Intel fills out its roster of ninth-generation desktop and mobile Core CPUs

As it happens, it's not just Nvidia that's popping out some new products this week. With relatively little fanfare, Intel's dropped the rest of the ninth-generation Core series on us yesterday. That includes the remainder of the current series' desktop lineup—mostly multiplier-locked and lower-end chips—as well as a full lineup of laptop processors. Let's have a look at the mobile parts first.

Intel's launching six new mobile Core processors, all from the Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9 families. The segmentation is fairly straightforward. All six chips have Hyper-Threading enabled, and the core counts scale evenly up the range: Core i5s have four cores, i7s have six cores, and i9s have eight cores. Surprisingly, all the ninth-generation mobile Core processors come stamped with a 45 W TDP even though the top-end model, the unlocked-for-overclocking Core i9-9980HK, sports 16 threads, 16 MB of L3 cache, and a maximum single-core turbo clock of 5 GHz.

The two new Core i9 CPUs include support for Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB). To recap, Intel describes TVB as "a feature that opportunistically increases clock frequency above single-core and multi-core Turbo Boost Technology frequencies based on how much the processor is operating below its maximum temperature and whether turbo power budget is available." If that sounds familiar, it's because it's an analog to AMD's eXtended Frequency Range (XFR) functionality. In practice, it means these chips could run 200 MHz faster than advertised as long as they're under 50°C. That low a CPU temperature seems unlikely in a gaming laptop under a heavy load, but TVB should  kick in often enough when the processor's not too busy.


On the desktop side, there are a lot more new chips. Multiplier-locked versions of the Core i9-9900K, Core i7-9700, and Core i5-9600—processors that in past days would have been suffixed with an "S" indicating their 65 W TDP—come along with a pile of Core i3 CPUs. Intel is also launching a series of 35-W "T" processors, and a number of new Pentium Gold and Celeron chips. You can see the new desktop CPUs highlighted in yellow on a darker blue background above and below.

As seen before with the Core i3-9350KF, it seems the entire ninth-generation Core i3 family is equipped with Turbo Boost. Core i3 CPUs historically didn't have Turbo and simply ran at their full speed any time they were not idling. Now, it seems "Core i3" has become shorthand for "quad-core" in the new lineup. The core count pattern is the same as with the laptop chips: Core i5s have six cores and Core i7s have eight. Unlike the mobile processors, though, Hyper-Threading is all but completely absent here outside of the top-end Core i9 CPUs.

Stepping down from the Core i-series chips, it looks like the Pentium Gold and Celeron processors still haven't gotten the Turbo Boost treatment. This area is pretty clearly segmented too, for once: Pentium Gold chips are dual-core chips with Hyper-Threading, while Celerons do without the feature.

Interestingly, all of the above processors have gained Optane Memory support. It's not the higher-end version of the feature that allows Optane DIMMs; rather, Intel is simply no longer preventing folks buying budget CPUs from pairing said chips with Optane M.2 drives intended for disk caching. That's a nice little win, as we've always felt that technology was best-suited for ultra-low-cost machines anyway.

As usual, Intel lays out recommended customer prices for all of the desktop CPUs. Going over the list, there really aren't any surprises here; everything is pretty much in line with the pricing established by the already-released ninth-generation chips. You can probably expect the street prices on the low-power "T"-chips to be higher than recommended owing to their relative rarity. It will be interesting to see what effect AMD's third-generation Ryzen processors have on these prices when they launch later this year.

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