,6GHz and a boost clock of 4,6 GHz and 12 MB of Cache, it is obvious that the i7 9700K is a downgraded version of the i9 9900K aimed at those who need the extra cores for productivity work but do not want to spend more than $400 on a shiny new CPU.


Going down the list of new CPUs, they look more like refreshes with small bumps in base and boost clocks

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Next CPU on the list is the i7 9600K, a 6c/6t CPU with a 3,7GHz base and 4,3 boost clock. This is a bump of 0,1 GHz in base clock and 0,2GHZ in boost clock. 9MB of cache and a 65W TDP are unchanged specifications that can be found on the i5 8600K as well. A list of all new CPUs and their specifications can be viewed below:

Core i9 9900K8163,6 GHz4,7 GHz (all cores)16 MB95W$450
Core i7 9700K883,6 GHz4,6 GHz (all cores)12 MB95W$350
Core i7 8086K6124,0 GHz4,3 GHz (all cores)12 MB95W$425
Core i7 8700K6123,7 GHz4,3 GHz (all cores)12 MB95W$359
Core i7 87006123,2 GHz4,3 GHz (all cores)12 MB65W$303
Core i7 8700T6122,4 GHz3,8 GHz (all cores)12 MB35W$303
Core i5 9600K663,7 GHz4,3 GHz (all cores)9 MB95W$250
Core i5 8600K663,6 GHz4,1 GHz (all cores)9 MB95W$257
Core i5 9600663,1 GHz4,5 GHz (all cores)9 MB65WTBD
Core i5 8600663,1 GHz4,1 GHz (all cores)9 MB65W$213
Core i5 8600T662,3 GHz3,5 GHz (all cores)9 MB35W$213
Core i5 9500663,0 GHz4,3 GHz (all cores)9 MB65WTBD
Core i5 8500663,0 GHz3,9 GHz (all cores)9 MB65W$192
Core i5 8500T662,1 GHz3,2 GHz (all cores)9 MB35W$192
Core i5 9400662,9 GHz4,1 GHz (all cores)9 MB65WTBD
Core i5 9400T661,8 GHz3,4 GHz (all cores)9 MB35WTBD
Core i5 8400662,8 GHz3,8 GHz (all cores)9 MB65W$182
Core i5 8400T661,7 GHz3,0 GHz (all cores)9 MB35W$182
Core i3 8350K444,0 GHzN/A8 MB91W$168
Core i3 8300443,7 GHzN/A8 MB62W$138
Core i3 8300T443,2 GHzN/A8 MB35W$138
Core i3 9100443,7 GHzN/A6 MB65WTBD
Core i3 8100443,6 GHzN/A6 MB65W$117
Core i3 8100T443,1 GHzN/A6 MB35W$117
Core i3 9000443,7 GHzN/A6 MB65WTBD
Core i3 9000T443,2 GHzN/A6 MB35WTBD

It is obvious that Intel has made a few incremental increases in base and boost clock here and there and that any processor under the i9 9900K and i7 9700K can be considered a Coffee Lake refresh rather than a new CPU architecture. For example, the i5 9600K offers a 3,7 GHz base clock and a 4,3 GHz boost clock in comparison to the i5 8600K with its 3,6 GHz base and 4,1 GHz boost clock. The differences are 0,1 GHz on the base clock and 0,2 GHz on the boost clock. Performance wise no difference will be spotted. Similarly, by taking a look at the i3 CPUs, the i5 9400 offers a 2,9 GHz base clock and a 4,1 GHz boost clock in comparison to the i5 8400 with its 2,8 GHz base and 3,8 GHz boost clock. The differences are 0,1 GHz on the base clock and 0,3 GHz on the boost clock.

If you already have a Coffee Lake processor, the only reason you would need to upgrade is the extra core count. The jump from the i7 8700K to the i7 9700K is not worth considering. Even if you need more cores, you would be better off making the jump to the i9 9900K directly since the i7 9700K comes with hyperthreading disabled. For anyone who owns a weaker CPU like the i5 8600K or i5 8400, just skip the 9th generation CPUs and wait until Intel finds a way to shrink their processors to 9nm or 7 nm which could take a while.

AMD’ Ryzen, on the contrary, will only improve with time and if AMD manages to give us boost clocks around 4,5GHz or even higher, Intel might get in serious trouble, because the only reason Ryzen is still behind in gaming benchmarks is that of Instructions Per Clock performance (IPC). For just productivity work, AMD has outplayed Intel with their Ryzen+ architecture.


AMD dominated the high-end CPU market with their Threadripper CPUs and pushes Intel to their limits

Intel is primarily counting on these two processors to gain back some lost market share from AMD. Their competition, on the flipside, may release their Ryzen 7 2800X to get the competition going again. We have not had such a great competition in the CPU market for more than a decade and it is nice to see AMD releasing great products and pushing Intel to their limits.

It is remarkable that AMD’s Threadripper CPUs are dominated the high-end CPU market with their Threadripper 1950X with 16c/32t. Intel had the i9 7940X with 14c/28t and was forced to release the i9 7980XE powerhouse with 18c/36t. Ultimately, it has come down to a competition in cores and threads between Intel and AMD and while the Intel high-end offerings are worth considering, they are way too expensive, even for someone who does lots of productivity work. AMD’s Threadripper processors, however, offer similar performance at a much lower price making it the number #1 choice for productivity work, like content creators and video editors.


Z390 motherboards and current motherboard compatibility with Intel’s 9th generation processors

Of course, Intel had to release a new motherboard platform along with their new 9th generation of CPUs and 8 core counterparts. The new motherboards will be codenamed Z390 and are essentially a Z370 rebrand. People were skeptical about the compatibility of current motherboards with the 9th generation of Intel processors. Thankfully, Intel updated their current Z370 motherboards BIOS to support the new CPUs. In case you were thinking of picking up a 9th gen CPU, you can do that without changing your motherboard, too. To be honest, Intel had no excuse this time to not allow cross compatibility between Z370 boards and their new CPU lineup because they stated that the jump from the Z270 to the Z370 platform happened due to the fact the former could not handle the additional cores provided by Coffee Lake. Since Z370 motherboards have been optimized for processors with 6 cores, they should also be able to accept two more cores.

Apart from that, the chances that someone would upgrade their Coffee Lake CPU along with a motherboard just to accommodate two more cores and 4 more threads were extremely unlikely. At least now, Intel has a chance to sell their new CPUs at their MSRP which is way higher than Ryzen. I honestly do not know how the CPU market would look like if AMD had not gotten back in the game. We would be stuck probably, with 5% performance improvements from generation to generation and Intel would have kept the 4 cores formula for at least a few more years. Thank you, AMD.


The Verdict

The new Intel processor in 2018 that is worth mentioning is the i9 9900K. It is the missing puzzle piece many PC enthusiasts had been waiting for after Intel announced the i7 8700K on the mainstream market. The i9 9900K will, undoubtedly, be a powerhouse and will give Ryzen a tough time. The i7 9700K is worth mentioning too, with its 8 cores, although Intel decided to disable hyperthreading in order to justify the release of the i9 9900K. The rest of the 9th generation CPUs are simply Coffee Lake rebrands with incremental base and boost clock upgrades and can be viewed collectively in the chart above. New motherboards will be released too with the codename Z390, however, this time, Intel provided compatibility between current Z370 motherboards and the new processors by releasing BIOS updates. In general, Intel had to step up their game since Ryzen hit the market. Competition is good for us but is troublesome for a big company like Intel. AMD’s Ryzen introduced 6 and 8 core processors to the mainstream market, a decision Intel had to deal with and adjust their prices for 6 core CPUs for the mainstream market. Right now, AMD is the go-to company for productivity work while Intel only wins as far as gaming is concerned although the gap between Intel and AMD in gaming is closing and Intel will be in trouble if AMD continues improving their products. The CPU landscape in 2020 will look vastly different if AMD can stay at the top of their game.

What CPU are you anticipating the most? Are you considering to upgrade your current CPU? Leave a comment in the comment section and I will be more than happy to get into a conversation with you.