Intel announces Core i9-9900KS Special Edition CPU

There’s no question that AMD has gained ground in the home desktop market recently, but Intel is still sitting the throne for consumer gaming processors, and it’s taking a moment to celebrate by announcing a new version of its most powerful non-X processor to date. Meet the Intel Core i9-9900KS Special Edition processor.

If you want to really boil things down, this is essentially a binned 9900K. The KS can reach 5GHz turbo frequency across all eight cores, and has a base frequency of 4 GHz versus the 3.6 GHz of the 9900K. The chip also has 16 threads and 16MB of Intel Smart Cache like the 9900K. The 9900KS a much hungrier chip with a TDP of 127W versus the 9900K‘s 95W.

Salt Required

Intel drops a bunch of percentages to boast how the Core i9-9900KS compares to older systems, but make sure to read the fine print in the press release. For example, Intel says the 9900KS is 27% faster for simultaneous gaming, streaming, and recording compared to a “3-year-old PC.” By that it means a 6th-gen Intel Core i7-6700 running PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds at 1080p and measuring specifically by FPS. Intel also says that the 9900KS gets 35% more frames per second, and it’s 17% faster with 4K video editing compared to the last generation. Each of these claims has its own specification with it, so make sure to use plenty of salt when reading them.

The chip is, of course, compatible with existing Z390 boards. Intel also expects that if you’re buying a processor like this, you’ll want to overclock it and says as much in the official press release. As a binned chip, Intel will only have so many 9900KS chips; this chip is one to jump on if it fits your needs.

The Intel Core i9-9900KS is out this week. You can get it starting on October 30, and Intel says prices start at $513.

 

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Kretschmer
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Kretschmer

Still rocking my 7700K. I felt dumb buying it like a month before the 8X00 series came out, but it and its 1080Ti partner have held up really well. Photo editing is quick enough and the latest games like BL3 seem equally CPU and GPU limited.

Krogoth
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Krogoth

When PS5 and Xbox One’s Successor start to get significant momentum. The 7700K might start to show its age, but by then Zen3 and Alder Lake will be out by then. PCIe 5.0 will likely be the talk of the tech town. 😉

Kretschmer
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Kretschmer

I didn’t like it when AMD tried to sell over-overclocked chips with huge TDPs and dodgy benchmarks, and I equally don’t like it when Intel does so.

Spunjji
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Spunjji

AMD at least had the decency to be up front about the absurd TDP of their cranked-up Bulldozer. Intel are hiding behind the “stock clock” TDP on a CPU whose sole selling point is 5Ghz all-core turbo.

chuckula
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chuckula

Incidentally, the popular opinion that these are just re-binned 9900K parts is of course popular… and wrong.

You don’t get this result from doing a minor clock rebin of the same silicon as a 9900K:
https://openbenchmarking.org/embed.php?i=1910298-HU-COREI999064&sha=d473b09&p=2

Krogoth
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Krogoth

Intel marketing sure didn’t make any effort to advertise it though. The fixes are most likely a prototype for upcoming Comet Lake SKUs.

Thresher
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Thresher

Just about any 9900K will hit 5.0 Ghz across all cores. Just takes some decent cooling. Mine is sitting at 5 with nothing more than a Corsair H100i closed loop and it’s completely stable.

Krogoth
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Krogoth

It is more like ~70% of them are able to handle within stock voltage. The crappy yield might need a bit more voltage to get there. That’s assuming you have the cooling to handle it all.

9900KS SKUs are just able to get there without going heavy on the voltage which will make a bit more manageable on the thermals. Whatever it is worth that extra premium is another matter.

ColeLT1
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ColeLT1

5.1 @ 1.24v with custom loop, 5.1 avx (0 offset) and 5.1 cache. Runs cooler per core than my 7700k did on the same setup (games in 40s and 50s). I also have a 9700k on a hyper 212evo, 4.9 (-2 offset and 4.7 cache) all core on stock volts, any more and I hit a thermal wall on prime and x264 stability test.

ClickClick5
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ClickClick5

I’m still on my 5930k at 4.1Ghz and still yet don’t see or have a reason to upgrade. Which is actually kinda nice to the wallet. However, the “need” to upgrade scratch still remains.

Krogoth
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Krogoth

DOA, it doesn’t make any sense aside from Halo product non-sense. The rumored Comet Lake + 4xx series refresh (more PCIe lanes) is just around the corner.

Just do a little arm-chair overclocking on a 8600K/9600K to get nearly the same performance for most mainstream workloads. 9700K is on its coat-tails for about $150 less. Zen2 SKUs completely outpace the Coffee Lake R SKUs at real-world workloads. You need to get a least a Skylake-X SKU to get AVX512 support.

SMH at Intel marketing for being this silly. At least 8086K, had the whole anniversary of original 8086 gimmick behind it.

ermo
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ermo

So in summary, you’re not impressed?

Krogoth. Krogoth never changes.

Krogoth
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Krogoth

What is impressive about a re-release of an existing SKU sourced from slightly better yields?

ermo
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ermo

You might be interested to learn that the KS revision is apparently a minor revision, since it appears to have additional hardware mitigations in place for some of the speculative execution bugs compared to when the original K revision was relased (source).

Chuckula already linked the relevant benchmark in a different comment here, which shows a marked improvement in context switch times due to proper hardware mitigation being included this time around.

Krogoth
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Krogoth

Not worth it. Anybody worth their weight in salt that cares about Meltdown/Spectre and such have already moved away from Skylake derivatives if given the option. You can’t patch-up an unstable foundation.

Besides, that revision of the silicon is just a prototype for upcoming Comet Lake refresh.

psuedonymous
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psuedonymous

It serves exactly the same market segment as the i7-8086k did: pre-binned chips, but with a warranty from Intel rather than (e.g.) Silicon Lottery.

DeadOfKnight
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DeadOfKnight

From what I understand, more 9700K chips can run at 5GHz on all cores than 9900K chips, and it’s actually a better chip for games since there are almost no games that benefit from Hyperthreading on a chip with 4+ cores. In fact, there are many games that seem to react negatively to Hyperthreading being turned on. 8 cores is still overkill for most games. Very few games are just now getting better performance out of a 6-core processor. However, I guess an argument could be made for the future of gaming, as the next gen consoles will likely have… Read more »

Krogoth
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Krogoth

It is because HT requires a bit more juice and naturally generates more heat. I suspect a good number of 9700Ks are actually 9900Ks that ate too much power. Intel axed the HT to keep it somewhat more manageable plus it doesn’t have to worry about security issues related with HT.

chuckula
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chuckula

No cancellations no fanboy posts Intel!

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