Intel Announces 5.0 GHz Core i9-9900KS, Unveils More 10nm Ice Lake Details

In a bit of pre-keynote excitement, Intel dropped the barest of details about its new Special Edition Core i9-9900KS processor during its Computex Kickoff Event. Intel's new Core i9-9900KS is an eight-core 16-thread model that boosts to 5.0 GHz on all cores - a leap of 300 MHz over the standard Core i9-9900K. It also features a 400MHz higher base frequency of 4.0 GHz. Credit: Tom's HardwareCredit: Tom's Hardware

Intel also unveiled performance results for its 10nm Ice Lake processors that are coming to market this year, claiming impressive performance gains in both graphics and AI workloads. The company also claims Ice Lake's integrated Gen11 Graphics will take the performance crown from AMD's APUs, and provided some of its own internal benchmarks to back its claims. 

Intel Core i9-9900KSCredit: Tom's HardwareCredit: Tom's Hardware

Like the Core i9-9900K before it, the -9900KS comes with Intel's a translucent plastic dodecahedron packaging, which means it won't come with a bundled cooler.


Core i9-9900KS
Core i9-9900K
Core i7-9700K
Architecture
Coffee Lake
Coffee Lake
Coffee Lake
Socket
1151
1151
1151
Cores / Threads
8 / 16
8 / 16
8 / 8
Base Frequency (GHz)
4.0
3.6
3.6
Boost Frequency ( Active Cores - GHz)
1-2 Cores - 5.0
4 Cores - 5.0
8 Cores - 5.0
1-2 Cores - 5.0
4 Cores - 4.8
8 Cores - 4.7
1 Core - 4.9
2 Core 4.8
4 Core 4.7
8 Core 4.6
L3 Cache
16MB
16MB
12MB
Process
14nm++
14nm++
14nm++
TDP
?
95W
95W
Memory Speed
DDR4-2666
DDR4-2666
DDR4-2666
Memory Controller
Dual-Channel
Dual-Channel
Dual-Channel
PCIe Lanes
x16
x16
x16
Integrated UHD Graphics GT2 (Base/Boost MHz)
?
350 / 1200
350 / 1200
Recommended Customer Pricing
?
$488 - $499
$374 - $385

Intel bakes the Special Edition Core i9-9900KS with the same 14nm++ process and Coffee Lake architecture as the standard Core i9-9900K, meaning they are essentially the same processor. However, the KS model comes armed with a higher 4.0 GHz base frequency and an all-core 5.0 GHz boost frequency, meaning it represents the highest-binned silicon of Intel's flagship mainstream desktop chip.

Active Cores
Base
1 Core
2 Cores
3 Cores
4 Cores
5 Cores
6 Cores
7 Cores
8 Cores
Core i9-9900KS (GHz)
4.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
Core i9-9900K (GHz)
3.6
5.0
5.0
4.8
4.8
4.7
4.7
4.7
4.7
Core i7-9700K (GHz)
3.6
4.9
4.8
4.7
4.7
4.6
4.6
4.6
4.6

Intel also didn't reveal the TDP rating for the chip, but as the company measures the rating at the base frequency, the jump to 4.0 GHz will result in an increased TDP rating (perhaps in the 105W range). As we can see in the chart above, the -9900KS offers a decent increase in performance across the range of active cores, but these clock frequencies are with standard instruction sets. That means the performance during AVX workloads will shift into a lower frequency range. Credit: Tom's HardwareCredit: Tom's Hardware

Intel did demo the processor running at a full 5.0 GHz using its own internal power thermal utility (PTU) tool that we've also used for stress testing in past reviews. This utility generates intense workloads, but the test did not include AVX instructions. Given the higher clock speeds across the range of active cores, we expect AVX clocks to increase in a similar fashion. We'll need to wait until the processor launch before Intel divulges those details.

Intel demoed the chip with a standard desktop motherboard, albeit a high-end Gigabyte Aorus Pro. Intel cooled the chip with a 240mm ROG Ryujin 240 cooler and powered the system with an 850W Corsair HX850i power supply, highlighting that the all-core 5.0 GHz boost is accessible to mere mortals with fairly standard high-end components.

In contrast to the company's F-series models, the -9900KS comes with a functioning integrated graphics unit. Also, unlike the auction-only -9900XE, you can buy this processor at retail. As a special edition chip, Intel plans to have wide availability of the chip, but hasn't announced pricing or the availability date.

The Core i9-9900KS does look like a compelling chip for enthusiasts that want the best performance possible without the extra effort (or pricier components) of overclocking. We're sure that Intel will price this halo part accordingly, though, but Intel does tout the Core i9-9900KS as the next step up the gaming performance ladder. We'll put those claims to the test when the chip lands in our labs.

10nm Ice Lake and Gen11 Graphics

Intel also pulled back the veil on several benchmarks of its oft-delayed 10nm Ice Lake chips that will come armed with the Gen11 graphics architecture. Intel claims that its new revamped integrated graphics engine outperforms AMD's APUs by impressive margins, but we have to caution that, as with all vendor-provided benchmarks, we have to take the results with a grain of salt. You can read more about the Gen11 graphics architecture here, but from a high level, it bumps the number of execution units (EUs) from 24 up to 48 within the same power envelope. It also comes with a number of finer-grained improvements to the architecture that Intel says delivers one teraflop of 32-bit and two teraflops of 16-bit floating point performance into a low power envelope.

Credit:IntelCredit:Intel

Intel conducted a number of live demos during its Computex Kickoff event, which included few of the titles in the test results above and below. Intel compared the 15W Core i7-8650U with 16GB of DDR4-2400 memory to an unspecified 15W Ice Lake-U (4+2) processor paired with 8GB of LPDDR4X-3733 memory in a head-to-head contest in gaming performance. As we can see above, the Ice Lake processor notched impressive wins across the full range of 1920x1080 game benchmarks. Credit: Tom's HardwareCredit: Tom's HardwareIntel also provided an series of gaming benchmarks pitting the 25W Ryzen 7 3700U against a pre-production 25W Ice Lake processor. Intel declined to specify if this processor will come to market, but Intel's benchmarks, when normalized for power consumption, show the Ice Lake processor beating the Ryzen 7 3700U in most benchmarks, albeit by margins that range from near-ties (and one loss) to a 15% advantage.

Breaking news...more to come.

16 comments
    Your comment
  • 13thmonkey
    not at all a response to the rumoured 3700x
  • srimasis
    No thanks intel. Enough of your security loophole overpriced CPUs. And this is coming from an intel user. Looking forward to Ryzen 3000.
  • 13thmonkey
    Quote:
    No thanks intel. Enough of your security loophole overpriced CPUs. And this is coming from an intel user. Looking forward to Ryzen 3000.

    There will be security issues with amd, just different ones, these systems are so complex that it would be very unlikely that there were no issues. But bring on the 3700x, the 3570k is getting tired and needs a rest.