Intel Unveils 9th Gen Processors, Takes Aim at AMD
Lane Long posted on October 17, 2018 |
Intel’s new 9thGen Core i9-9900k. (Image courtesy of Intel.)
Intel’s new 9thGen Core i9-9900k. (Image courtesy of Intel.)

Intel recently announced that the wait is over for its new 9th Gen core processors. Among other product releases at the company’s Fall Desktop Product Launch, the new processors come with a host of functional improvements from their predecessors. Officially dubbed the 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9900K, the new processors work with Intel’s existing 300-series motherboards and the newer Z390s. The release comes as Intel staves off an increasingly crowded field of competitors, led by rival AMD, for control of the gaming market.

Product Specs

The most obvious revolutionary characteristic of the i9-9900k is its core/thread makeup. It is the world’s first mainstream processor offering eight cores and 16 threads. Under normal operating circumstances, it runs at a frequency of 3.6 GHz but can do up to 5 GHz on one core if a workload is unusually heavy. At 16 MB, the i9 also offers greater L3 cache than the contemporary i5 or i7 releases due to its eight cores. Intel replaced its thermal grease with solder thermal interface material (STIM) to improve heat dissipation between the heat spreader and die. This allows the i9-9900k to operate at higher frequencies for longer periods of time.

Competitive Landscape

These upgrades, by Intel’s estimation, make the i9-9900k “the world’s best gaming processor.” There are those that would disagree with the industry leader on that point. In fact, the eight-core design is a direct response to AMD’s Ryzen processors, which revised expectations upward across the industry to eight-core models. Intel boasts an advantage over its competitors, AMD included, on a per-core basis. Leveling the playing field with an eight-core model is a major development.

Intel unveils the i9 processors, among other releases, last week in New York. (Image courtesy of Tom’s Hardware.)
Intel unveils the i9 processors, among other releases, last week in New York. (Image courtesy of Tom’s Hardware.)

Various outlets have also speculated that other improvements, like more robust packaging, were made in an attempt to eat away any advantages AMD—or other players—may have developed in the past two years. At $488, the i9-9900k is more expensive than any of its peers. Given the technical improvements, the elevated price tag is one the company will surely feel is justified. Time will tell whether the market agrees.

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