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

Conclusion

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

Conclusion

The 9th Generation of Intel CPUs has taken the increased core count we saw from the 8th Generation and pushed it a little further. The Intel Core i9-9900K now has eight core and sixteen threads to help your system work as quickly as possible, whilst doing so on the Z platform with which so many of us are familiar.

Starting off with the Z390 on the Strix-E motherboard we've used for our initial testing today, there are three Intel based additions and a few ASUS ones too. So the Z390 now has chipset based USB 3.1 Gen2 support letting you connect the very highest bandwidth devices and maximise their potential. Additionally Intel have come up with their own 5Gb/s AC dual WiFi so that our modern wireless world can be brought to the desktop without relying upon the motherboard manufacturers to add this on. Lastly the constant improvements to IMCs enables the DDR4 to run at ever increasing speeds, now another notch faster than that on the Z370. When this is combined to the upgrades ASUS have made to their own technologies it's clear that whilst you could potentially install a Intel Core i9-9900K into your existing Z370 motherboard, to make the fullest use of all it has to offer and eliminate any potential compatibility problems, going all in on the Z390 is the way to go.

As for the Intel Core i9-9900K itself it feels both familiar and yet new. As a revision to the Coffee Lake processors which were the latest in an unbroken lineage of Intel designs stretching back to the Sandy Bridge, the Intel Core i9-9900K and the way you have to overclock it is like getting a brand new jumper of the same design as your old favourite. It's comfortable, and yet a little tighter and more finely crafted. The move to eight cores had us concerned that the Intel Core i9-9900K would follow the usual market pattern that the more cores you have the lower the clock speeds have to be to handle it, but in actual fact the i9-9900K not only shifts along at the thick end of 4 GHz at stock, but easily handled 5 GHz on all eight cores. The results naturally bore out what it's like to have so much horsepower at your disposal and the Intel Core i9-9900K regularly matched the ten core i9-7900X. 

Naturally an increased core count has come with an increased price tag. The i9-9900K might not quite be as wince inducing as the X299 processors, but it's also not as easily affordable as the 'top of this generation' quad cores of old were. Nor would we expect it to be and anyone who bemoans this price hike clearly doesn't understand how much extra the i9-9900K has to offer. If you think of it as two i7-7700Ks then suddenly that price doesn't seem as bad. Plus, of course, you're not obliged to go for the flagship model and other CPUs with prices more in line with the quad core stuff that came before are going to appear.

If you have even the slightest interest in getting the maximum bang for your buck, but on a platform which is as familiar and easy to use as all the Z series have been, then the Intel Core i9-9900K should have you running to your bank manager for a temporary funding boost. It has the huge level of performance you would expect from 16 threads running at 5 GHz, whilst also having the gaming prowess for which Intel are famed. It is uncompromising and worthy of our OC3D Performance Award.

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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