Intel Core i9 Review

The ninth-generation core chips, known as the Coffee Lake refresh, present a step forward in the battle for desktop supremacy. Intel’s line-up matches AMD’s Ryzen core-for-core, including a new Core i9 with eight Hyper-Threaded cores (8C/16T) and the greatest frequencies we have seen in the mainstream area.

There is also a bulked-up Core i7 equipped with two additional cores, plus a revamped Core i5. AMD is not placing still though: The company recently released its new flagship, the 16-core 32-thread Ryzen 9 3950X, to fend off Intel’s new challengers. AMD’s high heart counts, competitive prices, and nods to enthusiasts have made it plenty of goodwill.

The Core i9-9900K, for example, ships at a translucent plastic dodecahedron clearly supposed to wow system builders, like the way AMD impressed with its Threadripper packaging.

Intel also changed back to using Solder Thermal Interface Material (STIM) between the die and heat spreader, easing better thermal transportation to bargain with much more cores and higher overclocks.

Core i9 is the fastest mainstream computer processor we’ve tested. These ought to minimize the performance impact of circumventing recently discovered exploits. Knowing that Intel does not fit AMD’s value proposition, is the greatest in desktop functionality worth paying extra for?

The new Core i9 was incredibly impressive through our regular package. But most users are better served by cheaper options, such as Core i7-9700K. The Coffee Lake refresh begins with three new K-series chips.

They all feature the exact same inherent Coffee Lake microarchitecture as previous-gen versions. And as anticipated, the Core i5 and Core i7 brands are represented. This time around, however, an eight-core, 16-thread Core i9 controls the spotlight.

Intel also reacts to raising RAM density by decreasing memory capacity support up to 128GB. Core i9-9900K’s Solder TIM enhances the thermal transfer efficiency between the die and heat spreader, easing the headroom required for two more physical cores on the Core i9 and i7 versions without breaking up a 95W envelope at base clock prices.

And that is after adding those two additional cores. The STIM, which can be applied inside all three new models, also enhances overclock ability. Enthusiasts who previously searched AMD for using Solder TIM in its Ryzen chips should be pleased with Intel’s decision here.

Improved heat dissipation also eases impressive clock speeds across the ninth-gen models. Core i9-9900K stretches around 5.0 GHz when two cores are busy, outstripping the Core i7-8086K and its ability to hit 5.0 GHz on a single core. They both feature much greater boost multipliers compared to previous-gen CPUs.

These should help expand Intel’s advantage in lightly-threaded activities like gambling. Meanwhile, the additional cores help Intel compete easily against Ryzen in more taxing workloads. Core i7-7820X is possibly the most comparable CPU in Intel’s high-end desktop.

The 600 chip requires a costly X299 motherboard, is best paired to a quad-channel memory kit, lacks integrated graphics, and uses a mesh architecture for linking on-die logic rather than the familiar ring bus (check out our deep dive for more information). Since we’ve shown, internet architecture has a negative impact on several desktop-class workloads, therefore it’s not the perfect solution for fans.

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