Intel i5 9600K and i7 9700K Review
Published: 7th December 2018 | Source: Intel | Price: |
There are so many processors on the market these days that how suitable a particular model is to your setup depends upon your requirements. In fact, it's vital that you're honest with yourself as to your usage so as to ensure maximum enjoyment. It would be easy to sit down and want a 7980XE or i9-9900, but if you're not planning on doing heaps of video editing or 3D modelling, then it's money that can be better spent elsewhere in your system. Similarly if you think you're only going to game but end up wanting to share highlights of your exploits and have only grabbed a non-threaded quad core you're going to spend a huge amount of time twiddling your thumbs waiting for the encoding to finish.
The two models we have today are what most consumers should realistically decide between. Without the hyperthreading onboard the price becomes relatively affordable, whilst also allowing you to overclock them pretty hard. The i5-9600K overclocks fairly well across its six cores, just a hair under the magical 5 GHz barrier. The i7-9700K, on the other hand, was an absolute monster. Eight cores are enough to handle almost anything you'll throw at it, and running them all at 5.2 GHz allowed the 9700K to challenge some of the most costly processors in our graphs. Yes, most games and a fair few applications only utilise two or maybe four cores, but the ability to have something intensive running in the background and still have enough horsepower to game whilst you wait is the forte of these two 9th Generation processors.
It used to be - back when a quad-core CPU was the best most of us could hope for, and the six core models were the stuff of lottery win dreams - that there was always a compromise to be made when choosing the processor for your platform. Now, as both Intel and AMD have worked out how to squeeze a lot of cores onto a relatively small die, so even mainstream CPUs have enough cores to deal with our ever-increasing appetite for digital media. The combination of supremely capable smart phones in our pockets, handling umpteen pixel photographs and at least 1080p video mean that even an average user deals with more video and photo editing than ever before, whilst the affordability of content creation tools and platforms upon which to share our talents allows bedroom musicians and DeviantArt-ists to utilise their computers as a source of income. Suddenly having six or eight cores at your disposal feels necessary, rather than extravagant.
Of course, if you're planning to solely game, with no interest in doing anything other than browse, game, browse, game some more, then maybe these are a step ahead of what you require. Our gaming benchmarks show than even a good dual core CPU will have enough performance to feed your GPU. But, as we said above, you'll find you use more cores than you might imagine, so whilst a high-end 12 thread or more processor might be overkill, it is worth investigating the Intel Core i5-9600K and Core i7-9700K. You'll find them both to be more than capable performers with the overclocking insanity available on the i7-9700K in particular leaving many a jaw on the floor.