Intel says the i9-9900K is the ‘best gaming processor in the world’

An excited Intel held a livestream earlier this morning to formally introduce its initial 9th generation Core processors consisting of three SKUs: Core i9-9900K, Core i7-9700K, and Core i5-9600K. Intel cranked the hype dial to 11, stating that it's "breaking the laws of physics to bring you these parts" and trumpeting the Core i9-9900K as "the best gaming processor in the world, period."

Even the 9th generation designation is a sign of Intel's excitement (or marketing savvy, you decide). Despite the nomenclature, these new CPUs are still built on a 14-nanometer manufacturing process, albeit optimized (14nm++), serving as sort of a stopgap until 10nm Cannon Lake chips arrive in volume at the end of next year.

Nevertheless, Intel's enthusiasm is understandable. The Core i9-9900K and Core i7-9700K are Intel's first mainstream 8-core processors. These SKUs finally bring core-count parity with AMD's first and second generation 8-core Ryzen CPUs in the mainstream space.

As previously rumored, the Core i9-9900K supports Hyper Threading while the Core i7-9700K does not. Here's how the specs break down:

  • Core i9-9900K: 8C16T, 3.6GHz to 5GHz, 16MB cache, 95W TDP
  • Core i7-9700K: 8C8T, 3.6GHz to 4.9GHz, 12MB cache, 95W TDP
  • Core i5-9600K: 6C6T, 3.7GHz to 4.6GHz, 9MB cache, 95W TDP

Those boost clocks are all single-score speeds. All three SKUs have the same TDP, are unlocked for easier overclocking, and use solder underneath the integrated heatspreader. That latter point is welcome news for enthusiasts who have criticized Intel for using lower quality grease for the past few generations. Some users have taken to ripping off the IHS, a process known as delidding, to replace Intel's thermal interface material with liquid metal for better temps. Switching to solder should make the delicate process of delidding less appealing on these new chips.

So, these new 9th generation parts bring more cores (at the upper end), better cooling (in theory), and faster clockspeeds compared to Intel's 8th generation lineup. What about cost?

Intel's pricing for trays of 1,000 CPUs comes in at $488 for the Core i9-9900K, $374 for the Core i7-9700K, and $262 for the Core i5-9600K. Since those prices are for bulk orders, street pricing will likely end up a little higher. B&H Photo, for example, has the Core i9-9900K listed at $529.99, the Core i7-9700K at $399, and the Core i5-9600K at $279.99.

We don't see the new chips listed on Amazon or Newegg just yet, but preorders open today, with availability starting on October 19.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).