Intel Core i9 aims to deliver power
Updated: Jan 30, 2023 11:21 a.m.
The Intel Core i9 processor series consists of their best mainstream processors and showcases their generational flagships. These processors have the best specs Intel has to offer and only receive competition from AMD’s Ryzen 9 lineup.
Although Core i9 processors give you amazing performance, they are also a bit pricey, usually selling above the $500 price tag. You’d expect them to be good for gaming – and indeed they are – but are they worth their hefty price tag? Let’s find out.
Why is the Intel Core i9 processor good for gaming?
Core i9 processors are often the best mainstream processors available, as they are today. The current fastest gaming processor is the Core i9-13900KS, the Raptor Lake i9 recently released in the first quarter of 2023.
Here are some specifications to give you a better idea of what we are working with:
- Number of cores: 24
- Performance cores: 8 (Hyperthreading enabled)
- Efficiency Cores: 16
- Total number of threads: 32
- Cache: 68 MB
- P.Core base clock: 3.2 GHz
- P.Core Boost Clock: 5.4GHz
- P.Core Max Clock with Thermal Speed Boost: 6GHz
- E.Core base clock: 2.4 GHz
- E.Core Boost clock: 4.3 GHz
- Base TDP: 150 watts
- Max TDP: 320 watts (with Intel’s Extreme Power Delivery Profile)
- Socket: LGA 1700
As you can tell from the specs alone, Intel has spared no expense here to get the most out of the performance of the i9 flagship. The i9-13900K may also be of interest.
Intel Core i9-13900K
3GHz P-cores / 2.2GHz E-cores
increase the speed
5.8 GHz P-cores / 4.3 GHz E-cores
Industry-leading clock speeds
Intel’s processors generally tend to have higher maximum clock speeds than AMD’s. And the Core i9 series of processors have the highest clock speeds of any Intel offering.
In other words, Core i9 processors dominate the processor industry with their record clock speeds. The 13900KS is the first i9 processor to break the 6 GHz clock speed barrier at stock values.
This results in amazing gaming performance since games achieve most of their performance on a few threads. The higher your CPU’s boost clock, the more FPS it can deliver under CPU-bound workloads.
High number of cores/threads
A high core/thread count is not essential in a gaming CPU for the same reason I shared above. Games these days certainly can’t use the 32 threads offered by the i9.
Still, the extra threads are certainly nice to have and help multitask or run additional apps in the background without a noticeable performance hit.
Core i9 processors are equipped with a decent amount of cache. The 13900KS, for example, has 64MB of cache, which is a great amount to have. Only a few select processors currently have more cache.
Is an Intel Core i9 processor right for me?
Although Core i9 processors are great for gaming, they are also very expensive. And they don’t necessarily give you the best value if all you care about is games.
A Core i9 processor is best suited for people who engage in streaming, content creation, or productivity work in addition to gaming. The Core i9 can be somewhat overkill for gaming, especially due to its high core and thread count.
If you don’t mind spending more to build the best gaming rig money can buy today, definitely go for an i9 processor. The 13900KS is currently the best, although the i9-13900K is also a solid option.
If you’re more interested in a range of processors that can give you high-end gaming performance at a much lower price, you can opt for an i5 or i7 processor instead.
Also keep in mind that it is better to get a newer i5 or i7 than an older i9. While i9 processors are best in class, and even the older i9-7700K is a powerful processor, you’ll find better value in newer hardware.