Intel i9-9900k Review

If you think about it, modern processors aren’t all that exciting in this time and age. Speed bumps don’t thrill us further, and we’ve become nonchalant about adding more cores. Yet we are in a period where computers simply provide us with a lot of processing power that would possibly surprise the previous generations.

We’re also in a time where there are two competitive companies fighting for that top spot in the market, giving everyone of us great computers, devices, and accessories that are worth investing in. One of the said companies is Intel, a company that has made a name in the processor world.

Their 9th generation Core processors, also known as the Coffee Lake Refresh, depicts another step forward in their continuous battle for supremacy in the industry. The Intel 9th Generation i9-9900k processor is the CPU for every gamer out there. It is among the top models in Intel’s S Series and is designed for speed with a total of eight cores.

With the presence of hyperthreading, the ability to split work on a single core to two portions, is possible. This will double into 16 threads, where each can work adequately on different tasks.

Intel i9-9900k Review

The Intel i9-9900K makes use of the same 14nm ++ fabrication process just like the Coffee Lake; and while its name, Coffee Lake Refresh, has only been utilized as a form of shorthand, it shows that the 9th Generation CPUs don’t really offer new features to the party.

It’s generally safe to say that the company has acquired the building blocks utilized within Skylake, Coffee Lake, and Kaby Lake, and has simply affixed a couple of CPU cores within the exterior of the Coffee Lake.

The company hasn’t really given out further details about the die area or transistor count in recent CPU generations; however, a lot of Coffee Lakes were clearly delidded that all of us can see that there is a lot of room to expand the size of its silicon die.

The new series chips from Intel are manufactured using the company’s 14nm ++ node, sports unlocked ratio multipliers that allow for easier overclocking, has built-in UHD 630 graphics engines, and it also boasts support for dual channel DDR4 2666 memory. Intel also responds to the boosting RAM density by increasing the memory capacity support, going up to a total of 128GB.

The eight core or sixteen threads processor has a 95-Watt TDP which is generally an engineering sample provided by Intel. Its base clock frequency is 3.6GHz with a Turbo of 5.0GHz on both cores, as well as an all-core Turbo that is 4700MHz. It also makes use of the Socket LGA-1151 so there’s basically a lot of pin contact points available there.

The company continues using the classic socket mounting system that you surely know of from the Series 100 and Series 200 platforms. One of the advantages here is that you can just reuse your previous cooler since its socket mounting is still the same.

STIM – Solder Thermal Interface Material

This brings us to the second major improvement of this 9th generation product. Intel has included this specific feature called the STIM which is a layer of metal that is set right at the top of the silicon chip which conducts heat. As the theory goes, it conducts heat more excellently compared to the thermal glue that the company utilized for their previous processors under the metallic heat spreader covering and protecting the chip.

There are some overclockers who tend to get frustrated by not being able to cool such chips, so they attempted to do something quite perilous called the delidding technique. It involves the removal of the metal heat spreader that is necessary for protecting the processor. They would remove the thermal conductor before attaching a heatsink right to the chip.

Part of the appeal and charm of the 9th Generation S series, together with similar processors, is that they are already unlocked. This means that you can boost the speed of the processor to work and run faster with the help of a few tweaks on BIOS. In the low and mid end processors, the processor is set to only run at a fixed speed.

When unlocked, the processor will allow you to boost the speed by increasing the system bus’ pace; by changing the multiplier, the processor reproduces it by establishing the speed of each core processor.

The Intel i9-9900k has a maximum memory size of 128GB while there are a total of 2 memory channels available. 4K support available is 60Hz and its maximum resolution is 4096 x 2304 @ 60 Hz. The i9-9900k is also supported by the DDR4 2666 and a 64GB graphics video for the maximum memory.

The system clock of the Intel i9-9900k runs at 100 MHz and the multiplier may vary between 8x and 50x. This results in the speed range to go from 800MHz up to 5GHz. Overclocking combines these two changes to increase the power’s voltage and the system’s overall performance.

Product Features

Coffee Lake Refresh – Knowledge from the GPU Teams

The 9th gen Core family of Intel is established around the platform Coffee Lake, and since their processors didn’t really undergo any microarchitectural adjustments, they are considered refreshes of the company’s 8th generation parts yet with the product stack exhibited in a slightly different manner.

The i9-9900k also comes with the most thread count when we speak of the whole lineup Coffee Lake Refresh at 16; and this must translate to the hyperthreading performance.

Built-In Graphics

For some generations, one thing that the company has not focused much on is the built-in graphics. Specifically, this was since Broadwell, to be exact. All of the chips that have been announced and utilized for the 9th Gen family makes use of the same GT2 setup as the 8th Gen which includes the new parts of the Core i9.

These officially come under the 8 + 2 designation. The company believes that while having a type of built-in graphics, overclockable and high-end processors are still a highly valuable addition to the platform. Its graphics will still be referred to as the UHD Graphics – 630, and will also utilize the same drivers as what the 8th generation family has used.

Latest Z390 Chipset

Paired up with the latest i9-9900k is the new Z390 chipset from Intel. For the most part, the only element that has been altered is the USB 3.1 2nd generation with 10Gbps speed; everything else is generally the same except for its wireless integration.

What’s great is the backward compatibility with much older motherboards, and we really consider this as great news. Intel stated that the Z370 motherboards should completely support the latest 9th Gen CPUs.

Octa-Core + STIM

This high-end i9-9900K CPU FROM Intel sports a total of eight cores that include hyperthreading. The company did  not just put together two additional cores to the Product, but they also brought back the STIM or soldered thermal interface material.

Compatible with Current and Existing Motherboards

Compared to other processors, you won’t have to bother with having to spend tons of money for a new motherboard just to be able to install the i9 chip. The i9-9900k will be completely compatible with the current Z370 boards.

What’s new with the Z390 platform is that it has the USB 3.1 2nd Gen support for the 10Gbps data transfer speeds via classic full-sized USB ports. It also features a built-in 802.11ac, Wi-Fi 5 for the gigabit wireless speed.

Intel Optane

Intel Optane is a smart technology that further improves the responsiveness of your computer. It goes through your device’s frequently used files like documents, videos, photos, as well as applications quickly, then instantly remembers them once you power off. This allows you to create, produce, and game with less waiting time.

Intel Clear Video Technology

The Intel i9-9900K supports the ICVT or Intel Clear Video Technology – a suite of photo processing and decode technologies that is integrated to the process graphics. This enhances the video playback while delivering a cleaner, sharper image that is more natural and accurate. It also provides more vivid and crisp colors, as well as a stable video picture.

Eligible for Intel vPro Technology

Intel vPro Technology provides security to the processor and allows for management capabilities. This feature addresses four critical factors of IT security which include identity and website access point protection, threat management, confidential data protection, as well as local & remote monitoring.

Intel Virtualization Technology

This allows one hardware platform to virtually operate as multiple platforms. The limited downtime allows for improved management. It also maintains productivity by separating computing activities in portions.

Intel Identity Protection Technology

The Identity Protection Technology from Intel is the processor’s integrated security token that helps provide a simple, tamper-resistant procedure to keep your customer and business data protected against fraud and threats.

This technology offers a hardware-based proof of a user’s PC to network services, websites, and financial institutions; it provides verification that a user is not malware attempting to gain access. This can be a key feature in two-factor authentication solutions to keep your information secure in websites and business logins.

Intel Turbo Boost

The Turbo Boost Technology takes advantage of power and thermal headroom to increase the processor’s frequency whenever it is necessary. This results in the improved speed whenever you need this; and when you don’t, it provides you with energy efficiency.

Intel Transactional Synchronization Extensions – New Instructions

Transactional Synchronization Extensions – New Instructions or TSX-NI in the Intel i9-9900K is a technology that concentrates on multi-threaded performance scaling. With improved lock control in software, parallel operations become more effective.

Intel Trusted Execution Technology

The Trusted Execution technology is a set of versatile hardware extensions to Intel chipsets and processors that improves the security capabilities of digital office platform. It provides an environment for running applications within your own space since it is protected from every other software in the system.

Specifications

Using the Product

Test System

The recent processors from Intel is considered as a step behind the high core count, increased multithreading performance that AMD has released; yet Intel’s i9-9900K alters all of that.

Temperatures

One thing that we were really excited about with the i9-9900K from Intel is that it features a soldered IHS or integrated heat spreader. It is a brand new solder based thermal interface element that has greatly helped in heat dissipation. This all aids to the CPU running cooler than previous gen CPUs would have. The CPU sat at around 60 degres celcius and was nice and stable at the temperature.

Even if the 9900k features one of the biggest specs that we have seen on Intel’s mainstream processors, it still economically savors power as Intel’s previous generation of chips. Reintroducing the soldered heat spreaders have also amounted to one of the company’s coolest and best running chips in the years.

Overclocking

One of the key points of the i9-9900K’s is its power when it comes to overclocking and it surely proved to be a very impressive CPU for overclocking, largely due to its solder TIM or STIM.

The company has pushed the 9000 series far and has made them extremely impressive in many ways; they sharpened and further developed the Turbos as well, which is really good in our opinion.

Provided that you have adequate cooling in your rig and a suitable motherboard there should be no problems with you reaching the 5GHz point.

If you have all the cores set at 5000 MHz plus threaded applications, that is where you will see its advantages. All in all, the Intel i9-9900K provides you with good performance when it comes to overclocking so, a thumbs up for Intel when it comes to this.

Overall Performance

When it comes to its overall performance, we are sure to give Intel i9-9900K the crown as the fastest gaming processor available in the market today. It also proves to be a very capable product in the threaded workload that other processors (specifically AMD’s Ryzen) previously dominated.

In the end, the Intel i9-9900K provides all of us with outstanding performance in a variety of tasks. If you’re the type of person who regularly runs heavily threaded tasks or applications, then we think that it’s really worth paying the premium for. Though it would be better to step up to a more suitable platform if you are in need of real workstation kinds of features.

Based on all of the tests that we made using the i9-9900K, we can definitely say that this CPU from Intel is definitely worth it for every performance enthusiast. The i9-9900K is generally a monster of a CPU that can readily claim the spot of being the fastest and most efficient mainstream product, as well as the fastest gaming CPU in the market. So even if it is categorized on the more pricier products, it is definitely worth noting and investing in due to its performance.

Conclusion

Intel may be a bit late when it comes to joining in the industry with their very first mainstream octa core processor, but their i9-9900K is seriously a very remarkable debut. The intense enhancement in the processing power of this i9-9900K from Intel cannot be understated, and the CPU will soon be a must for every video editor, Photoshop user, and other creatives who require excellent performance.

The CPU answers to a couple of requests from the community of enthusiasts. It features more cores, effective Solder TIM / STIM, and much higher clock rates. There’s obviously no doubt that the company’s 9th Generation i9-9900K is a very robust and powerful chip. It will be able to breeze through a variety of tasks compared to other processors that are out in the market; plus, it is also significantly faster compared to the older Intel models.

Also, the Intel i9-9900K is a sure powerhouse when it comes to Photoshop and video rendering at this price range; and if you’re a power-crazy individual, then this specific processor is the best choice for all your needs and requisites. We can also say that this product is the best of all worlds and it is definitely the winner today at a very significant price. The general Core 9000 series exhibits that any processor coming from this collection provides users with outstanding results because of their increased clock frequency. Six cores is today’s new four cores, but eight is more future-proof. We appreciate that the i9-9900K is integrated with the SMT / hyperthreading; plus, it also showed the advantages of it in an instant.

To conclude, the functionality and stability of this product has been displayed through our random tests, and we were quite surprised to see that it performed better than what we expected. It’s great for gaming, and it also provides you with that extra bite close to the levels of HEDT. So if you want to have an high-end level of performance to your mainstream desktop computer, then you’ll surely get the best out of the Intel i9-9900K.

Where to Buy

You can purchase the Intel i9 9900k for around $899 AUD from your local PC retailer. For more information head on over to the official Intel product page.

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4.9
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