4 Replies Latest reply on Oct 20, 2018 10:10 AM by bearcat22

    Intel Core i9-9900K Review: Welcome to an Intel-AMD 8-Core Slugfest

    kingfish

      The CPU market has changed more in the past 22 months than it did from 2008-2017 combined. That’s not to say that CPU architectures didn’t change, or that we didn’t see per-core pricing come down. But Intel had a remarkably successful run with the product positioning it introduced at the high-end with Nehalem in 2008 and refined with Sandy Bridge in 2011. Quad-cores with Hyper-Threading at the top, a midrange Core i5 sans HT in the middle, and a Core i3 dual-core with HT re-enabled to anchor the low end. From 2011-2017, that was Intel’s desktop product line in a nutshell — until AMD launched Ryzen. Fast forward to today, and we find ourselves in a completely different ballgame.

      Intel’s 9th Generation family completes the transformation of the product line that began with 8th Generation parts. Hyper-Threading has vanished from the stack, save for the Core i9-9900K. The difference between the Core i7 and Core i5 has similarly shrunk, at least in terms of thread count. Previously, chips like the Core i7-8700K or Core i7-7700K supported twice the total threads of the Core i5 family, with the caveat that these were logical rather than physical processors and did not deliver anything like the scaling of a full core. We typically assume Hyper-Threading support adds ~20 percent performance. The Core i7-9700K no longer offers Hyper-Threading, but the core count has been bumped up to eight to compensate.

      This launch is a critical chance for Intel to recover some of the prestige the company has lost over the past 10 months. While the company’s earnings have been excellent, it’s taken a hammering in the press for a variety of reasons, including (in no particular order): security problems like Spectre and Meltdown, the unexpected sudden resignation of the CEO, a significant delay stacked on top of an already-significant delay to its 10nm process deployment, and a host of downstream impacts from that, including a CPU shortage and a rumored delay to its EUV deployment timeline. As we’ve written, these downstream effects should be viewed as the logical downstream impact of the 10nm delay rather than a series of separate, unrelated problems, but they still add up to a rocky year.

      The Core i9-9900K offers an opportunity to change that narrative — but only if it can get past the Ryzen-sized competitor standing in its path.

      As much as I’d like to believe that y’all have read all my reviews and are current on the competitive state of the CPU market, a brief recap of the Ryzen era is in order. AMD’s top-end Ryzen 7 1800X and associated CPUs lower in the product stack collectively blew Intel’s Kaby Lake out of the water, particularly at $180 and above. Intel struck back with the Core i7-8700K last October, which won back the overall performance crown. Fast forward to April, and AMD took the lead once more thanks to its second-generation Ryzen 7 2700X. Now, Intel is striking back once again.

      What to Watch for

      We’re evaluating a large range of chips today, covering multiple product families. We’ve pulled in the Core i7-7700K to illustrate the performance gains from Intel’s last quad-core CPU, included both the Core i7-8086K and Core i7-8700K to cover enthusiasts who may have picked up a previous generation top-end part (or are simply curious about the 8086K in general), and tossed the 10-core Core i9-7900X in for good measure to illustrate the potential performance benefits that come with that platform’s quad-channel DDR4 support and additional two cores.

      Our benchmarks on the AMD side are thinner — AMD simply hasn’t been building high-end parts for as long as Intel has — but they’ll answer the important questions. The Ryzen 7 2700X is our primary point of comparison, but we’ve kept the 2950X in the mix as well. First, it allows us to showcase AMD’s $900 CPU to match our inclusion of the $1,000 Core i9-7900X. Second, it illustrates what kind of value the Threadripper 2950X provides against a CPU from AMD’s greatest rival.

      We’ve also separated out some test results in places where we updated benchmarks or added tests.

      We tested the Intel Core i9-9900K on an Asus Maximus XI Hero motherboard with 32GB of DDR4-3200 installed in all four DIMM slots, a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti running Nvidia 411.63 drivers and a 1TB Samsung 970 EVO M.2 SSD for storage. Windows 10 Build 1803 was used for the testbed with the latest patches and updates installed. Our test results are embedded in the slideshow below.

      More: Intel Core i9-9900K Review: Welcome to an Intel-AMD 8-Core Slugfest - ExtremeTech

        • Re: Intel Core i9-9900K Review: Welcome to an Intel-AMD 8-Core Slugfest
          black_zion

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          Looks like 11.5% (6.7% looking at the 99% chart) faster at stock and overclocked, yet costs 90% more. I wish TomsHardware would have included the prices of all their components on their test setup so you could compare platform costs, but I think even most Intel fanboys will not like the fact it's not 50% faster compared to AMD the way they were for so long.

           

          I think it's still a win for AMD considering the price difference and small performance advantage.

            • Re: Intel Core i9-9900K Review: Welcome to an Intel-AMD 8-Core Slugfest
              bearcat22

              Another Intel\Amd CPU comparison and again the AMD fanboys walk away saying "yea, but AMD is a better value". Well it's not even a better value this time. Amazon has the Core I5 8600k on for $259.99. That's $45 cheaper than the Ryzen 2700X and the 8600K performed as good or better than the Ryzen in these benchmarks.

                • Re: Intel Core i9-9900K Review: Welcome to an Intel-AMD 8-Core Slugfest
                  black_zion

                  The 8600K and 2700X compete in different segments, the former is a 6 core 6 thread processor while the latter is an 8 core 16 thread processor. A more valid comparison would be the 8600K against the 6 core 12 thread 2600X, which is $50 cheaper than the 8600K. The 8600K performs 5.8% faster (99th percentile comparison) than the 2600X, yet costs 22.7% more, so the same principle still apples as it does with the 9900K vs 2700X comparison.

                   

                  Yes Intel is faster, nobody denies that, AMD still uses Intel processors in their graphics card bench machines to eliminate a CPU bottleneck, but it's marginally faster than AMD, not the 50+% faster we saw with the Bulldozer derived iterations, and is priced well above the performance you gain. It's not fanboyish to say a processor which performs X% better yet costs XX% more is not the better buy, it's what the vast majority of people do because the money you save on one component, such as a CPU, can be spent to buy a better second component, such as a GPU. It is fanboyish to say the higher performing processor is always a better buy no matter the cost.