Intel Core i9-9900K: Our Summary And Verdict
Performance Summary: The Core i9-9900K performed very well throughout our entire battery of tests. The combination of Intel’s latest microarchitecture and Turbo Boost frequencies of up to 5GHz, resulted in the best single-threaded performance we have seen from a desktop processor to date. The Core i9-9900K’s 8-cores and 16-threads, larger cache, and higher clocks also resulted in some excellent multi-threaded scores, that came close to catching some of Intel’s many-core Core X HEDT processors in a few tests. The Core i9-9900K also led the pack in our game tests and the all-encompassing PCMark tests.
In its stock configuration, the Core i9-9900K’s power consumption is also in-line with expectations. The processor appears to be approaching the limits of Intel’s 14nm manufacturing process, however, and will require robust cooling and a quality motherboard with a beefy power circuitry to achieve a significant overclock without contending with thermal throttling.
Intel Core i9-9900K Processors -- Find Them At Amazon
Intel billed the Core i9-9900K as the "best processor for gaming" yet and, all things considered, you could easily make that case. The Core i9-9900K is plenty fast and it led the pack in our CPU-limited game tests. It was also the fastest processor with other lightly-threaded workloads, performed well in multi-threaded tests, and outpaced the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X across the board.
The Core i9-9900K is a blisteringly-fast processor, but it is also priced as such. The Core i9-9900K is priced at $488 in 1KU quantities, but is currently priced at about $530 on Amazon. That makes it about $185 - $225 pricier than the Ryzen 7 2700X, which is currently selling for about $304 (give or take a few bucks depending on the retailer). Based on its performance, a higher price for the Core i9-9900K is justifiable, but Intel is definitely shooting for the stars a bit here. The Core i9-9900K's and Ryzen 7 2700X's performance is in the same ballpark, but their prices are not. Hopefully, as availability ramps and Intel reacts to potential price cuts from AMD, the 9900K's price comes down somewhat.
In the end though, the Core i9-9900K is a killer processor. It has more cores, more cache, higher frequencies, solder TIM, compatibility with existing motherboards and, of course, its strong real-world performance will make it very attractive to enthusiasts who want the best of the best. Just be prepared to pay a premium for the chip and carve out budget for a top-notch cooler.