Intel i7-9700k vs i9-9900k Best CPU for Gaming in 2019

With Intel understanding that upgraded processors are essential to the performance of high-spec computers, they have made two powerful releases back on the 4th quarter of 2018. Both named Coffee Lake, being the 9th generation of processors, the Core i7-9700K and the Core i9-9900K are in for some speed-loving computer fans and geeks alike. Though released at the same time, these two have their strengths and weaknesses, as well as similarities and differences when it comes to results from tests conducted by various groups and enthusiasts. Let’s understand how both these processors fare when it comes to being the best CPU for gaming this 2019.

IntelIntel Core i7-9700K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 4.9 GHzBuy on Amazon|$363.99(Price as of 10/21/2019 21:00 ET)
IntelIntel Core i9-9900K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.0 GHzBuy on Amazon|$489.99(Price as of 10/21/2019 21:00 ET)

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Hyperthreading or None

Both processors are octa-core and can handle multitasking from browsing with different tabs open, to working on office tools, to using communication tools in the background, and even using a RAM-hungry software like video editors. But while both processors have the same number of cores, the difference between the two can be felt due to the number of threads available between the Core i7-9700K and the Core i9-9900K, with one being 8 and the other 16. With the i9 having twice as much threads per processor, it’s capable of hyper-threading, thus making multitasking a breeze, even when jamming up the computer with tons of data from simultaneous multi-software operations.

Maximum Boost

With the 9700K and the 9900K from i7 and i9 being sold in the market, both have a huge base frequency at 3.60 GHz each, making them faster than other processors even when performing at lowkey levels. The fun begins when the Intel Turbo Boost Technology kicks in to the processors, even getting more juice from the CPU by adding the Intel Thermal Velocity Boost. With these innovations applied, especially when the demand for more processing power is required, the i9 processor obviously performs more with over 5.00 GHz at maximum boost, compared to the i7’s 4.90 GHz; a small margin of difference to number specific junkies. However, that 0.10 GHz means a lot particularly when it comes to consumers who are willing to spend their buck for the best in the market.

SmartCache Availability

SmartCache is also lower with the i7 9700K having only 12MB while the 9900K has 16MB. With a bigger size for fast memory, the eight cores in the i9 could work faster with its architecture providing more room for share access to the cache. Though the gap between the two processors are pretty small at this point, it becomes a significant consideration when it comes to overall performance when looking into it as a whole, with two threads per core, along with the 5.00 GHz max boost speed for the 9900K. Though the i7 9700K seems defeated early at this point, do note that the pricing margin between these same-released processors is pretty steep that it becomes clear that the i7 would be a go-to choice for those who are looking for a processor that can deliver quality while addressing the limitations of a budget, being 25% cheaper at the market average.

RAM Support and Speed

As for RAM support, both Coffee Lake processors can accommodate up to a DDR4-2666 RAM with 128GBs of memory, with channels only good to two. Memory bandwidth is also similar with speeds that can transfer data of up to 41.6GB per second.

Graphics Display and Features

The good thing about these featured 9th generation processors is that they’re both given the ability to handle demanding graphics, with features that can bring the best out of modern technologies from high resolution rendering down to innovations in dedicated graphic cards. By default, even when there are no GPUs in place, both the Core i7-9700K and the Core i9-9900K can render graphics via the Intel UHD Graphics 630. Graphics support can handle 4K at 60 frames per second, varying on the setup for device interface. HDMI 1.4 can display 4K at 24Hz, while both the DP and eDP interfaces can display the same 4K quality but can cater into a max refresh rate of 60 Hz. When it comes to using gaming graphic technologies, both these processors from Intel can support DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.5 along with other specific Intel graphic features such as the Quick Sync Video, InTru 3D Technology, Clear Video HD Technology, and the Clear Video Technology. With that being said, the 9700K and the 9900K can deliver fast and quality turnaround for video conversion, stereoscopic 3D playback, decoding image processing for clearer images, vivid colors, and sharper images, which in turn will be taken advantage by video editing and publishing programs such as DaVinci Resolve or Adobe Premiere Pro

Overclocking Gap

Even though these processors are providing some of the best that speed has to offer, some enthusiasts are not as content and desire to overclock to get the most of their purchase. Yes, both can be overclocked with an additional 300MHz with the i9 9900K still being faster when it comes to effective speed. That’s the glory of assembling your own rig with either the Coffee Lake i7-9700K and i9-9900K in place. You get to maximize the performance of your processor with the optimum amount of RAM, the toughest chipsets available, as well as some of the most reliable graphics cards you could get your hands on. With the right peripherals gathered in one case, it’s the best scenario to test what both processors are capable of handling.

Power Consumption

If there’s one downside that the i9-9900K has against the i7-9700K, it would be power consumption. With 16 threads running on an octo-core processor, even capable of attaining a max speed of 5.00 GHz, do expect that it needs juice to run at its best performance. Even though both are operating on Thermal Design Power at 95 watts on optimal operation, overclocking and stress-testing both processors show that the i7-9700K consumes lesser load at against the i9-9900K, with the impact on using two threads for each of the eight cores.

Gaming Prowess

When it comes to using the Coffee Lake processors in playing video games, there’s just a little difference between the i7-9700K and the i9-9900K. However, if you’ll look closely at certain gaming titles that require processing demands through a CPU and the GPU, it can be somehow surprising of the fact that simultaneous multithreading technologies are not as advantageous, with the focus of operation only centered to the number of cores in total. In the case of the two Intel processors we’re comparing in this article, the i7-9700K performs better on an average frame rate against the i9-9900K playing some video games at 1080p, while there are also other games, where the frame rate of the 9900K leads a little. 1080p video games have that quality that optimizes DirectX, OpenGL, 3D rendering, as well as other elemental sprites without putting too much strain on processing units.

So in the aspects of pursuing a desktop build for gaming, the price difference between the i7-9700K and the i9-9900K means a lot because you will be able to purchase a processor that’s 25% cheaper for a feature that will not be utilized when you have both the CPU and the graphics card working together to render graphics that would create an amazing playing experience. Yes, simultaneous hyperthreading can only be applied for software that eat so much RAM and occupy so much resources, such as using heavy software for editing videos “and” audio, along with familiar software names like the Adobe suite of products.

Temperature Handling

But speeding and working up your processors over time has its issues, especially when it comes to temperature maintenance. And mind you, if you’re not conscious with your cooling system, you’ll end up busting whatever you’re doing, in a heartbeat. And upon purchase of either the two processors, there’s no inclusion of a heat sink nor a fan to cool things down. The i9-9900K, having more threads than the i7-9700K heats up to 60% faster than the lower end version. So, it’s like you’re not just placing your money in a processor, but you would also be spending a little more cash on cooling if you’re in for a hypethreader that doesn’t do much on gaming performance.

Which one’s best for gaming?

But when you’re putting multitasking to the test and you’re maxing out the capabilities of the i7-9700K and the i9-9900K, you’re divided into deciding as to which processor you’ll get based on your everyday activity. When your daily run consists of audiovisual work, along with browsing some sites, and editing documents while opening some tracking tools for your freelance work, that’s where the SMT-capable i9 will do its wonders. But if you’re into some basic stuff and then loading your FPS frenzy or some super-detailed RPG games, then it’s the i7-9700K for you.

As for pricing, one thing’s for sure. The latest Coffee Lake processors from Intel are more expensive than majority of the AMD Ryzen releases in the last couple of months, even the latest ones in the market. With that said, your purchase of either the i7-9700K or the i9-9900K will be based on your level of comfort with Intel vs AMD, as well as the capability of stretching your budget. So, with this one, your best bet for getting a better performing processor, is unexpectedly the cheaper i7-9700K.

IntelIntel Core i7-9700K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 4.9 GHzBuy on Amazon|$363.99(Price as of 10/21/2019 21:00 ET)
IntelIntel Core i9-9900K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.0 GHzBuy on Amazon|$489.99(Price as of 10/21/2019 21:00 ET)

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.