Intel’s Core i9-9900KS special edition CPU launches October 30 for $513

(Image credit: Intel)

The world's best CPU for gaming, as Intel describes its Core i9-9900KS, is headed to retail shelves on October 30, 2019, with a recommended customer price of $513. 

Intel's careful wording suggests the $513 figure is not the cost per chip when ordering 1,000-unit trays, as vendors like Newegg and Amazon are prone to do. That's why street prices can sometimes be a little bit higher than a chip's announced price. Actual consumer pricing might still differ by a few bucks, but we expect it will be close, if not spot on.

The i9-9900KS was unveiled at Computex earlier this year. It's a special edition processor that is essentially a binned version of the i9-9900K, but with a higher thermal design power (TDP) rating and faster clocks. Specifically, the i9-9900KS has a 4GHz base clock and up to a 5GHz all-core boost clock, whereas the i9-9900K features a 3.6GHz base clock and only boosts up to 5GHz on two of the eight cores and 4.7GHz on all cores.

Otherwise, the i9-9900KS shares the same DNA as the regular i9-9900K. Both are based on Intel's Coffee Lake architecture built on a 3rd generation enhanced 14nm++ manufacturing process, both sport eight physical cores and 16 threads, and both wield 16MB of L3 cache.

"Intel has raised the bar for desktop gaming with the new 9th gen Intel Core i9-9900KS Special Edition processor. Based on the 9th gen Intel Core i9-9900K architecture, it's the world’s best gaming desktop processor made even better and created specifically for extreme gamers who want the most performance possible. This processor demonstrates another innovation milestone for Intel, following last year's limited edition 8th gen Intel Core i7-8086K," said Frank Soqui, Intel vice president and general manager of the desktop, workstation and channel group.

Since these are cherry-picked slices of silicon, users could potentially see better overclocking performance compared to the regular i9-9900K. A lot of factors go into that, though, including your motherboard, cooling, expertise, and luck of the draw.

Cooling will be particularly important for buyers who snag one of these chips. At 127W TDP, the i9-9900KS draws considerably more power than the i9-9900K, which is rated at 95W. It's worth noting that the i9-9900K can exceed its TDP under heavy workloads, depending on the motherboard and BIOS, and the same could be true of the i9-9900KS.

All that aside, the i9-9900KS is poised to be a powerhouse for gaming and beyond. As a special edition processor, Intel says it will be available for a limited time.

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).