Today has been a busy and important day for Intel, with the announcement of the latest 9th Gen CPU lineup. This new lineup of CPUs offers up to 8 Cores with the enthusiast CPU, i9 9900K. PC gamers and builders will be happy to hear that the 9th Gen supports backward compatibility with the previously released Z370 motherboards for the i7 8700K. That being said there will be a new chipset launched dedicated to the full support and additional features, the Z390 chipset. The flagship for this gen is the i9 9900K which boasts an impressive 8 cores, 16 threads and 5GHz boost clock. Overclocking potential is still to be realised but with soldered IHS we might see some very impressive overclocking potential! Some overclockers have already boosted the Core i9 9900K to 6.9GHz with liquid nitrogen!
Motherboards and Z390
There have been reports and leaks for months now that Z390 was being released inline with the Coffee Lake refresh and to support the i9 9900K launch. Many motherboard manufacturers have been reporting that these boards have been ready for a while. That may explain why we already have a large list of confirmed Z390 motherboards for the i9 9900K, last I checked there were around 60 new motherboards to hit the market over the next 6 weeks! That is a stark contrast to previous launches where we would only have a handful of motherboards to choose from on launch day.
If you already have a Z370 motherboard then I would avoid an instant upgrade to Z390, just wait and see if there is a need is my advice. Unless you need one of the additional features! Z370 owners will need to upgrade there BIOS for 9000 series support but that shouldn’t be too problematic. The Z390 is more or less a refresh of the Z370 chipset but with a handful of added features and upgrades – USB 3.1 10 Gbps ports, 802.11ac Wifi onboard etc.
We will be posting an overview for the best Z390 motherboard for i9 9900K in the coming weeks, so come back to keep updated on that!
More Cores, Less Threads
Reviews of the Coffee Lake refresh are embargoed until October 19th, that includes benchmarks and live demos of all 9th Gen Intel CPUs. Something that many reviewers have been wary about as it might point to some lesser than expected performance increases, specifically for the i5 9600k and i7 9700k. The i5 9600K has the same amount cores as the previous 8th Gen model and a slightly higher boost speed. The more controversial move is with the i9 9700K which sees an increase in core count but a sharp drop in threads with the complete removal of hyperthreading. It will be very interesting to see if this has an impact on gaming and general benchmarks.
The flagship i9 9900K comes in with its 8 cores, 16 threads and 5Ghz boost clock which Intel are claiming to be the “best CPU for gaming” and provides a 10% increase on the previous generation. Not groundbreaking, but they are reporting a 37% increase in gaming PCs built 3 years ago.
Should you pre-order?
As with everything my motto is to never pre-order until reviews and benchmarks are public from sources that you trust. The same is true today, don’t pre-order, yet.
I will more than likely do an upgrade but I certainly won’t be pre-ordering. This website although very popular doesn’t get hardware for review so I will be waiting till the full launch to buy, test and review myself.