With the 9th generation Core i9-990K CPU, Intel has managed to create once again what you could easily claim the title of being the fastest mainstream CPU and the fastest gaming CPU.
With the new chip, Intel is matching the core count of the successful 8-core Ryzen CPUs.
At a glance, the new processor seemed not o have changced much compared to teh 8th generation chips. We are still dealing with a 14nm++ CPU, with a couple of more identical cores and crank the clock speed up to 5GHz.
This is an overclockable processor, allowing users to push the frequency if the cooling is sufficient. The Core i9-9900K also gets a fully-enabled cache, with 2 MB available per core for a chip-wide total of 16 MB. There's also some integrated graphics, the same UHD 630 graphics we saw on the previous generation. This all comes in at a $488 suggested retail price, although no cooler is bundled.
Before the official annoucnement of the new chip, Intel actually paid for a report into the new processor performance by a third party in order to obtain data, which unfortunately had numerous issues, particularly with how the chips it was tested against were benchmarked. AMD has already criticized Intel's marketing tactics.
Although we didn't have the chance to have a sample of the new CPU yet, the results of various benchmarks that surfaced online today confirm Intel's bold claim that the Core i9-9900K s the world's best gaming CPU.
The majority of the reviewers proved that the Core i9-9900K left behind the competition in almost every gaming scenario, while also it hit a lot of the synthetics higher than any other mainstream processor.
The secret for Intel's new processor, besides the additional cores and their high frequency, seems to be the solder TIM or STIM - an upgraded thermal interface between the processor and the heatspreader, from paste to solder. The STIM implementation has enabled Intel to push the frequency of the new parts. The actual chip sits protected under the metallic (likely nickel-plated copper) heat spreader. With the 9th gen, Intel returned to a soldered material rather than paste.
In terms of overclocking, Intel held an overclocking demonstration at the Intel Fall Desktop Launch in New York City.
Professional overclockers used liquid nitrogen to carefully chill the Intel Core i9-9900K to extremely low temperatures - triple digits below zero - to achieve chip frequencies and performance far greater than off-the-shelf specs. The Intel Core i9-9900K has a stock base frequency of 3.6 GHz, but the professional overclockers achieved nearly double that, reaching 7.1 GHz on all cores.
Obviously there is a huge overclocking potential, but for everyone else using a decent cooling solution, the Intel Core i9-9900K could hit the 5.1-5.1 GHz mark.
On the other hand, when it comes down to cost and competition, the Intel Core i9-9900K would cost you $488 MSRP, plus $80-$120 for a cooler or $200 for a custom loop. When Intel's own i5-9600K is under half the cost with only two fewer cores, or AMD's R7 2700X is very competitive in almost every test, while they might not be the best, they're more cost-effective.