Intel Core i9-9900K 9th Gen CPU Review: Fastest Gaming Processor Ever (2024)

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  • Page 1: Intel Strikes Back
  • Page 9: Workstation Graphics
  • Page 10: Workstation Compute
  • Page 11: Power Consumption
  • Page 12: Temperatures
  • Page 13: Conclusion

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Even though this suite has a few parallelized workloads, its final score is heavily influenced by the lightly-threaded tasks common in most desktop applications.

Core i9-9900K takes a commanding lead throughout these tests. However, the Core i7-9700K proves to be an adept competitor. It should come close to matching the Core i9-9900K after overclocking in these types of lightly-threaded tasks.

Web Browser

The Krakken suite evaluates JavaScript performance using several workloads, including audio, imaging, and cryptography. Like most browser-based benchmarks, single-threaded performance reigns supreme. These tests expose the trade-offs you make for an all-core overclock, particularly with the second-gen Ryzen processors.





Intel Core i9-9900K 9th Gen CPU Review: Fastest Gaming Processor Ever (7)
Intel Core i9-9900K 9th Gen CPU Review: Fastest Gaming Processor Ever (8)
Intel Core i9-9900K 9th Gen CPU Review: Fastest Gaming Processor Ever (9)

Intel's single-threaded advantage is clear. Once again the -9700K offers a nice step up from the -8700K, while Intel's Core i5-9600K proves its mettle. Our overclocked Ryzen 7 2700X trails the stock configuration in many of these tests because it offers a higher boost clock rate in stock form.


The application start-up metric measures load time snappiness in word processors, GIMP, and Web browsers under warm- and cold-start conditions. Other platform-level considerations affect this test as well, including the storage subsystem. Core i7-7820X lags the rest of the test pool, possibly as a byproduct of its mesh architecture. Meanwhile, the Core i7-8700K and -9900K are closely matched.

Our video conferencing suite measures performance in single- and multi-user applications that utilize the Windows Media Foundation for playback and encoding. It also performs facial detection to model real-world usage. This workload responds well to more threads, so Ryzen 7 pops back up near the top of our test pool.

The photo editing benchmark measures performance with Futuremark's binaries using the ImageMagick library. Common photo processing workloads also tend to be parallelized. This application responds well to the Ryzen 7 2700X, which scores a rare win against the stock Core i9-9900K.


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Intel Core i9-9900K 9th Gen CPU Review: Fastest Gaming Processor Ever (15)

Paul Alcorn

Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.

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148 CommentsComment from the forums

  • dlim389

    "The better the cooling, the better power consumption"? What?! This doesn't make sense at all. You meant the better the cooling, the lower the temperature.


  • siman0

    "Redefine" at double the price of a 2700x it needs to do more than that. The price diffrence is more than enough to go up another GPU tier ie 1070ti to a 1080ti. Id rather have more pcie bandwidth and the ability to upgrade my cpu till 2020. The only way Id recommend a upgrade to something close is if you already have the motherboard. But even then Id say the 9700k.


  • s1mon7

    Wait, so it performs within a spitting distance of the 2700x with DOUBLE the power consumption and price? Holy smokes, I thought Intel will be able to easily take on AMD after they launch their 8-cores. I have to say that these results were very surprising to me, since I believed in this being the ace up Intel's sleeve. This is really interesting, and a big win for AMD. The 9900K goes through twice the power just to squeeze out that extra clock speed edge to outperform the 2700x by a mere 10%, at double the price, mind you.

    Intel clearly needs 10nm and a new architecture to go back into the game. As is, I struggle to think of any reason to buy the 9900k.


  • TCA_ChinChin

    Interesting chip from Intel, but if you are looking at CPUs from a performance per dollar point of view, its rather disappointing. The real disappointment is the 9700k which is more expensive than the 8700k but performs basically the same on average.


  • Adrian Ocampo

    As a gamer, why would I buy a 9700K when an 8700K trades blows with the 9900K in both gaming and productivity. It just doesn't make sense. Its like its just competing with its own product as this point. I would be better off buying an 8700K deliding it, put liquid metal and overclock to 5.0Ghz for a much lower price than a 9900K.


  • gfaiii

    Guys just as a heads up you should say second generation 1151 socket, these are NOT compatible with 200 series boards that have 1151 sockets (without modding)


  • sonichedgehog360

    Ladies and gentlemen, Intel’s FX 9000 series.

    (By the way, I totally saw this coming what with the crazy clock speeds they were pushing.)


  • Johnpombrio

    I was surprised on how well the i9-9900K did on stock clocks. I may not even bother with overclocking as it does well even without it and I may be able to use air cooling that way. Compared to my Kaby Lake i7-7700K, it definitely is a big step up. I already have the ASUS Strix Z380 mobo, 32GB Corsair Dominator Platinum memory kit and have preordered the CPU.


  • sstanic

    how is this an editor's choice is beyond me. but not beyond marketing people, is it?


  • redgarl

    For the money, you can buy a motherboard, a CPU and a 1080 GTX for the same price as the 9900k with it's motherboard.

    Also, you tested this system on a 600$ motherboard... 600$ and a prenium cooling solution.

    This system is above the 2000$ threshold compared to an AMD one barely hitting the 1000$.


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