Today's Best Tech Deals
Picked by PCWorld's Editors
Top Deals On Great Products
Picked by Techconnect's Editors
- Just what does 9th-gen even mean?
- STIM and More Cores!
- To MCE or not?
- Core i9-9900K 3D Modelling Performance
- Core i9-9900K Encoding and Video Editing Performance
- Core i9-9900K Compression Performance
- Core i9-9900K Encryption Performance
- ”World’s best gaming CPU?”
- Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation Performance
Core i9-9900K Performance Analysis
To close out our performance testing, we like to use Cinebench R15 and increase the load from one thread to many on the various CPUs. First up is the Core i9-9900K vs. the Core i7-8700K. The results clearly show the 6-core Core i7-8700K can’t hang with the new Core i9-9900K at any level.
One problem with the chart above is you can’t get a feel for the scale of the performance difference, so we ran the numbers for you. As you can see, at low thread loads, the Core i9 is running at higher clocks than the Core i7, with 7 percent to 10 percent more performance. Where the Core i9 really opens up a Costco pallet’s worth of oomph is beyond 8 threads.
This isn’t about blue-on-blue, though. Intel is clearly aiming AMD, so let’s see how the Ryzen compares. As you can see below, the Core i9 gives up no quarter.
As we did above, let’s how that translates into percent increase of a Core i9-9900K over a Ryzen 7 2700X. One weakness of the Ryzen 7 2700X has always been on lighter loads. Where the Core i9 only has a 7- to 10-percent bump over the Core i7, it’s into the double digits with Ryzen 7 2700X. It’s basically 20 percent faster at all loads up until 11 or more threads. On stock settings, the Core i9 falls back to about 4.3GHz to 4.2GHz, which makes it closer.
But that brings us back to the original thorny question of MCE. MCE is available on motherboards as cheap as $130. One could argue that board may push it as hard as the pricey Maximus XI Hero we’re using here but if you have a decent motherboard, it’s likely you’ll get a decent bump out of MCE. And with MCE on, as you see below, the Core i9-9900K is simply a monster.
Conclusion: Core i9-9900K is actually worth it
We’ll be honest, we were pretty skeptical of Intel’s Core i9-9900K. After all, with an 8-core Ryzen 7 1700X at $329 (and $300 on the street), which includes a decent cooler, what’s Intel thinking, pushing an 8-core Core i9 chip for $488 ($529 on the street) without a cooler?
Sure, we accepted the Core i9 would be faster. After all, it’s 8 cores with a Turbo Boost of 5GHz. But damn, $529? Once you toss in a decent cooler, you’re looking at $580. The price differential is enough to buy a decent graphics card, a lot of RAM, or a big SSD.
But seen in the light of our performance testing, we can now say the Core i9-9900K is definitely worth the stretch for performance fiends. The Core i9-9900K is simply a monster of a CPU that can easily claim the title of being the fastest mainstream CPU and the fastest gaming CPU. That’s just not something that comes cheap.