Intel i5-9600k vs i9-9900k Best CPU for Gaming in 2020

With the introduction of AMD Ryzen in 2017, Intel was forced to come back from its long leave of inactivity. That prompted Intel to produce more processors with new core designs and better core-counts.

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IntelIntel Core i5-9600KCheck Price on Amazon
IntelIntel Core i9-9900KCheck Price on Amazon

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When AMD pushed the stakes for multi-core processors higher, Intel responded with its 6-core and 8-core processors, pushing the price of Core i3-8350K lower. Now, the i5-9700k and i9-9900k are top-performing processors with multiple cores, giving gamers the required level of speed they need. Our interest is on the features of these two processors with a focus on their differences.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Is i9 faster than i5?

    Yes, i9 is faster than i7 which is faster than i5. The i9 comes with 16 threads and 8 cores while i5 has 6 cores and 6 threads. Obviously, i9 will be faster.

  2. Is i5 9600k good for gaming?

    Yes, the i5-9600k CPU does a great job when it comes to gaming because of its high clock frequencies.

  3. Is the i9 9900k worth it for gaming?

    Although it’s more expensive, it offers the best gaming experience for those looking for high performance. If you want improved clock speed and top-level performance, the i9-9900k is worth it.

  4. Is 6-core suitable for gaming?

    Yes, 6 cores processor is far better than quad-core processors and can serve for all types of games.

I5-9600k vs i9-9900k Best CPU for Gaming comparison

Core i5-9600K and Core i9-9900K have some similarities but both Intel processors have their differences too. They are measured in the multiplier lock state, cache size, manufacturing process, numbers of threads, as well as numbers of cores.

The Intel Core i5-9600K is a 6-core processor that is designed for gaming experts who know how to tweak hardware to get more performance out of their systems. But i9-9900k even has more cores and threads, making it better in terms of performance.

As an experienced gamer, performance matters a lot, but there are other considerations to make, such as the price. So, we will take you on a tour to compare the differences between these two processors. In the end, you will be well informed to choose the ideal CPU for your gaming needs.

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I5-9600k vs i9-9900k Best CPU for Gaming – Features

Both processors come packed with impressive features, but the i9 model has more improved features than the i5 model. While i5 comes with 6 cores and 6 threads, the i9 9900K processor has 8 cores ad 16 threads.

I5-9600k is equipped with Intel UHD graphics 630, supports Intel Optane memory, and compatible with 300 series chipset motherboards. It also has 9 MB cache and 3.70GHz which can reach up to 4.6GHz on turbo boost technology.

On the other hand, Intel i9-9900k has Intel UHD graphics 360, 16 MB cache, and 3.60 GHz that reaches up to 5.00 GB on turbo boost technology. And just like the i5-9600k model, the i9-9900k processor supports Optane memory and is only compatible with motherboards that are based on Intel’s 300 series chipsets.

I5-9600k vs i9-9900k Best CPU for Gaming – performance

Intel’s i5-9600k offers 200MHZ higher all-core frequency, 300MHz higher maximum boost frequency, and 100MHz higher base frequency. The TDP, thread count, and core count are different from i9-9900k.

When you combine either of i5-9600k or i9-9900k with similar software, the i9-9900k will always carry the day in terms of performance. But you could get close or even better performance with i5-9600k against i9-9900k if the graphics card and software for the former is higher than that of the latter.

However, if you are a gamer who does not use more than 1920×1080, i5-9600k will be okay for you. But if most of your workloads are threaded, including productivity and content creation, i9-9900k will give you better performance.

Intel uses the 14nm++ process to manufacture its i5-9600k processor. Additionally, the processor supports dual channels of DDR4-2666 memory, unlocked ratio multipliers for good overclocking, and an integrated UHD 630 graphics engine. These features are in addition to the 6 executive cores without threading technology.

In terms of heat transfer, the solder-based thermal interface helps a lot to keep the temperature low. This will facilitate higher frequencies, whether you are using all 6 cores or one core.

The only issue with this processor is the peak power consumption that sometimes causes extremely high temperatures.

However, the i5-9600k does not need extreme cooling like i9-9900k because the level of performance does not leave the system too hot.

When we tested the i5 processor for its temperature level in five hours, it maintained 64°C  during non-AVX tasks and 80°C for AVX tasks.

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I5-9600k vs i9-9900k Best CPU for Gaming – overclocking

Although the i9-9900k processor does better than the i5-9600k processor in terms of overclocking, you could get close to the 5.00GHz turbo boost level on i5-9600k if you make use of a more advanced liquid cooler.

The real benefit you will derive from playing games with an overclocked processor is not that tangible. From our tests with different games, the only one that showed a noticeable improvement from an overclocked CPU was Warhammer II. So, if you are looking to improve the gaming performance through overclocking, that may not be a big target. You are only likely to gain a couple of frames, which will not add much in gaming performance. So, if better overclocking features is one of the reasons you want to have i9-9900k over i5-9600k, we advise you to look at other more important reasons.

I5-9600k vs i9-9900k Best CPU for Gaming – Design

One area where Intel has not exercised its dominance is on the area of integrated graphics. The CPU manufacturing company does not pay much interest in this area, which is why both the i5-9600 and i9-9900 have the same integrated graphics. Generally, both come under the 8+2 generation.

But there is a slight difference here. While the i5-9600 version comes with UHD graphics 630, the i9-9900 is equipped with the UHD Graphics 360. Both of these integrated graphics have similar performance levels.

Intel’s i9-9900k is designed around the Coffee Lake model. Since the i9 processor has not had any major architectural changes, it’s safe to say they are merely a refreshed version of the 8th generation processors. However, the i9 processor’s design is set out a bit differently.

Another very interesting feature of the new 9th Gen CPU is the L3 cache per core for different models. While the Intel i5 core has 1.5 MB of L3 cache per core, its i9 counterpart has the full cache, which adds a bit of performance on the i9 model.

The major difference between i5-9600k and the new i9-9900k is the increase in threads and cores, which has impacted on performance.

But the i9 model still comes with the 14-nanometre design just like i5-9600k. So, if you are looking for a very significant change from the i5-9600k version, you may be disappointed. Your main interest is on the improvement in performance, which you will surely get with the new i9-9900k processor.

However, with 5GHz boosted speed, the i9-9900k comes with the highest boosted speeds of all types of Intel Core processors.

And with the expanded overclocking features, you can easily boost performance even if you feel the 5GHz turbo boost speed will not be sufficient for you.

I5-9600k vs i9-9900k Best CPU for Gaming – Cooling technology

It’s interesting to note that the i9 CPU is using the Solder Thermal Interface Material (STIM) for its manufacturing process, instead of the usual thermal past manufacturing process used an i5-9600k.

With the STIMs, there will be fewer shutdowns because of high temperatures. The power of i9-9900k means that there will be constant overheating, but the new technology has significantly reduced the overheating frequency.

While we were running the Cinebench multi-threat test, the i5-9600k reached a power consumption of 120.2W while that of i9-9900k reached a figure of 207.3W.

That means that if you are going to use the i9-9900k processor for the high-end games that require high power consumption, you have to spend well to buy a more powerful fan. Despite the STIM technology Intel is using for the i9-9900k processor, it’s still suffering overheating in some of our testings. So, you will need to get a powerful fan to help minimize the temperature levels of the CPU.

However, you won’t have such issues with i5-9600. Although the temperature can reach some high levels, the fans will be enough to curtail its rise.

The overheating issue is not because of the i9-9900k processor design. It’s because the processor is a powerful CPU that requires an ultra-powerful cooler to maintain its high temperature.

There was a time Intel declared the i9-9900k as the “world’s best gaming desktop processor”. That was when the processor was launched, and till today many gamers still think it’s true.

The CPU has posted improved results better than the i5-9600k and better than the i7-8700k processor.

However, others would be skeptical to give the processor such a price tag, because it may not be the best value for money. If you are looking for a processor that will give you the right value for money, we should be talking about the i5-9600k. It may not offer the same level of performance as the i9-9900k, but the difference in price is way more than their difference in performance.

That said, when you opt for i5-960k, you will lose out on media-editing workloads and excellent multi-core performance of the i9-9900. The improved multi-core performance will come in handy in complex strategy titles such as Total War and Civilization Titles.

ProductBrandNamePrice
IntelIntel Core i5-9600KCheck Price on Amazon
IntelIntel Core i9-9900KCheck Price on Amazon

* If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.