Intel Core i9-9900KS Review: The Fastest Gaming CPU Bar None

Intel Core i9-9900KS - SANDRA, PCMark, And Geekbench

Test System Configuration Notes: When configuring our test systems for this article, we first made sure all firmwares were up to date, then we entered each system's respective BIOS / UEFI and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High performance" defaults. We then saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS and set the memory frequency to the maximum officially supported speed for the given platform (without overclocking). The SSDs were then formatted, and the latest build of Windows 10 Pro x64 was installed and fully updated.

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The Intel Core i9-9900KS Coming Out Of Its Shell

When the Windows installation was complete, we installed all of the drivers necessary for our components, disabled Auto-Updating and Windows Defender, and installed all of our benchmarking software. When that process was done, we performed a disk clean-up, cleared any temp and prefetch data, and optimized all of the SSDs using Windows' built-in utility. Finally, we enabled Windows Focus Assist to minimize any potential interruptions and let the systems reach an idle state before invoking a test.

HotHardware's Test Systems
Intel and AMD - Head To Head
9900ks test systems
Preliminary Testing with SiSoft SANDRA 2020
Synthetic Benchmarks

We began our testing with the latest version of SiSoftware's SANDRA 2020, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran four of the built-in sub-system tests that partially comprise the suite with the Core i9-9900KS (CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cache and Memory, and Memory Bandwidth). All of the scores reported below were taken with the CPU running at its default settings, with 16GB of DDR4 RAM running at 2,666MHz, in dual-channel mode, on the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Master motherboard.

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 Intel Core i9-9900KS
Processor Arithmetic
Intel Core i9-9900KS

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 Intel Core i9-9900KS
Memory Bandwidth
Intel Core i9-9900KS
Cache And Memory

The Core i9-9900KS put up an aggregate CPU score in the Processor Arithmetic test of over 343GOPS, which puts it a few notches ahead of the vanilla Core i9-9900K and the i9-9900KF. The Core i9-9900Ks was similarly ahead of the K and KF in the Multi-Media benchmark, in which it scored over 949.2MPix/s. Memory Bandwidth was north of 26GB/s and the Cache and Memory Latency benchmark showns the 9900KS finishing right in-line with the other Core i9-9900s.

Synthetic CPU Testing

In the GeekBench test, we're stressing only the CPU cores in a system (not graphics or GPU architecture), with both single and multi-threaded workloads. The tests are comprised of encryption processing, image compression, HTML5 parsing, physics calculations and other general purpose compute processing workloads.

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The Core i9-9900KS finishes right about in the middle of the pack in Geekbench's multi-threaded tests, but its high clocks easily make it the fastest 8-core processor in the stack and it nearly catches the 12-core Threadripper 2920X. In the single-threaded benchmark, however, the Core i9-9900KS takes the pole position, outgunning the Core i9-9900K by over 100 points.
PCMark 10
System Level Benchmark
Next, up we have some full-system testing with PCMark. We're reporting all test results from the PCMark 10 benchmark suite, including the Essentials, Productivity, Digital Content Creation and and total PCMark score. The Essentials test covers workloads like web browsing, video conferencing and app start-up times, while Productivity tests everyday office apps from spreadsheets to word processing. Finally, the Digital Content Creation test evaluates performance of a machine with respect to photo and video editing, as well as rendering and visualization.

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The Core i9-9900KS took top honors in the PCMark 10 benchmark, at least in terms of the overall score. The 9900KS wasn't able to sweep all of the other processors in the individual sub-tests, because the parts of the Content Creation and Essentials tests make use of the additional cache and processing resources in higher-core count processors, but it performed strong enough throughout to end up in the lead overall.

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