The Intel Core i9-9900K, Core i7-9700K, and Core i5-9600K processors are now available from Canadian retailers and system integrators. The new processors cater towards both content creators and gamers. ITWC had the chance to take a look at a few gaming systems built by Intel Corp. partners. Prominent brands include Lenovo, HP, Asus, MSI, and Canada Computers.

Products at a glance

ProductBase clockBoost clockCores / ThreadsTDPCachePCIe lanesMemory supportPricing
Intel Core i9-9900K3.6GHz5.0GHz8/1695W16MB40Dual-channel DDR4-2,666$699
Intel Core i7-9700K3.6GHz4.9GHz8/895W12MB40Dual-channel DDR4-2,666$539
Intel Core i5-9600K3.7GHz4.6GHz6/695W9MB40Dual-channel DDR4-2,666$359

Codenamed Coffee Lake Refresh, the Intel ninth generation processors marks an incremental design improvement over the original Coffee Lake series processors. While their architecture and transistor nodes remain the same, Intel overhauled the product stack of its mainstream processor lineup.

Intel raised the core count on its mainstream desktop chips by two across the board back when it released its eighth generation chips. With the ninth generation processors, Intel is raising the max core count on its top line consumer part. But this time, the increased core count comes in the form of a new SKU: the Intel Core i9-9900K.

The Core i9-9900K now succeeds the i7-9700K as the highest-end consumer processor. It features eight cores, 16 threads operating at 3.6 GHz base clock and 5.0 GHz boost clock, 16 MB cache, and up to 40 PCIe lanes. The extra cores should be useful to increase multithreaded performance.

The Intel Core i7-9700K has been upgraded to host eight cores as well, but has had its hyperthreading feature removed. Intel is confident that an increase in physical core count will compensate for the lack of hyperthreading. Its 3.6GHz base clock is 100Mhz slower than the previous generation 6-core Core i7-8700K, but its boost clock is 300MHz higher.

Besides a 300MHz boost clock bump, the Core i5-9600K remains largely unchanged from the previous generation. It still features six cores, six threads, and 9 MB cache.

With the ninth generation processors, Intel has switched over to using soldered thermal interface material (STIM) for all its mainstream processors. The eighth generation Intel CPUs used thermal paste as opposed to metal solder, which wasn’t as efficient at transferring heat from the processor die to the integrated heat spreader (IHS). Users complained that the thermal paste was hampering overclocking capabilities. Glad to see Intel addressing the potential issue.

While architecture improvements to performance are minor, Intel did address an important issue: security. The ninth generation Intel processors include hardware fixes to L1 terminal fault and rogue data cache load, which could only be removed though hardware-level changes.

Released alongside the new processors is the new Z390 motherboard chipset. As an upgrade to the existing Z370 chipsets, Z390 now supports six USB3.1 Gen 2 ports, integrated 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and SDXC support. Existing Z370 motherboards can be made compatible via a firmware update.



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