Here is where you can fast forward to the final section of the review and get a quick recap and points on the Intel Core i9-9900KS.
Fastest Gaming CPU: AMD's Ryzen 9 3900X did close in on the lead of the 9900K, and Intel's answer was to turbo boost their 9900K and find a bunch that can do 5GHz on all cores. The 9900KS seals the deal with Intel having the best gaming CPU, although you also need a nice GPU to take full advantage of it, as we used the NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti.
Increases in Applications Too: The all-core Turbo is also very useful in applications where all cores are utilized. Even in mixed-core usage we see boosts, and we don't see any losses in single core performance.
Overclocking: The 9900KS is basically a highly binned 9900K, and that means the silicon in there is better at reaching high clocks. So, if you had dreams of a 5.2GHz+ 9900K, you might want to buy a 9900KS instead as it will give you the best chance at that.
Price: While the price is a bit high at $513, we think it's actually a fair price for the 9900KS. At the $500 price point, if what you mostly do is game, then it's a better buy than the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X.
Temperatures and Power: Driving high clocks up requires more power, and when you have more power you have more heat, and in a package that is so small compared to the high TDP Skylake-X CPUs you get very high temperatures. At stock with the default voltage, which we think is a bit high to keep things stable, we were hitting around 80C full load with our H150i Pro, but when we overclocked and controlled voltage we were hitting about the same temperatures.
Intel really wants to make sure that the line of ascension for the best gaming CPU stays with them, and the 9900KS does this, so for now Intel still keeps everything in the family. If there was some sort of small margin between the 9900K and 3900X, that small margin is now much bigger. It's also useful in certain applications like HandBrake where mixed usage might trigger different Turbo levels, but now we know exactly what we will get.
Now, this CPU is going to require not only a very nice all-in-one or high-end air cooler for even stock usage, but also a motherboard with very good VRMs. We have heard reports of some decent Z390 motherboards not handling the CPU and causing throttling, although we didn't see that since the Z390 Aorus Xtreme has one of the best VRMs, although cheaper models like the Master should handle it just nice.
We highly suggest you invest a good amount of time and money into the system ecosystem if you choose the 9900KS, but in the end, you can create the fastest gaming PC in the world.
The Bottom Line
If you are looking to build the fastest gaming system in the world, Intel's Core i9-9900KS will get that job done quite easily, although it will cost you.
- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [The CPU and Test Setup]
- Page 3 [CINEBENCH, wPrime, and AIDA64]
- Page 4 [Blender, Handbrake, ScienceMark, and SuperPI]
- Page 5 [UNIGINE and 3DMark]
- Page 6 [Gaming]
- Page 7 [Overclocking and Power Consumption]
- Page 8 [What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts]