Intel Core i9-9900K and ASUS Z390 Strix-E Review

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Intel Core i9-9900K and ASUS Z390 Strix-E Review

Introduction

The 8th Generation of Intel CPUs marked a big change in the Intel ethos. Until then we had two distinct types of CPU. The flagship models with multiple cores and slightly compromised clock speeds sat at the peak of the Intel range on quad-channel DDR boards, whilst the mainstream processors were usually quad core or quad core with hyperthreading, and sat on the mid-range dual channel motherboards. Most of us owned the latter, as the price gap between them was such a chasm it made it difficult to step across unless you absolutely had to get the bigger core offering for a specific task.

However, the 8th Generation increased the core count and, with the excellent feature set of the Z370 chipset, sat somewhere between the 7th Gen CPUs and those aforementioned flagship ones. For numerous reasons - the prevalence of HD video on our phones, the popularity of streaming, the rise of photo-based social media - more and more of us require faster CPUs with higher core counts to speed up our workflow and the tasks which were previously the preserve of specialists are now part of our daily usage. Thus the 8th Gen CPUs proved incredibly popular.

Intel have seen the huge sales of the 8th Gen CPUs and taken that high core, high clock speed ethos and really gone to town with it on the newest 9th Generation of Intel Core CPUs, and that's what today's review is all about. We have the range-topping Core i9-9900K in our sweaty mitts, offering 5 GHz across 8 cores and 16 threads, it certainly promises to provide excellent performance without needing to break into the pricing realms of the high end X299 CPUs. As well as a new processor the 9th Generation sees the launch of the latest Intel chipset, the Z390, and we'll be using the ASUS Z390 Strix-E as our motherboard for the first performance results on the i9-9900K.

Technical Specifications

One thing which has quickly become apparent as we approached the launch date is that the concept of needing a new motherboard, the Z390, to run the i9-9900K isn't strictly the case. Certainly some features are only available on the newest chipset, and you'll have to have one of the latest Z370 motherboards and a BIOS patch to run the 9th Gen, but it is possible. Which might help those of you who've only recently adopted a Z370 motherboard manage to upgrade for less.

Intel Core i9-9900K and ASUS Z390 Strix-E Review  

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Most Recent Comments

19-10-2018, 10:10:32

AngryGoldfish
Very impressive performance. I mean, it's not surprising given the core count, clock speed, and price, but it's great to finally see that kind of performance on the 'mainstream' platform. Buying this over the 8700K or 9700K for gaming doesn't make very much sense (even over the 9600K), but still, it's a very powerful processor and handily beats AMD in all tasks. Zen 2 will need to bring the pain.

Thanks very much for the review. Excellent work.Quote

19-10-2018, 10:16:49

AlienALX
Honestly at this price I would expect everything. Not just a cardboard cop out reviewer's edition and then tray OEM for retail.

I know none of it matters, but it kinda does. If you are charging a premium people expect a premium product. It's kinda compounded by the fact that it does nothing the 2700x can't do. Sure it may do it a little faster but at that price?

CPUs are just not important. Not any more. You could still run games on an old quad core S775 and people know this because there are many Youtubers still building rigs like that.

I used to love Intel launches but over the past few years there have simply been far too many and all of the excitement has evaporated.

I also have a feeling AMD may respond with some sort of 2800x, but we'll see. Right now if I were them? I wouldn't bother.

Thanks for the review Tom.Quote

19-10-2018, 10:46:30

AngryGoldfish
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienALX View Post
Honestly at this price I would expect everything. Not just a cardboard cop out reviewer's edition and then tray OEM for retail.

I know none of it matters, but it kinda does. If you are charging a premium people expect a premium product. It's kinda compounded by the fact that it does nothing the 2700x can't do. Sure it may do it a little faster but at that price?

CPUs are just not important. Not any more. You could still run games on an old quad core S775 and people know this because there are many Youtubers still building rigs like that.

I used to love Intel launches but over the past few years there have simply been far too many and all of the excitement has evaporated.

I also have a feeling AMD may respond with some sort of 2800x, but we'll see. Right now if I were them? I wouldn't bother.

Thanks for the review Tom.
High FPS gaming (90+) still benefits noticeably with a modern Intel CPU. For me personally, my sweet spot is 90 FPS. That would be easier to hit with my graphics card if I had an 8700K instead of a 1600X. Much easier. The problem is, I don't want to support Intel. Also, I haven't played a game in almost a year.Quote

19-10-2018, 17:08:43

Zoot
5GHz single core and 4.7GHz all core was always going to make it top dog in pretty much everything.


It's an extremely impressive processor, with the single threaded and multi-threaded grunt. There always was a compromise between the two, but this one really does away with that.


Problem with me though is I'm a bit of a cheap-ass, I figure if I'm not going to notice the performance difference then there's not much point in spending the extra cash.


My 6700k will probably have to last me for another year or longer with buying a house. However 60FPS in games is fine for me though, so I'd be fine on lots of CPUs now which is such a nice change from 3/4 years ago.Quote

19-10-2018, 17:19:39

AlienALX
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngryGoldfish View Post
High FPS gaming (90+) still benefits noticeably with a modern Intel CPU. For me personally, my sweet spot is 90 FPS. That would be easier to hit with my graphics card if I had an 8700K instead of a 1600X. Much easier. The problem is, I don't want to support Intel. Also, I haven't played a game in almost a year.
How many monitors are 90hz though? Most would be 60 or 70.

Sure, if you bought one of those 144hz monitors it may benefit you, but most big games are designed to run much lower any way. Like, in my instance I can not actually run the games I play at 90hz because they break.

I don't understand this obsession with high FPS. I really thought my Xbox was going to absolutely and utterly suck at sub 30 but it is perfectly fine.

Big problem of course is could this CPU maintain a game at 90 FPS? I highly doubt that.Quote
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