Best Value: Intel Core i7-8700K vs i7-9700K vs i9-9900K (2020)

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Performance Winner
Intel Core i9-9900K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.0 GHz Turbo unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Best Price
Intel Core i7-9700K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 4.9 GHz Turbo unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Intel Core i7-8700K Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.7GHz Turbo Unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Model
Intel Core i9-9900K
Intel Core i7-9700K
Intel Core i7-8700K
Test Result
Test Result 9.8/10 Excellent April 2020
Test Result 9.7/10 Very Good April 2020
Test Result 8.9/10 Good April 2020
Manufacturer
Intel
Intel
Intel
Performance category
High end CPU segment
High mid-range CPU segment
Mid-range CPU segment
Cores
8 Cores / 16 Threads (3.60 GHz up to 5.00 GHz / 16 MB Cache)
8 Cores / 8 Threads (3.60 GHz up to 4.90 GHz / 12 MB Cache)
6 Cores / 12 Threads
Overclocking possible?
Hyperthreading possible?
First release date
Q4/2018
Q4/2018
Q4/2017
Max. RAM
DDR4-2666
DDR4-2666
DDR4-2666
Pros
  • Two more cores than previous top Coffee Lake CPU
  • Up to 128 GB RAM supported
  • 5GHz peak one-core clock for single-threaded apps
  • 8-cores / 16-threads
  • Soldered IHS
  • Great gaming performance
  • Great price-performance ratio
  • 4.7GHz single core
  • Unlocked multiplier
  • Solid for gaming and competent at productivity
Cons
  • Lacks stock cooler
  • Power consumption under heavy load
  • No heatsink included
  • No bundled cooler
  • Relatively expensive compared to other Intel CPUs
  • Z-series motherboard requirement
Recommended by us?
Performance Winner
Intel Core i9-9900K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.0 GHz Turbo unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Model
Intel Core i9-9900K
Test Result
Test Result 9.8/10 Excellent April 2020
Manufacturer
Intel
Performance category
High end CPU segment
Cores
8 Cores / 16 Threads (3.60 GHz up to 5.00 GHz / 16 MB Cache)
Overclocking possible?
Hyperthreading possible?
First release date
Q4/2018
Max. RAM
DDR4-2666
Pros
  • Two more cores than previous top Coffee Lake CPU
  • Up to 128 GB RAM supported
  • 5GHz peak one-core clock for single-threaded apps
Cons
  • Lacks stock cooler
  • Power consumption under heavy load
Recommended by us?
Best Price
Intel Core i7-9700K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 4.9 GHz Turbo unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Model
Intel Core i7-9700K
Test Result
Test Result 9.7/10 Very Good April 2020
Manufacturer
Intel
Performance category
High mid-range CPU segment
Cores
8 Cores / 8 Threads (3.60 GHz up to 4.90 GHz / 12 MB Cache)
Overclocking possible?
Hyperthreading possible?
First release date
Q4/2018
Max. RAM
DDR4-2666
Pros
  • 8-cores / 16-threads
  • Soldered IHS
  • Great gaming performance
  • Great price-performance ratio
Cons
  • No heatsink included
  • No bundled cooler
Recommended by us?
Intel Core i7-8700K Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.7GHz Turbo Unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Model
Intel Core i7-8700K
Test Result
Test Result 8.9/10 Good April 2020
Manufacturer
Intel
Performance category
Mid-range CPU segment
Cores
6 Cores / 12 Threads
Overclocking possible?
Hyperthreading possible?
First release date
Q4/2017
Max. RAM
DDR4-2666
Pros
  • 4.7GHz single core
  • Unlocked multiplier
  • Solid for gaming and competent at productivity
Cons
  • Relatively expensive compared to other Intel CPUs
  • Z-series motherboard requirement
Recommended by us?
i7-8700K vs i7-9700K vs i9-9900K

When building a PC especially for gaming and computing intense programs, there are three important factors to consider. Probably the most important factor is the speed and performance of your CPU, which determines how fast your PC can solve tasks in a computational way. The other two factors are your graphics card and RAM. There is always a dilemma between being able to play current games with high to ultra graphics settings with at least 60 FPS (or even 90 FPS for shooter games) and still having enough performance resources for the newest games coming out soon, while not overspending. With CPUs it is very easy to overspend as in the upper price range you pay exponentially more for just a slight performance increase. That’s the price of having the newest and cutting edge technology in your system that you have to pay.

Making your system future-proof while not overspending seems pretty tough, considering all the CPU options out there. But it is actually a straight forward and easy decision if you know what you want to do with your system.

To make the process easier this article only focuses on three solid Intel processors, the Intel Core i7-8700K, the Intel Core i7-9700K and the Intel Core i9-9900K. If you are interested in the best value AMD Ryzen CPUs check out our article on AMD CPUs.

Summary: Intel Core i7-8700K vs i7-9700K vs i9-9900K

Performance Winner
Intel Core i9-9900K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.0 GHz Turbo unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Best Price
Intel Core i7-9700K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 4.9 GHz Turbo unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Intel Core i7-8700K Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.7GHz Turbo Unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Model
Intel Core i9-9900K
Intel Core i7-9700K
Intel Core i7-8700K
Test Result
Test Result 9.8/10 Excellent April 2020
Test Result 9.7/10 Very Good April 2020
Test Result 8.9/10 Good April 2020
Manufacturer
Intel
Intel
Intel
Performance category
High end CPU segment
High mid-range CPU segment
Mid-range CPU segment
Cores
8 Cores / 16 Threads (3.60 GHz up to 5.00 GHz / 16 MB Cache)
8 Cores / 8 Threads (3.60 GHz up to 4.90 GHz / 12 MB Cache)
6 Cores / 12 Threads
Overclocking possible?
Hyperthreading possible?
First release date
Q4/2018
Q4/2018
Q4/2017
Max. RAM
DDR4-2666
DDR4-2666
DDR4-2666
Pros
  • Two more cores than previous top Coffee Lake CPU
  • Up to 128 GB RAM supported
  • 5GHz peak one-core clock for single-threaded apps
  • 8-cores / 16-threads
  • Soldered IHS
  • Great gaming performance
  • Great price-performance ratio
  • 4.7GHz single core
  • Unlocked multiplier
  • Solid for gaming and competent at productivity
Cons
  • Lacks stock cooler
  • Power consumption under heavy load
  • No heatsink included
  • No bundled cooler
  • Relatively expensive compared to other Intel CPUs
  • Z-series motherboard requirement
Recommended by us?
Performance Winner
Intel Core i9-9900K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.0 GHz Turbo unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Model
Intel Core i9-9900K
Test Result
Test Result 9.8/10 Excellent April 2020
Manufacturer
Intel
Performance category
High end CPU segment
Cores
8 Cores / 16 Threads (3.60 GHz up to 5.00 GHz / 16 MB Cache)
Overclocking possible?
Hyperthreading possible?
First release date
Q4/2018
Max. RAM
DDR4-2666
Pros
  • Two more cores than previous top Coffee Lake CPU
  • Up to 128 GB RAM supported
  • 5GHz peak one-core clock for single-threaded apps
Cons
  • Lacks stock cooler
  • Power consumption under heavy load
Recommended by us?
Best Price
Intel Core i7-9700K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 4.9 GHz Turbo unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Model
Intel Core i7-9700K
Test Result
Test Result 9.7/10 Very Good April 2020
Manufacturer
Intel
Performance category
High mid-range CPU segment
Cores
8 Cores / 8 Threads (3.60 GHz up to 4.90 GHz / 12 MB Cache)
Overclocking possible?
Hyperthreading possible?
First release date
Q4/2018
Max. RAM
DDR4-2666
Pros
  • 8-cores / 16-threads
  • Soldered IHS
  • Great gaming performance
  • Great price-performance ratio
Cons
  • No heatsink included
  • No bundled cooler
Recommended by us?
Intel Core i7-8700K Desktop Processor 6 Cores up to 4.7GHz Turbo Unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Model
Intel Core i7-8700K
Test Result
Test Result 8.9/10 Good April 2020
Manufacturer
Intel
Performance category
Mid-range CPU segment
Cores
6 Cores / 12 Threads
Overclocking possible?
Hyperthreading possible?
First release date
Q4/2017
Max. RAM
DDR4-2666
Pros
  • 4.7GHz single core
  • Unlocked multiplier
  • Solid for gaming and competent at productivity
Cons
  • Relatively expensive compared to other Intel CPUs
  • Z-series motherboard requirement
Recommended by us?

Best performance: Intel Core i9-9900K

Intel Core i9-9900K

Pros

  • Two more cores than previous top Coffee Lake CPU
  • Up to 128 GB RAM supported
  • 5GHz peak one-core clock for single-threaded apps

Cons

  • Lacks stock cooler
  • Power consumption under heavy load

Those who prefer to do some real shopping and then have years of peace and quiet will find their CPU in the form of the Intel Core i9-9900K. With 8 cores, which provide up to 16 threads per HT, a turbo clock of 5.0 GHz and an energy budget of 95 watts, this processor easily raises itself to the performance level of current high-end CPUs. The Core i9-9900K still achieves best rates in PC games in the PCGH CPU index.

Best price-preformance ratio: Intel Core i7-9700K

Intel Core i7-9700K

Pros

  • 8-cores / 16-threads
  • Soldered IHS
  • Great gaming performance
  • Great price-performance ratio

Cons

  • No heatsink included
  • No bundled cooler

With the Intel Core i7-9700K, Intel has entered the realm of eight-cores with the refresh of the Coffee Lake architecture in late 2018. The platform may not be quite dewy anymore, but the CPU still offers high performance ex factory and is still far ahead in games with its 4.9 GHz boost clock. If that isn’t enough for you, the CPU overclocks, which is easily possible thanks to the free multiplier. However, Intel hasn’t given the CPU an SMT, which makes it somewhat slower in applications than comparable CPUs. Our tip for pure gaming PCs!

Intel Core i7-8700K: Not recommended at same price as Intel Core i7-9700K

Intel Core i7-8700K

Pros

  • 4.7GHz single core
  • Unlocked multiplier
  • Solid for gaming and competent at productivity

Cons

  • Relatively expensive compared to other Intel CPUs
  • Z-series motherboard requirement

As there are no real performance and price benefits over the i7 9700K we do not see any need for this outdated CPU. In case of a drastic price change we might change our opinion, but considering that this CPU does not contribute to a futre-proof PC or computer, we cannnot recommend the i7 8700K.

Specifiactions & Price Range: Intel Core i7-8700K vs i7-9700K vs i9-9900K

Intel currently operates two large CPU categories for the normal user: Firstly, the 1151 v2 socket with the Core 8000- and 9000-series, whereby the latter is gradually replacing the former, and secondly the 2066 socket with the Skylake X processors for demanding home users and the professional sector. The Socket 2066 processors, including the Xeon offshoots, potentially offer more cores, support for quad-channel RAM, and more PCI-E lanes than the mainstream processors. CPUs for Socket 1151 v2 are based on the Coffee Lake architecture, which is based on the Sky and Kaby Lake architecture. Due to a high Pro-MHz performance and additionally a high turbo clock, the obsolete Coffee Lake processors can often place themselves at the top of our gaming performance index. November 2019 saw a further refresh for the HEDT series in the form of the Cascade Lake X processors, which however only represent a minimal clock upgrade to their direct predecessor.

All three Intel processors, the Intel Core i7-8700K, the Intel Core i7-9700K and the Intel Core i9-9900K, are based on a 300 series socket type (LGA1151), they all have capability of maximum 16 PCIe lanes, and they all have the same thermal design power of 95 Watts. All three CPUs are using an Intel UHD 630 graphics chip and support up to 64GB RAM. To be exact, they all support up to 3200MHz DDR4 RAM. All three are based on the Coffe Lake architecture and therfore have the same 14nm specifiaction.

Where the three processors differ from each other is in the clocking speeds that they can achieve in operating frequency (OF) and max turbo frequency (MTF). The i7 8700K has an OF of 3.7 GHz and an MTF of 4.7 GHz. The i7 9700K has an OF of 3.6 GHz and an MTF of 4.9 GHz, while the i9 9900K has an OF of 3.6 GHz and an MTF of 5.0 GHz. So not huge differences between the CPUs. But the biggest difference is in the core count, number of threads and the price, of course.

Peformance Benchmarks: 8700K vs 9700K vs 9900K

All these values sound great on paper but what do the clock speeds and max tubo frequencies actually mean for actual gaming and working performance? And do you even need that many cores?

As tests show, the new Ryzen 7 CPUs are only almost as good as Intel’s four-core models in terms of gaming performance, because the latter offer much higher clock speeds – currently still the decisive factor in games. However, gamers should not lose sight of the fact that it is primarily the graphics card that determines a high frame rate.

More CPU cores are also worthwhile for users who do a lot of multi-tasking, i.e. have many applications open in parallel. A typical scenario would be a setting with two monitors: On the main screen the game runs while on the other screen the browser is open, the voice chat tool is active and maybe even the game is recorded with another program or even streamed live. Also here, more than four cores make themselves felt extremely positively.

More than four CPU cores is also a good argument in favor of multimedia: So if you do a lot of 3D rendering and video editing (such as editing and coding) or often deal with high-resolution audio files, you will benefit from more cores instead of high clock rates. This is because these processes are multi-core optimized and always distribute the load over all available computing cores.

The folowing table shows the FPS (Frames per second) for each processor for different games.

Game Peformance
Full HD (FHD)
Assassin’s Creed OdysseyBorder-lands 3Civili-zation VI Gathering StormF1 2019Far Cry 5Forza Horizon 4Metro ExodusRed Dead Redemption 2Shadow of the Tomb RaiderThe Division 2
Intel Core i7-8700K82.7111.3106.8183.7148.3186.9101.292.4148.9143.5
Intel Core i7-9700K83.3113.3108.7191.0149.3187.2100.594.8151.5145.7
Intel Core i9-9900K86.3115.3112.5195.0154.8182.699.094.8155.2154.6
Game Becnhmark test

As the i7 8700K and the i7 9700K are still almost in the same price range and the i7 9700K is performing significantly better than the i7 8700K it is easy to rank the older model last as there doesn’t seem to be any benefit for it. Maybe if the price of the i7 8700K falls significantly in the future, you could could argue for a better price-performance ratio, but other than that you should not consider the i7 8700K until the market price changes.

This leaves us with the i7 9700K and the i9 9900K CPUs from Inte, which we tested in depth.

Performance rating

As expected, the Core i7 9700K lands in second place in the performance rating, the gap to the Core i9 9900K is only two percent in both the average fps and the minimum fps (respectively in the 99th percentile fps). The comparison to processors with fewer cores is also interesting at this point, especially in view of the question, what difference Hyper-Threading makes here in each case.

Thus, the Core i7 8700K with six cores and twelve threads has at least a slightly higher advantage over the Core i5 8400 with six cores and six threads in the 99th percentile fps than in the average fps. In comparison to the Core i7 7700K with four cores and eight threads and the Core i3 8100 with four cores and four threads, there are even bigger differences: In the average fps, the Core i7 is 26 percent ahead of the Core i3, but in the minimum fps it is a higher 32 percent.

The mentioned models with Hyper-Threading clock significantly higher under gaming load than the CPUs without Hyper-Threading. But the measurement results still support the (obvious) assumption that hyper-threading has a rather positive effect on processors with a lower core count, whereas there is hardly any effect on models with eight real cores, like the Core i7 9700K and the Core i9 9900K – at least in games, and it’s different in the application and streaming benchmarks.

While virtual core doubling in games makes practically no difference in the duel between the Core i7 9700K and the Core i9 9900K, it looks different in our application benchmarks. Here, the 9900K can usually distinguish itself quite comfortably from the 9700K.

Streaming Benchmark

The streaming via OBS to Twitch.tv in comparatively high quality settings represents the test discipline in which a high number of threads makes the biggest difference. Accordingly, the Core i7 9700K has to clearly leave points behind here in comparison to the Core i9 9900K.

Neither in 1280×720 (720p) nor in 1920×1080 (1080p) can it display a fluid image with 60 fps. The Core i9 9900K manages this without any problems at least in 720p and would also manage this in 1080p with slightly reduced image quality.

Clock throttling in detail

We have already noticed in the Core i9 9900K test that the CPU can’t permanently maintain its maximum boost clock of 4.7 GHz on all eight cores under heavy load. This is primarily due to the power consumption, which in this case is clearly above the official TDP of 95 watts.

Comparable also applies to the Core i7 9700K, whereby we’ll take a closer look at this phenomenon with three examples at this point. Basically, however, it should be noted that the TDP in Intel’s case refers to the given base clock and not to the turbo clock. Insofar the processors here behave as it corresponds to the framework of their specifications.

Intel uses re-soldered metal between the CPU die and the heat spreader in the Core i 9000 models, which should allow a better heat dissipation in comparison to the thermal compound, which is still used in the processors of the previous generations. The temperatures of the new eight-cores still turn out relatively high under high load, though. The i7 9700K without Hyper-Threading remains about five degrees cooler under gaming load than the i9 9900K (with the same cooler).

It is therefore advisable to provide a good cooling solution, especially if you plan to overclock the CPU via its free multiplier (for which a motherboard with a Z370 or Z390 chipset is required). However, there should not be too much room for maneuver anyway, since the 9700K, similar to the 9900K, is already working at its limits in factory condition.

Verdict: Intel Core i7-8700K vs i7-9700K vs i9-9900K

The Core i7 9700K proves to be the clearly more sensible choice in the test in comparison to the Core i9 9900K, especially from a gaming point of view. The lack of hyper-threading and the minimally lower clock rate finally don’t make a difference here at all.

However, if you consider that the advantage over considerably cheaper CPUs like AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700X or even the Core i5 8400 is manageable overall (and that it is even smaller if a slower graphics card or higher resolutions and detail levels than in our test are used), then in our opinion the Core i7 9700K can definitely be recommended in view of the price-performance ratio at the moment – although this may change with higher delivery quantities, but probably not before the second quarter of 2020 at the earliest.

Regardless of this, it is a very fast CPU. However, the Core i7 9700K is already working at its limits in factory condition, and a bit more time should pass until eight real cores in games will offer significant advantages over six (or even only four) cores.

The Ultimate CPU Guide

What is a processor? Simply explained

Each computer is clocked by a processor that processes the tasks assigned to it step by step. This article explains exactly what a processor is and what tasks in the computer it is responsible for.

Processor – the heart of the computer

The processor is the heart of a computer because it works in a regular rhythm. In general, the processor is also called the CPU (Central Processing Unit). The CPU is included in many electronic devices and serves as the central processing unit for processing instructions. Well-known processor manufacturers are Intel or AMD. If you are specifically interested in Intel CPUs, we can recommend our Intel Processor Comparison.

  • Clock frequency: Every processor has a rhythm, also known as clock frequency. The faster the clock frequency, the faster the processor can process instructions. A measure for the speed of the rhythms is Hertz. A hertz is one clock per second.
  • Cooling: High speeds of the clock frequencies cause large heat losses. The electronics in the processor can be damaged by the heat generated. In order to dissipate the heat, fans or water cooling systems are usually used.

Tasks of a processor: What does the CPU do?

Processors have certain tasks. Arithmetic operations must be performed and parts of the computer must be controlled. Data is entered, processed and output at the end. The processor can only process data as binary code. This means that the processor only understands zeros and ones. Therefore, every number or digit must be encoded in binary code.

  • Calculate: Each processor has a calculating device. Within the arithmetic unit, the processor carries out calculations. For example, a simple arithmetic operation would be 1+1 = 2, in which case the arithmetic unit outputs the number 2.
  • Control: A processor also contains a control unit. The control unit is responsible for the cooperation of the individual components in the processor. The control unit stores and reads data from the main memory and processes the inputs and outputs of peripheral devices (mouse, keyboard, etc.).
  • Bus system: Bus systems are used for data transfer between the various components of the computer.

Multi-core processors and Hyper-Threading

The performance of a processor core is physically limited and cannot be expanded at will. Therefore the clock frequency cannot be increased infinitely. In order to increase the performance nevertheless, processors can be interconnected without increasing the clock frequency.

  • Multi-core: Several processor cores are combined to form one processor. In this case, the manufacturer differentiates between single-core processors (single-core), dual-core processors (dual-core), quad-core processors (quad-core), six-core processors (hexa-core) and eight-core processors (octa-core).
  • Hz: High-performance processors operate in the GHz range. One CPU can perform 1 billion operations per second.
  • Multi-core processors are not only found in large devices such as notebooks or desktop PCs, but also in tablets and smartphones


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