Since the inception of the Core Series of processors, the i7 was the flagship of Intel’s line of desktop processors. Since the first generation, the top tier i7 was always a quad core chip with hyper-threading. That was until June 2017 when the rumors floating around reddit and forums everywhere became a reality with the release of the first Core i9 Processors with Skylake X and the i9 7900x. However, this was on Intel’s enthusiast platform and came with a pretty hefty premium. The 7900x was the cheapest of the i9 processors. This is a 10 core, 20 thread beast that at launch, ran you about $1,000. Shortly after that, In August of 2017, Intel finally gave us a consumer processor with more than 4 cores. The i7 8700k was Intel’s first consumer hex core processor. This 6 core, 12 thread processor was sold out everywhere, for months after its launch. It was one of the best generational performance increases since the launch of the first generation i7 920 in November of 2008.
On October 8th of 2018, Intel made waves again with the announcement of their first ever consumer grade i9 processor. We got our first look at the i9 9900k in New York, at Intel’s fall desktop launch event. The 9900k is an 8 core, 16 thread processor with 16 MB if cache and up to 40 PCIe lanes. Its advertised as Intel’s first processor capable of 5.0 GHz right out of the box. Its compatible with all 300 series motherboards, including Intel’s new Z390 Chipset. Intel has also switched to what they call STIM, solder thermal interface material. In short, they are no longer using a tradition TIM or thermal interface material between the die and heat spreader. Instead, the heat spreader on the 9th generation processors are now soldered to the dye. This is supposed to increase thermal conductivity. But will it? Seeing the 9th generation and 8th generation are both on the same architecture, is it worth an upgrade to get two additional core?
Then, we also have to take into consideration the fact that AMD is finally giving Intel some serious competition with their second generation of Ryzen processors like the 2700x. Its pretty well known that Intel has AMD beat on IPC, in the overwhelming majority of games and Adobe apps such as Premier Pro. However, AMD is no slouch at all and does have one area in which they shine. That is price to performance. Especially when the i9 9900k is over $200 more than its AMD counterpart, the R7 2700x. So, what exactly is the benefits of choosing the i9 9900k over the 2700x, aside for Intel Optane support? We tested the 9900k head to head with the R7 2700x to answer that question, and many more. We’ve also included results from the i7 8700k, to see if its worth upgrading to the 9th generation, if you are already on the 8th. So, lets see how these three processors compared
Specifications and Features
- Product Collection 9th Generation Intel® Core™ i9 Processors
- Code Name Products formerly Coffee Lake
- Vertical Segment Desktop
- Processor Number i9-9900K
- Status Launched
- Launch Date Q4’18
- Lithography 14 nm
- Recommended Customer Price $488.00 – $499.00
- Use Conditions PC/Client/Tablet
- # of Cores 8
- # of Threads 16
- Processor Base Frequency 3.60 GHz
- Max Turbo Frequency 5.00 GHz
- Cache16 MB SmartCache
- Bus Speed 8 GT/s DMI3
- TDP 95 W
- Embedded Options Available No
- Datasheet View now
- Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type) 64 GB
- Memory Types DDR4-2666
- Max # of Memory Channels2
- Max Memory Bandwidth41.6 GB/s
- ECC Memory Supported ‡No
- Processor Graphics ‡Intel® UHD Graphics 630
- Graphics Base Frequency 350 MHz
- Graphics Max Dynamic Frequency1.20 GHz
- Graphics Video Max Memory 64 GB
- 4K Support Yes, at 60Hz
- Max Resolution (HDMI 1.4) ‡4096×2304@24Hz
- Max Resolution (DP) ‡4096×2304@60Hz
- Max Resolution (eDP – Integrated Flat Panel) ‡4096×2304@60Hz
- DirectX* Support 12
- OpenGL* Support 4.5
- Intel® Quick Sync Video Yes
- Intel® InTru™ 3D Technology Yes
- Intel® Clear Video HD Technology Yes
- Intel® Clear Video Technology Yes
- # of Displays Supported ‡3
- Device ID 0x3E98
- Scalability 1S Only
- PCI Express Revision 3.0
- PCI Express Configurations ‡Up to 1×16, 2×8, 1×8+2×4
- Max # of PCI Express Lanes 16
- Sockets Supported FCLGA1151
- Max CPU Configuration 1
- Thermal Solution Specification PCG 2015D (130W)
- TJUNCTION 100°C
- Package Size 37.5mm x 37.5mm
- Intel® Optane™ Memory Supported ‡Yes
- Intel® Turbo Boost Technology ‡2.0
- Intel® vPro™ Platform Eligibility ‡Yes
- Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology ‡Yes
- Intel® Virtualization Technology (VT-x) ‡Yes
- Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d) ‡Yes
- Intel® TSX-NI Yes
- Intel® 64 ‡Yes
- Instruction Set 64-bit
- Instruction Set Extensions Intel® SSE4.1, Intel® SSE4.2, Intel® AVX2
- Idle States Yes
- Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology Yes
- Thermal Monitoring Technologies Yes
- Intel® Identity Protection Technology ‡Yes
- Intel® Stable Image Platform Program (SIPP) Yes
Security & Reliability
- Intel® AES New Instructions Yes
- Secure Key Yes
- Intel® Software Guard Extensions (Intel® SGX) Yes
- Intel® Memory Protection Extensions (Intel® MPX)Yes
- Intel® OS Guard Yes
- Intel® Trusted Execution Technology ‡Yes
- Execute Disable Bit ‡Yes
- Intel® Boot Guard Yes
Z390 Chipset Specifications
Launch Date Q4’18
Bus Speed 8 MHz DMI3
TDP 6.0 W
Supports Overclocking 1
Embedded Options Available No
# of DIMMs per channel 2
# of Displays Supported ‡ 3
PCI Express Revision 3.0
PCI Express Configurations ‡ x1, x2, x4
Max # of PCI Express Lanes 24
# of USB Ports 14
USB Revision 3.1/2.0
Max # of SATA 6.0 Gb/s Ports 6
Integrated LAN Integrated MAC
Integrated Wifi Intel® Wireless-AC MAC
Supported Processor PCI Express Port Revision 3.00
Supported Processor PCI Express Port Configurations 1×16 or 2×8 or 1×8+2×4
Intel® Optane™ Memory Supported ‡ Yes
Intel® vPro Technology ‡ No
Intel® ME Firmware Version 12
Intel® HD Audio Technology Yes
Intel® Rapid Storage Technology
Intel® Rapid Storage Technology provides protection, performance, and expand-ability for desktop and mobile platforms. Whether using one or multiple hard drives, users can take advantage of enhanced performance and lower power consumption. When using more than one drive the user can have additional protection against data loss in the event of hard drive failure. Successor to Intel® Matrix Storage Technology.
Intel® Rapid Storage Technology for PCI Storage 1.00
Intel® Smart Sound Technology Yes
Intel® Platform Trust Technology (Intel® PTT) Yes
Security & Reliability
Intel® Boot Guard Yes
For the retail packaging, Intel switched it up from their tradition box like previous generations. Instead, they went with a dodecahedron shaped box, much like the dice used in Dungeons and Dragons. Unfortunately, as ours was an engineering sample, not retail, we received a different box. Although not as unique as the dodecahedron retail box, it’s still unique, especially for retail samples. In the past, engineering samples arrived in a small, unmarked black box, just large enough to fit the processor. However, with the 9900k, Intel got fancy.
Our engineering sample came is a very attractive black box with a soft touch feel to it. The 9th Gen and Core i9 Unlocked branding cover the majority of the front of the box along with the Intel logo on the top right. Aside from that, there are no other markings on the outside of the box. Once the box was open, there is a pentagon shape with the Core i9 unlocked and the 9th Gen branding, as well as the Intel logo. It has the same color scheme as the retail packaging. Lifting up the cardboard pentagram revealed the i9 9900k in all its glory.Being an engineering sample, the IHS doesn’t have the model number of the chip printed on it. Instead, it has Intel Confidential across the top with NA printed below. The processor does have the base frequency, in this case, 3.60 GHz, as well as the batch number of the processor. As cool as the engineering sample packaging was, its nothing compared to whats in the box.
A Closer Look at the Core i9 9900k
The Core i9 9900k looks like any other consumer grade desktop processor released in recent years. It slots into the same LGA 1151 socket introduced with the 6th generation and the Z170 chipset. The 9th generation is based of Intel’s 14 NM++ process and is a refresh of the 8th generations coffee lake architecture. The 9900k is the second time coffee lake made waves in the enthusiast community. The first being the release if Intel’s first consumer grade hex core processor with the i7 8700k last August. Now, with the release of the 9900k, Intel not only brings us their first consumer grade i9 processor, buts its also their first consumer grade octa core processor. Like the 8700k, the 9900k has a 95 watt TDP and a bus speed of 8 GT/s, or Gigatransfers per second and has a T Junction of 100°c. However, where the 8700k has 12 MB of Intel smart cache, the 9900k has 16 MB of Intel smart cache. The base frequency of the i9 9900k is 3.6 GHz. This is slightly slower than the 3.7 GHz base clock of both the i7 8700k and the R7 2700x. Both of those processors have the same base clock of 3.7 GHz. The i9 9900k does have a slight advantage over its predecessor when it comes to boost clocks, as well as its competitor. The R7 2700x advertises a boost clock speed of 4.3 GHz. The 8700k has a boost clock of 4.7 GHz where the i9 9900k advertises a boost clock speed of 5 GHz.
The 9900k is advertised as the first processor to hit 5 GHz right out of the box. If you go by the Intel Ark page for the 9900k, it states that the 9900k can boost to 5 GHz on only one core. However, at the launch event, they stated it would boost to 5 GHz on two cores. As my testing showed, the 9900k will boost to 5 GHz on two cores, as long as it doesn’t reach its thermal limit. That being said, in almost all scenarios, the i9 9900k boosted to 4.7 GHz on all 8 cores with no issues.
The i9 9900k is capable of supporting up to 64 GB of DDR4-2666 in dual channel mode. It’s a common misconception by many people that this means that 2666 is the max memory speed this chip handle. That is just incorrect. This just means the processor has been tested and guaranteed to work with memory up to at least that speed. The 9900k has a max memory bandwidth if 41.6 GB/s. Even though we’re finally getting higher core count chips, the i9 9900k is on the consumer platform. Sadly, this means no ECC support for the memory. This is where I have to give a check for the 2700x as all Ryzen processors do support ECC memory. Regardless, your average consumer and or gamer could care less about ECC support.
Seeing the i9 9900k is on the consumer platform, its also the first octa-core processor Intel has released with on board graphics. Like the 8th generation, the 9th generation is equipped with Intel’s UHD Graphics 630. The integrated graphics are nothing special. They’re most certainly not made with gaming in mind. That being said, the overwhelming majority, if not everyone who reads this review with be using a discreet graphics card. However, unlike the enthusiast platform, if your GPU runs into issues, you can still at least check email, watch Netflix in 4k and play games such as Shovel Knight. However, since no one is buying a 9900k to play games on the integrated graphics, we decided not to test games with the IGPU on the 9900k. If you’re interested on how the UHD 630 graphics run modern games, check out our i7 8700k review here. https://www.modders-inc.com/Intel’s-core-i7-8700k-review/
The integrated graphics have a base frequency oh 350 MHz and a max dynamic frequency of up to 1.20G Hz. The UHD 630 graphics does have support for 4k resolution at 60 Hz and can support up to 3 displays.The IGPU on the 9900k supports HDMI 1.4 at a max resolution of 4096 x 2304 @ 24 Hz and DisplayPort also at a max resolution of 4096 x 2304 @ 24 Hz. If your system has an integrated flat panel, it can handle a max resolution of 4096 x 2304 @ 60 Hz. This being if a 9th gen processor was in an all in one system or a laptop in the future. The UHD 630 graphics has support for DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.5.
System Configuration and Testing Procedures
Test System #1
- Core i9 9900k
- AORUS Z390 Pro
- 32 GB G. Skill Trident Z 3200 MHz. CAS 14
- MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 2080
- EVGA Super Nova P2 1600 Watt 80+ Platinum PSU
- Intel 512 GB SSD 6 660P
- Samsung 500 GB 850 EVO M.2 SATA SSD
- Swiftech H320 X2 Prestige Edition AIO Cooler
- Primichill Praxis Wetbench
Test System #2
- Core i7 8700k
- AORUS Z370 Gaming 7
- 32 GB G. Skill Trident Z 3200 MHz. CAS 14
- EVGA GTX 1080 TI FTW3 Elite
- EVGA Super Nova P2 1600 Watt 80+ Platinum PSU
- Intel 512 GB SSD 6 660P
- Samsung 500 GB 850 EVO M.2 SATA SSD
- Swiftech H320 X2 Prestige Edition AIO Cooler
- Primichill Praxis Wetbench
Test System #3
- AMD Ryzen 7 2700x
- ASUS TUF X470
- 16 GB G. Skill Trident Z 3200 MHz. CAS 16
- Nvidia RTX 2080 Founders Edition
- Enermax Platimax 1350 Watt 80+ Platinum PSU
- Samsung 250 GB 960 EVO (OS Drive)
- Swiftech H240 X3 AIO Cooler
- In Win 101c
- Aida64 Engineer
- CineBench R15
- PCMark 10
- 264 FHD
- Hardware Monitor
- Core Temp
- Intel Extreme Tuning Utility
- 3DMark Firestrike
- 3DMark Time Spy
- Assassins Creed Origins
- Far Cry 5
- GTA V
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider
For synthetic benchmarks, each benchmark was run on each system three times. Then we picked the best of the three results. The system was allowed to idle in between each benchmark for no less than 30 minutes. This give the processor time to rest and cool down a bit before the nest test is performed. The ambient temperature is kept as close to 21°c, or 70°f as possible. We use both Core Temp and Hardware Monitor to record temperatures and CPUZ to validate clock speeds and voltages.
For gaming benchmarks, I chose 5 games, and mostly new titles. Games were tested with an both the MSI Gaming x Trio RTX 2080 and the Founders Edition RTX 2080. The MSI Gaming X Trio was used in both Intel system and the Founders Edition was used in the AMD Ryzen 2700x system. This was only because the Gaming X Trio wouldn’t fit in the In Win 101c that the Ryzen system is in. I tested the new Assassins Creed Origins, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Grand Theft Auto 5, Watch Dogs 2 and the newest game in my test suite, Far Cry 5. Each of the were tested in 1080p, 1440p and 4k.
Multimedia, Compression and Semi-Synthetic Benchmarks
x264 is a free software library for encoding video streams into the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC format. x264 FHD measures how efficient a system is in encoding H.264 video and produces results in frames-per-second. H.265/HEVC video encoding is the future of video able to compress significantly larger resolution videos including 4K and make streaming a possibility.
In the X264 FHD benchmark, again, the 9900k was the clear winner completing the benchmark with an average of 58.1 frames per second. Next was the 2700x at 52.05 frames per second. In last place with the 8700k which finished with an average of 43.63 frames per second. The big surprise for me was how far ahead of the 8700k the 9900k was.
x265 is an open-source implementation of the H.265 standard and x.265 HD benchmark tests the CPU’s ability to process an HEVC video. This benchmark is run by the processor alone. The 2700x averaged 29.96 frames per second. The 8700k averaged 27.27 frames per second and the 9900k did best with an average of 35.96 frames per second.
The 7-zip benchmark shows a rating in MIPS (million instructions per second). The rating value is calculated from the measured speed, and it is normalized with results of Intel Core 2 CPU with multi-threading option switched off. So, if you have modern CPU from Intel or AMD, rating values in single-thread mode must be close to real CPU frequency. There are two tests, compression with LZMA method and decompression with LZMA method. Once the total passes reach 100, the score is taken. 7-Zip gives the resulting score for decompressing, compressing and an overall score. The Decompressing score for the 2700x was 50205 MIPS, or Million Instructions per Second. The Compression score was 39537 MIPS and the overall score was 44889 MIPS. The Decompressing score for the 8700k was 34524 MIPS, or Million Instructions per Second. The Compression score was 37005 MIPS and the overall score was 35764 MIPS. The Decompressing score for the 9900k was 53429 MIPS, or Million Instructions per Second. The Compression score was 45479 MIPS and the overall score was 49454 MIPS. As you can see, the 9900k did best in all tests.
WinRAR is a file archive utility for Windows, developed by Eugene Roshal of win.rar GmbH. It can create and view archives in RAR or ZIP file formats and unpack numerous archive file formats. All three processors ran Winrar for about 20 minutes each. The final results for the 2700x was 11250 KB/s. The results for the 8700k was 13499 KB/s and for the 9900k the resulting total was 21373. As the results show, the 9900k was the clear winner.
HandBrake is a free and open-source video transcoder, originally developed in 2003 by Eric Petit to make ripping a film from a DVD to a data storage device easier. Essentially, it can convert video to almost any modern format. HandBrake is available for Linux, macOS, and Windows. The workload video file is a ~6.27 GB, 3840 x 1714, 24FPS, H.264, .mov video file that is transcoded to a ~1480 MB, 1920×1080, 30ps, H.264, .mp4 video file. The video file is called Tears of Steel. The i9 9900k encoded the file in 5 minutes and 30 seconds. This was almost 2 minutes slower than 7 minutes and 22 seconds the i7 8700k took to encode the same file. The 2700x did better than I had expected, encoding the file in 6 minutes and 17 seconds. I wasn’t too surprised that the 9900k came out ahead of the pack. My surprise was how far ahead of the 8700k it was.
PCMark 10 is a system benchmark for Windows PCs which focuses on common tasks performed in the office. PCMARK 10 offers a variety of workloads categorized into four groups. The Essentials group includes web browsing, video conferencing, and app start-up time. The Productivity group includes tests based on spreadsheets and writing. The Digital Content Creation group includes photo editing, video editing, and a rendering and visualization test. The final group, Gaming, includes tests for real-time graphics and physics. It has three different benchmarks, PCMARK 10, PCMARK 10 Express and PCMARK 10 Extended. We ran PCMARK 10 on both the i7 87700k and the i9 9900k. I’m not sure what the issue was with the Ryzen test system used in this review. PCMARK 10 just wouldn’t run on this system. The board was the ASUS X4770 TUF and it was on the latest BIOS. I tried the R5 2600, R77 2700 and the R7 2700x. All three processors gave the same results. Failure on the first test. So, I used the number one result on the list for PCMARK 10 using the R7 2700x and an RTX 2080. This was there is at least a result on the chart for the 2700x.
The i7 8700k was the bottom of the pack in PCMARK 10 with an overall score of 6233. The top result on the PCMARK site for the R7 2700x had an overall score of 6501, beating out the best score I got with our 8700k test system. On top was the i9 9900k with an overall score of 7109, far above the rest.
3DMark is a computer benchmarking tool created and developed by Futuremark used to determine the performance of a computer’s 3D graphic rendering and CPU workload processing capabilities. It does this through a series of graphics and physics and or CPU tests. I used 3DMarks most popular benchmark, Firestrike as well as their newest DX12 benchmark, Time Spy to test both the MSI Gaming X Trio 2080 and the Nvidia RTX Founders Edition 2080.
The over all scores in Time Spy were close. But the 9900k did best with an overall score of 11040, graphics score of 11057 and a CPU score of 10950. The 2700x was next with an overall score of 10539, graphics score of 11015 and a CPU score of 8468. Last was the 8700k with an overall score of 10100, graphics score of 10615 and a CPU score of 7923. In Time Spy Extreme the 9900k did best with an overall score of 4982, graphics score of 4962 and a CPU score of 5101. The 8700k was next with an overall score of 4759, graphics score of 5057 and a CPU score of 3568. The 2700x did have a higher CPU score than the 8700k with a score of 3709. But the graphic score was lowest at 4935 and the overall score was 4701.
In Firestrike, the combination of the i9 9900k and the RTX 2080 gave me my best score ever. The overall score in Firestrike was24046. The Graphics score was 27915, the physics as 24761 and the combined was 11547. Next was the 87ook with the same MSI Gaming X Trio that was used with the 9900k. The overall score for the 8700k was 21885. The graphics was 27500. The physics was the lowest of the three at 18488 and the combined score was 9702. The overall score for the2700x was 20189. The graphics score was 27468. the physics was the second highest at 19859 and the combines score was 6815. I was very impressed with the overall performance of the 9900k with the RTX 2080.
Performance Test 9
Performance Test 9 is a complete system benchmark that tests every main component of your system. The area’s tested are the Disk, Memory, 2D Graphics, 3D Graphics and CPU. There is also an overall PassMark Rating. Since this test is broken down into six parts, we’ll look at each test separate starting with CPU Mark. The i9 9900k came out on top in CPU mark with 20411.6. Next was the 2700x with 17109.1and last was the 8700k with 16891.3. Next was the 2D Graphics test. The 9900k scored best with 1049.2 followed by the 8700k with 974.6 and last was the 2700x with 933.2. Next up was 3D Graphics. The 8700k did best on this test with 17564.8 followed by the 9900k with 16304.5. The 2700x came in last in the 3D Graphics test with a score of 14065.3. In Memory Mark, the 9900k and 8700k were neck and neck. However, the 8700k came out the winner with a score of 6319.6, just beating out the 9900k with 3612.7. The 2700x ended up with a score of 2333.6. The last test in Passmark is the Disk Mark test. The 2700x was the clear winner with 15432.4 followed by the 9900k with 9895.8 and lst was the 8700k with 3614.1. However there is a reason for this. The 2700x has a 960 EVO as the boot drive. The 9900k also has an NVME drive. However its running a 512 GB Intel 660p that has a read and write speed of 1800 on the read and 1000 on the write. Much slower than the Samsung 960 EVO. The 8700k has a SATA based SanDisk ssd as the boot drive. The 9900k ended up with PassMark rating of 7509.9 and landed in the 99th percentile. Next was the 2700x with a PassMark rating of 6286.2 and the 8700k came in last with a PassMark rating of 6114.4
For gaming benchmarks, I chose 4 games, and mostly new titles. Games were tested with an both the MSI Gaming x Trio RTX 2080 and the Founders Edition RTX 2080. The MSI Gaming X Trio was used in both Intel system and the Founders Edition was used in the Ryzen 2700x system. This was only because the Gaming X Trio wouldn’t fit in the In Win 101c that the Ryzen system is in. I tested the new Assassins Creed Origins, Far Cry 5, Grand Theft Auto 5 and the newest game in my test suite, Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Each of the were tested in 1080p, 1440p and 4k.
Assassins Creed Origins is the newest game in my suite, having been releases at the end of October. The game is set in ancient Egypt. Ubisoft built a gorgeous open world that’s fun to explore. The game looks amazing. With so much detail, it’s no wonder the game puts a serious strain on your GPU. Although GTA V is the oldest game in the suite, it’s still a very demanding game, especially with the Advanced Graphics on. Far Cry 5 is the latest in the Far Cry series, built on the Dunia engine. In this game, you explore the fictional Hope County in an attempt to take out a violent Cult Leader. Like other Far Cry games, Far Cry 5 is beautiful and demanding as well. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the third title in the recently rebooted series in 2013. The reboot was simply called Tomb Raider. Both it and its sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider are beautiful games and made for great benchmarks. Rise of the Tomb Raider was one of the first games to support DX12. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is absolutely beautiful and will eventually be one of the first games with real time ray-tracing support. Seeing the 2080 is more than capable of running the game on its ultra-preset, that’s what we did. In fact, all games were run at their highest presets. The one exception was GTA V. For GTA V, all of the advanced graphics for GTA V were maxed out, with one exception. Frame Scaling mode was set to 3/2, or x1.500. This increases the internal resolution the game runs at. It’s essentially down scaling. Other than that, setting, all advanced graphics settings were set to max. Also, in the normal graphics menu, every setting was on and also set to max with the exception of MSAA which was kept off.
So, if you’re playing the game at 1920×1080 and you set the frame scaling to 200%, the game will be rendered at 3840×2160 (which is 4K) then down scaled to 1080p. It essentially multiplies the horizontal and vertical resolution by whatever value you set. In this case, 3/2 or 1.5. The 3/2 setting was the highest setting the game would run in 4k with. So, this is the setting I went for all resolutions. If I went any higher, the game instantly crashes. Since this isn’t a GPU review and rather a CPU, I left out 3440 x 1440 resolution as to not have to move that monitor around. All testing was done on the LG 27UK600. This is a 27 inch, 75 Hz 4k monitor with HDR or high dynamic range. A quick side note. Due to the delay of Windows 10 version 1809, there were issues with Shadow of the Tomb Raider in DX12. As in it wouldn’t run at all. So the Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested in DX11 mode which may have affected this results. Once 1809 is rolled out, we’ll retest Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
This first thing I can say is the RTX 2080 is way overkill for 1080p gaming,. It’ll do an amazing job in 1440p and would be perfect if you like high refresh rate gaming. For example 1440p at 144Hz. However, the RTX 2080 is really designed with 4k gaming in mind. With that, let’s get into how each processor did in gaming with the RTX 2080. All systems were run at their stock settings, both CPU and GPU. Every system ran every game in 1080p at well over 60 FPS. In Assassins Creed Origins, the 8700k came out on top with an average of 103 FPS. Next was the 9900k with 97 FPS. Last was the 2700x 88 FPS. Far Cry 5 the 9900k and 8700k were only off by 1 FPS. The 9900k ended up with an average of 133 FPS and the8700k with 132 FPS. The 2700x averaged 102 FPS in Far Cry 5. In GTA V, the 9900k was best with 101 FPS. This was followed by the 8700k with 99 FPS and the 2700x with 96 FPS. GTA V was a close one. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, The 8700k did best with 99 FPS followed by the 9900k with 97 and the 2700x with 78.
In 1440p, AC Origins ran best with the 8700k with an average of 88 FPS. nest was the 2700x with 78 FPS followed by the 9900k with 76 FPS. The 8700k did best with Far Cry 5 at an average of 106 FPS. next was the 9900k with 100 FPS and the 2700x with an an average of 82 FPS. In GTA V, the 2700x did best by a fair amount. The 2700x averaged 84 FPS followed by the 8700k with 75 ad the 9900k with 70. The 8700k came out on top in Shadow of the Tomb Raider with an average of 79 FPS. The 9900k was nest with 74 FPS and the 2700x was last with 68 FPS.
The RTX 2080 was built for 4k. But even with the RTX 2080, 4k resolution hammers your system. The 8700k did best in AC Origins at 4k resolution. with an average of 55 FPS. AC Origins averaged 51 FPS in 4k with the 2700x and 50 FPS with the 9900k. In Far Cry 5, the 9900k came our far ahead of the pack with an average of 71 FPS. Next was the 8700k with 59 FPS and last was the 2700x with 43 FPS. I wasn’t expecting that big a difference between the 9900k and 2700x. GTA V like the 2700x best with an average of 49 FPS. The 8700k was second with 34 FPS. This was only 1 frame above the 9900k. The 99ok averaged 33 FPS on GTA V in 4k. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the three games were close. The 8700k was best with 46 FPS. The 2700x landed second with 45 FPS and the 9900k averaged 43 FPS.
Overclocking and Temperatures
Like always when benchmarking for a review, I always to my best to keep all testing scenarios the same, even review to review. This way I get as close to an accurate comparison as possible. Throughout every review, I keep the ambient temperature as close to 21°c, or 70°f, as possible. Stock, idle temperature was recorded 30 minutes after the PC initially booted. To record load temperatures, we ran the AIDA64 CPU Stability Test for about fifteen minutes. And then recorded the stock load temperature.
We overclocked all three processors to as far as we could push them. The 9900k, being a review sample, was an engineering sample or confidential chip, as they’re often called. This is because in place of the model number, the HIS has the words Intel Confidential printed on it. No surprise the 9900k did best in overclocking. It ran at 5.0 at 1.344 volts. though all of my testing with the exception of one test, the Aida64 Stability test. However, it was only the FPU test. When I ran the CPU test, it did fine and hit only 67°c after a 15 minute test. However, when I ran the FPU test at anything over 4.8 GHz, it hit thermal limits and began to throttle after about 5 minutes. Either way, the 9900k hit 90°c on the FPU portion of the test and began to throttle. Gigabyte has released an official overclocking guide for the 9900k and recommends setting T junction to 110°c. This will help to prevent some crashes due to thermal limits while overclocking. While at idle, the 9900k ran at around 30°c at stock speeds. Under load while at stock, it maxed out at an average of 68°c with the hottest core being 70°c. Even while overclocked, the 9900k idles around 34°c on average with one or 2 cores hitting as high as 36°c. Under load during normal testing, meaning anything other than the stability test, the 9900k clocked at 5.0 Ghz ran about between the high 70s and low 80s with the hottest core hitting 81°c. This was only while running Cinebench R15. Temps were recorded after the third run.
Both the 8700k and the 9900k were tested using the Swiftech H320 X2 Prestige. I had originally used the Swiftech H140x on the 8700k. However, the temperatures seemed much higher than I was used to. So, it went back on the test bench for this review. The 8700k I’ve used on my bench the last year or so was a retail chip and not the best overclocker. That being said, I was able to get it stable at 4.8 GHz at 1.308 volts. At this frequency and voltage, the 8700k idled at 33°c and hit a max temp of only 52°c in the AIDA64 CPU test. On the FPU test, the 8700k maxed out at 73°c on its hottest core. This is an 8° difference between the 2 processors. While gaming or normal benchmarking, the 8700k maxed out at 62°c. At stock, it idled at 29°c.
Overclocking the 2700x is a whole different beast all together. Even the multiplier is different in the BIOS for Ryzen chips. You can increase the frequency by smaller increments. So, on the Intel chips you can go from, 4.0 GHz to 4.1 GHz, on Ryzen, you can increase the frequency from 4.0 to 4.025 and so on. Now it’s no secret that Intel is better with overclocking. However, with the way XFR works on AMD’s Ryzen X series processors, there’s almost no need to overclock these chips. The highest I was able to push the 2700x was 4.141 GHz at 1.33 volts from its base clock speed of 3.7 GHz. Now when its left at stock, the 2700x will boost as high as 4.3 GHz. When I have it manually overclocked, it will only go as high as I have it set. We ran the Aida64 stability test with the 2700x clocked at 4.141 GHz. As soon as I started the FPU test at this frequency, the system crashed. So, the AIDA64 stability test was run with the 2700x at its stock settings. During the CPU test, the 2700x hit a max temperature of only 54°c. This is much lower than the 8700k and the 9900k. When we ran the FPU portion of the test, it was a different story. After 15 minutes, the 2700x hit a max temp of 80°c. At its stock speed of 3.7 GHz, the 2700x idles 7at around 32°c and hit 61°c while running Cinebench R15. This is much lower that the 9900k and a bit higher than the 8700k. Also keep in mind the 2700x was cooled with the H240 X3 which is a 240 mm AIO as opposed to the H320 X 2 which is a 360 mm AIO.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
The Core I9 9900k really is a great processor. However, just because it was released on Intel’s consumer platform, doesn’t really make it a consumer grade chip. Let’s be honest here. The I9 9900k is an enthusiast grade chip, on the consumer platform. For the record, I’m not saying that as a bad thing at all. I always loved platforms such as X99 and X299 for things like photo and video editing. For gaming, I’ve always went with Intel’s top i7 on their consumer platform. Chips like the 4790k and 7700k were better for gaming than say the 5820k was. This is mainly due to fewer, faster cores and a higher IPC. Now, the first consumer octa-core processor, the I9 9900k combines both higher core counts with higher frequencies and IPC than its enthusiast counterparts from previous generations such as the 5960x and the 7820x. Both were and still are great chips, but more designed for productivity work. The I9 9900k is the best of both worlds, gaming and productivity.
Now, that’s not to say it doesn’t come at a cost. Being on the consumer platform, the I9 9900k is much small that its enthusiast counterparts. This means a much smaller IHS when compared to a chip that fits the LGA 2066 socket. You’re basically adding 2 cores and 4 threads on the 8700k. Although Intel has soldered the IHS to the dye, the 9900k does produce some serious heat. In fact, I would highly recommend using custom water cooling if you chose the 9900k for your next build or upgrade. At a minimum, I’d use a 360mm AIO cooler, and a good one at that. The I9 9900k is not a chip you can throw a Hyper 212 EVO on and go to town overclocking. But, if you’re looking to get into watercooling, the 9900k could be the way to go.
The H320 X2 Prestige I used did well cooling the 9900k. However, even with the 360mm AIO, when clocked at 5.0 GHz, the 9900k hit thermal limit and began to throttle running the AIDA64 FPU stability test. Giving me FX 9590 flash backs. With the fact the 9900k boosts to 4.7 GHz, there really isn’t a need to set the processor to 5.0 for everyday use. Although, for gaming and light benchmarking, it ran at 5.0 GHz with little to no issues aside from stuttering when the chip spiked in temperature here and there.
In games, the 9900k and 8700k had similar results. The 8700k did come out ahead of the 9900k in a few games. However, in synthetic benchmarks, the 9900k came out on top in almost every other test we ran. Especially in benchmarks such as Winrar and 7-zip, the 9900k just dominated its 8th generation counterpart. I will say that the R7 2700x performed better than I had expected and at its current price point, it is a great value and the best price to performance ratio of the three processors tested in this review. That being said, for the performance you get out of the I9 9900k, I personally feel the selling price of the I9 9900k of $529.99 USD on Amazon, really isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. Especially considering the i7 5960x launched only a few years ago over $1000 USD and the i7 7820x was $599.99 when it launched. So, over the last several generations, the price of an Intel octa-core processor has come down significantly. Also, I was just over a year ago the 1800x launched at $499.99. Taking all this into consideration, I fell that the added benefits of Intel Optane Technology, higher frequency and the much higher IPC is well worth the $200 plus dollars the I9 9900k costs over the 2700x. Plus, you’re almost guaranteed to not run into RAM compatibility issues with the 9900k. But, what if you’re running a Z370 board and an i7 8700k? Is it worth the upgrade? Probably not. However, if you’re running an I3, or even an i5 on a Z370 board, and you have the extra cash, the 9900k would be a great upgrade from even the I5 8600k. Intel’s 9th generation has given us another first, much like the 8th did. I can’t wait to see what they do with the 10th generation.