Intel officially unveils 9th gen desktop CPU lineup, including Core i9-9900K

The chips are built on an evolution of Intel’s 14 nm technology. There's still no trace of 10 nm.

Intel’s worst kept secret is finally out. The 9th Gen Core lineup, consisting of the Core i9-9900K, Core i7-9700K and Core i5-9600K have officially been unveiled at an event in New York.

As expected, all the leaks so far have proven to be accurate. The only variation is in pricing, with the new i5, i7 and i9 chips being priced a tad lower than originally expected.

Here’s the breakdown:

Intel Core i5-9600K

  • 6 cores, 6 threads
  • 3.7 GHz to 4.6 GHz (1 core)
  • 9 MB L3 Cache (1.5 MB per core)
  • 95 W TDP
  • MRP: $262

Intel Core i7-9600K

  • 8 cores, 8 threads
  • 3.6 GHz to 4.9 GHz (1 core)
  • 12 MB L3 Cache (1.5 MB per core)
  • 95 W TDP
  • MRP: $374

Intel Core i9-9900K

  • 8 cores, 16 threads
  • 3.6 GHz to 5 GHz (2 cores)
  • 16 MB L3 Cache (2 MB per core)
  • 95 W TDP
  • MRP: $488

As you can see, only the top-end Intel Core i9 chips have hyper-threading. In these configurations, Intel is offering fewer threads to users of older CPUs, but of course, these threads are much faster. Interestingly, the L3 caches are also smaller than last year, which may or may not have a performance impact.

The integrated graphics remain the same as last year’s offering.

The chips are still built on an evolution of Intel’s 4-year old 14 nm technology (Apple is on 7 nm, Qualcomm, Huawei, Samsung are on 10 nm). There’s still no trace of Intel’s vaunted 10 nm process.


Another relatively major update is that now the IHS (Integrated heat spreader) and CPU die are only separated by solder and not some cheap thermal interface, as offered by Intel on its older chips. The use of solder means that the chips will run cooler and will more easily dissipate heat, offering better overclocking potential.

The chips also feature mitigations for the Spectre/Meltdown bugs that so severely affected Intel’s CPUs. AnandTech goes so far as to speculate that Intel dumped HyperThreading (HT) to mitigate yet another vulnerability specifically affecting HT.

The new motherboards for the chips are interesting, at least. The Z390 boards, required for 9th gen chips, now support USB 3.1 Gen2 natively. Gen2 is twice as fast as normal USB 3, which is now classified as USB 3.1 Gen1. There’s also native support for 802.11 ac Wi-Fi.

The older Z370 motherboards will also support 9th gen CPUs, but only after a BIOS update.

Alongside these chips, Intel also announced new X series chips (essentially an evolution of 2015’s Skylake platform). These include the Core i9-9980XE (18C, 36T) for $1,979, Core i9-9960X (16C, 32T) fir $1,684 and so on. The cheapest option, the Core i7-9800X (8C, 16T) will sell at $589.

The new CPUs will be available from 19 October onwards.

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