Intel is reportedly prepping a new round of 9000 series processors culminating in the Core i9-9900K, an 8-core/16-thread chip that figures to be the chipmaker's most powerful mainstream CPU to date.
The distinction there is on "mainstream," as Intel's product stack already extends well past eight cores. However, those premium parts fall into the high end desktop (HEDT) category (just like AMD's Threadripper family), with prices that reflect the enthusiast target audience. The Core i9-7980XE, for example, boasts 18 cores and 36 threads, and costs nearly $2,000 (opens in new tab).
According to WCCFTech, Intel is readying at least three new mainstream parts. They include:
- Core i9-9900K: 8 cores / 16 threads
- Core i7-9700K: 6 cores / 12 threads
- Core i5-9600K: 6 cores / 6 threads
All three would have an unlocked multiplier, as designated by the "K" in the model name, with a new Z390 chipset launching alongside the parts.
There is a bit of mystery surrounding Z390, mostly because there are only rumors and speculation to go on at the moment. A diagram on Intel's website originally pointed to Z390 introducing integrated wireless 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0 functionality, along with support for up to six USB 3.1 Gen2 ports. However, the diagram was later removed. Since then, some have speculated that Intel is simply rebranding its existing Z370 chipset as Z390 with only some tweaks to the power delivery, and no new features. We'll have to wait and see.
Either way, it's interesting that Intel is finally bringing an 8-core processor to the mainstream market, assuming the Core i9-9900K is real. For now, and since the release of Ryzen, only AMD has offered 8-core/16-thread processors to mainstream buyers. It's not an all-out core war between Intel and AMD, but it's certainly a skirmish of sorts. We just wish developers would start fully utilizing all these cores and threads across the board.