Intel releases six more 9th-generation CPUs, most without graphics

At its CES 2019 keynote, Intel moved very fast. To be fair, the company had a lot to show—or at least, a lot to talk about. One of the first announcements that Intel SVP Gregory Bryant swiftly sped through was that the company just launched six new Core-series desktop CPUs. See for yourself:

New 9th-gen
Intel Core CPUs
Base CPU
clock speed
Peak single-
core turbo
Cores / 
TDP Last-level
Core i3-9350KF 4.00 GHz 4.60 GHz 4 / 4 91 W 8 MB DDR4-2400
Core i5-9400F 2.90 GHz 4.10 GHz 6 / 6 65 W 9 MB DDR4-2666
Core i5-9400 2.90 GHz 4.10 GHz 6 / 6 65 W 9 MB DDR4-2666 UHD 630
Core i5-9600KF 3.70 GHz 4.60 GHz 6 / 6 95 W 9 MB DDR4-2666
Core i7-9700KF 3.60 GHz 4.90 GHz 8 / 8 95 W 12 MB DDR4-2666
Core i9-9900KF 3.60 GHz 5.00 GHz 8 / 16 95 W 16 MB DDR4-2666

If you're wondering what the heck an "F" CPU is, don't feel bad—we didn't know either. As it turns out, the "F" designation indicates a processor with its integrated graphics disabled. The blinded versions of the Core i9-9900K, Core i7-9700K, and Core i5-9600K are nearly identical to their non-"F" variants aside from the missing graphics capability; the primary other difference is missing support for Intel's Transactional Synchronization Extensions (TSX-NI).

The actually new CPUs here are the Core i5-9400, Core i5-9400F, and Core i3-9350KF. The two Core i5s are the first multiplier-locked 9th-generation CPUs we've seen. As expected, they lose a fair bit of clock rate compared to the Core i5-9600K, but they also get to chop 30 watts off their TDP in exchange. Meanwhile, the Core i3-9350KF is a hot-clocked quad-core that seems to be aimed directly at enthusiasts and overclockers.

The decision to release a bunch of CPUs without integrated graphics is a curious one. It would be easy to point to the success of AMD's Ryzen processors—most of which lack integrated graphics—and suggest that Intel is simply playing "monkey see, monkey do," but that seems out of character for a company that traditionally has been a trend-setter, not a follower. Certainly there's little benefit to the end user in buying a CPU without graphics.

Intel says the new chips will be available starting this month, and that more processors—including additional H-series chips for laptops—will follow in Q2 of this year.

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