What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts
This is where you can fast forward to the final section of the review, and get a quick recap and points on the Core i9-9900K.
Performance Advantage: The 4.7GHz all core turbo, 5GHz dual-core turbo, and the high core count of the 9900K allow it to dominate any other consumer CPU. When I say consumer, I don't include high-end desktops such as X-series Intel CPUs and AMD's ThreadRipper line, but it's pretty clear that the 9900K obliterates Intel's X-series 8-core 16-thread CPU, the 7820X, in almost everything. We have no doubt that the 1920X ThreadRipper CPU would outdo the 9900K in core-based benchmarks, but in this case, for your normal consumer, the 9900K's competition is mainly other desktop CPUs.
"STIM": Intel's marketing aside, the removal of paste based thermal interface material for solder based material was one of the best surprise moves Intel made with the 9900K. We can also confirm the other 9th generation SKUs launched today also have the same STIM.
Sandy Bridge Level Overclocking : The CPU does a 4.7Ghz all core turbo hovering at 50C with an AVX load and a Vcore of 1.23v, so it's safe to say we expected it to overclock to 5GHz with ease. Even just enabling MCE in the BIOS landed us all core 5GHz, but tuning voltage down, we were Intel Burn Test AVX stable at 5GHz (no offset) at 1.25v and not throttling. We were able to go up to 5.2GHz with ease and 1.33v, which is very good. Surprise, surprise, anyone want to guess the last generation Intel soldered their mainstream consumer CPUs? (Hint, it's mentioned above)
Power: Power consumption was high, higher than what we expect from a 95W CPU, but we recently saw the same thing happen. What we see here seems to be in line with the AMD PBOD feature that was enabled in most X470 motherboards.
It appears that Intel just did the same thing, give the motherboard vendors a nudge towards not restricting power. Intel's own XTU showed TDP at stock around 115W, and we measured 144W power pull at the 8-pin power connector, so if we add in VRM losses around 15% (kind of a high estimate I would think), we get about 122.4W output to the CPU. That's still 25W and around 25% above rated TDP, so either AVX isn't included in Intel's TDP advertisement, or board vendors or Intel are getting extra performance out. Just be ready to buy a decent PSU if you are going to OC, and don't cheap out on a motherboard if you are going to OC.
The 9900K is the fastest gaming CPU we have in the charts, and in many cases it could be the fastest 8-core processor in existence, beating both Intel's HEDT 8-core and AMD's top 8-core CPU. The massive frequency gains and IPC advantage the 9900K has allows it to beat out the 2700X, and the switch back to a ring bus and frequency advantage allows it to beat out the 7820X in many areas easily.
The CPU itself is a high-end beast, but as we have seen, performance isn't free. It requires power, and in this case, it's running a bit power hungry, sort of how many cars never reach their advertised MPGs. It also runs pretty hot when it's overclocked beyond 5GHz, so you will not only require a strong VRM on a pricey motherboard to properly overclock the CPU, you will also need high-end cooling. Either way, we are very impressed with what Intel was able to push out to counter the threat AMD poses, and in this case, they did a solid job and went over the top with overclocking capabilities.
The Intel i9-9900K not only dominates games, it also takes back the fastest 8-core crown from AMD and brings back the good old days of super easy 5GHz+ overclocks we miss from the days of Sandy Bridge.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Overall TweakTown Rating||94%|
The Bottom Line: The Intel i9-9900K not only dominates games, it also takes back the fastest 8-core crown from AMD and brings back the good old days of super easy 5GHz+ overclocks we miss from the days of Sandy Bridge.
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