Intel’s 9th-gen chips: Everything you need to know

Intel's 9th-gen chips could power your next rig. Here's what you need to know

Intel-9th-Gen-Core-package
Luke Larsen/Digital Trends

After many rumors, leaks, and anticipation, the first of Intel’s 9th-gen processors are now available for purchase.

The Intel Core i9-9900K processor is the star of the show for gamers, alongside some powerful, workstation-class options as well. Even so, Intel’s most recent generation of processors has only just begun. Here’s everything we know so far.

Price and release date

You can find the processors at varying prices, depending on where you are buying. You can find the Intel Core i9-9900K at BestBuy for $530. The Core i7-9700K, on the other hand, comes in at $410, and the Core i5-9600K at $280.

As for the workstation-class Xeon Processors, Intel noted that it would start shipping in December. The Core X-Series, on the other hand, did pick up some suggested pricing starting at $590 and also goes all the way up to $1,980. The difference in pricing boils down to base clock speed, the amount of core and threads, and the Smart Cache amount.

lntel announces high end xeon and core x series processors intel 9th gen

Desktop chips

Intel’s first 9th-gen Core desktop chips are built for gamers and desktop enthusiasts and the company is dubbing its 9900K as “the best gaming processor in the world” (it’s not necessarily the best Intel processor … an interesting choice of words). We’d agree with that sentiment. The Core i9-9900K is Intel’s first mainstream processor with a 5GHz Turbo Boost maximum, eight cores, and 16 threads. It also features STIM technology, which helps dissipate heat and allow for more thermal headroom when gaming.

The cheaper Core i7-9700K and Core i5-9600K still present good options, coming with eight cores and eight threads, and six cores and six threads, respectively. Those come with a slightly lower base clock speeds of 3.6 GHz, and 3.7 GHz, turbo boost of 4.9 and 4.6 GHz, and cache of 12 MB and nine MB.

everything you need to know about intel 9th gen i9 9900k gaming

The specifications of the Core i9-9900K add up to results, with Intel claiming that gamers can expect up to 10-11 percent more performance and frames per second in popular PC games compared to the last generation. They also claimed that video editing in Adobe Premiere can go up 34 percent faster than the previous generation, though there was some recent controversy in testing up against the latest from AMD.

The processor is compatible with the new Intel Z390 chipset, and all Intel Series 300 chipsets. The new Intel X390 chipset includes high-speed integrated USB 3.1 Gen 2 and integrated Intel Wireless-AC with support for Gigabit Wi-Fi speed. Also, keep in mind that Spectre protection is built-in for the K-Series chips, but not the X-Series.

Mobile chips

Intel hasn’t made any official announcements about the mobile versions of its 9th-generation CPUs, but we do have some news on the topic thanks to rumors and leaks. Lenovo documentation spotted at the end of November for an upcoming IdeaPad S530 convertible laptop offered three choices of processor: The Core i7-9550U, Core i5-9250U, and Core i3-9130U. It had options for eighth-generation CPUs too, but the new ninth-generation chips are much bigger news.

intel 9th gen laptop processors leak lenovo
WCCFTech/Lenovo

Although the desktop ninth-generation CPUs offered expanded core counts than generations past and made hyperthreading a Core i9 exclusive feature, we wouldn’t expect such changes with the mobile variants. They will likely offer higher clock speeds than their eighth-generation predecessors, but core counts will likely be limited to four for the Core i7 and Core i5 parts. Hyperthreading could improve performance for the i7 CPU. We’d also expect it to act as a major component of the Core i3 chip, which could offer just two cores but support four threads with hyperthreading.

This is all speculation at this point, but it’s in line with what we’ve seen in generations past and WCCFTech’s initial report made similar suggestions.

We’ve not heard anything on pricing or availability of these CPUs just yet, but they should simply slot in to existing and refreshed line ups of hardware to replace their eighth-generation counterparts. Expect official announcements in early 2019, perhaps at CES in January.

Benchmarks and performance

Intel Core i9- 9900K
Intel Core i9- 9900K

In our testing, the Intel Core i9-9900K with Asus’ new ROG Strix GL12CX desktop, we found that the results were record breaking for Intel. Put up against the Ryzen 7 1800X and AMD’s Threadripper 1920X and 1950X, the i9-9900K came up on top. And when compared to the last generation Core i7-8700K, the Core i9 matched single-core performance but saw a 25 percent increase in multi-core scoring.

Specifically, the Core i9 beat the Threadripper 1920X in multi-core scores by around 21 percent, with a 28 percent advantage in single core scoring. That was worse for the Ryzen 7, which fell 40 percent behind Intel.

Video encoding and gaming also impressed us on the Core i9 9900K. Our test system encoded a 4K video in Handbrake in just one minute and sixteen seconds— half the time of the AMD Threadripper 1920X. As for gaming, the Core i9-9990K outperformed the Threadripper 1920X by 40 percent in games like Civilization VI and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.

Product Review

You should definitely buy a MateBook X Pro, just not this one

Huawei has a new version of the MateBook X Pro in 2019, building off the success of its first iteration last year. What’s new? Well, the graphics card, the processor, and the pricing. Not all of these are in its favor.
Computing

Gaming on a laptop has never been better. These are your best options

Gaming desktops are powerful, but they tie you down to your desk. For those of us who prefer a more mobile experience, here are the best gaming laptops on the market, ranging from budget machines to maxed-out, wallet-emptying PCs.
Computing

AMD Ryzen CPU prices get slashed ahead of Ryzen 3000 release

AMD's Ryzen CPUs have had their prices slashed as we edge towards the release of their third generation. Whether you're a gamer or someone who needs multi-threaded performance, there's a deal for everyone with some heavy discounts to take…
Computing

HP’s new Zbook, EliteBook 800 workstations go 4K with 8th-gen Intel CPUs

HP's new line of workstation laptops includes some seriously durable EliteBook and ZBook designs, with options for high-end, eighth-generation Intel CPUs, 2TB of storage, and discrete AMD Radeon graphics chips.
Computing

Google Chrome will get a Reader Mode for distraction-free desktop browsing

If Google's testing of Reader Mode on the Chrome Canary desktop browser is successful, soon all Chrome users will gain access to this feature. Reader Mode strips away irrelevant content on a webpage for distraction-free browsing.
Computing

Former student uses USB Killer device to fry $58,000 worth of college’s PCs

A former student used a USB Killer device to short circuit more than $58,000 of computers at a private New York college earlier this year. The student pled guilty to the charges and sentencing is scheduled to begin in August.
Computing

The number pad on HP’s Chromebook 15 makes spreadsheet work a breeze

HP's Chromebook 15 comes with a 15.6-inch display, a metal keyboard deck with full-size keys, and a dedicated number pad, making it the second Chromebook model, following Acer's Chromebook 715, to be suited for spreadsheet work.
Computing

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.
Computing

Here's how you can download the best free music players for your Mac

Tired of your Mac's default music player? Take a look at our picks for the best free music players available for your Apple rig. Whether you're a casual listener or an audiophile, you're sure to find something that fits your needs here.
Computing

Want to make calls across the internet for less? Try these great VOIP services

Voice over IP services are getting more and more popular, but there are still a few that stand above the pack. In this guide, we'll give you a few options for the best VOIP services for home and business users.
Gaming

Transform into the ultimate leader with our tips and tricks for Civilization 6

Civilization VI offers both series veterans and total newcomers a lot to chew on from the get-go. Here are some essential starting tips to help you master the game's many intricacies.
Computing

AMD’s 2020 Ryzen CPUs could have a big boost in power efficiency

The sequel to AMD's Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 CPUs is slated for a 2020 release and when it arrives, could leverage the new Zen 3 architecture to deliver impressive gains to performance and power efficiency.
Computing

The iPhone’s Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts could land on Macs this year

For its desktop computers, it appears that Apple may continue to draw from the iPhone for inspiration. iOS 12 features, like Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts, are believed to be making their way to MacOS this year at WWDC in June.
Deals

Dell slashes prices of XPS 13 and Alienware 17 laptops in latest promo

Dell's latest promotion will score you big savings on the XPS 13 or the Alienware 17. The stylish XPS 13's discount is for $430, and only the rose gold model is on sale, while gamers who choose the Alienware 17 will save $860.