Update: Sharp-eyed readers confirmed something I’d missed — Intel’s slides do note that 9th Generation CPUs are protected at the same level as Intel’s Whiskey Lake. Original story below.
After months of leaks, Intel is finally taking the lid off its 9th Generation CPU family. The new series of CPUs makes some significant changes to Intel’s overall product line, with a new line-up of Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9 CPUs, with different capabilities and clocks to previous iterations of these chips. And, as expected, Hyper-Threading is going away from all but the Core i9.
The Core i9-9900K will be a 5GHz CPU with a 3.6GHz base clock, 8 cores, 16 threads, two memory channels rated for DDR4-2666, 16MB of L3 (2MB per core) and a $488 list price. The Core i7-9700K is an eight-core / 8-thread CPU, with a 3.6GHz base clock and 4.9GHz Turbo, with just 12MB of L3 (1.5MB per core) for $374, while the Core i5-9600K is a six-core / six-thread chip with a 3.7GHz base clock, 4.6GHz Turbo, and the same 12MB of L3 (1.5MB per core) for $295. Anandtech managed to get their hands on the Turbo frequencies (Intel no longer gives out this information publicly) as shown below:
This gives the Core i9-9900K an all-core boost of 4.7GHz, which should give that chip a nice nudge over all previous CPUs in the family. And all the chips in question have soldered TIMs, including the Core i5-9600K, which should give overclockers a slightly larger chance at hitting frequency targets.
There’s no update for the GPU, which means Intel is still in a holding pattern, effectively, since Broadwell. The company has dropped the references to its 14nm, 14nm+, and 14nm++ hardware and is now referring to all of these parts collectively as representing a 14nm “class” of hardware.
Meanwhile, Intel’s 14nm has reportedly become the most profitable line of hardware the company has ever manufactured, though that’s likely in part due to the necessity of using it as long as Intel has. When you normally cycle your bleeding-edge equipment through to new nodes every two years, there’s not much time for equipment to build up those kinds of profitability figures. 14nm should have been replaced by 2017 at the latest; the fact that Intel will still be shipping it in 2019 as a leading-edge node is likely responsible for the node’s excellent performance.
Anandtech doesn’t believe there are any new security fixes coming in these new desktop chips, implying they’ll lack the security fixes that debuted with Whiskey Lake. Dropping Hyper-Threading could be a nod towards improving security on its processors related to Spectre and Meltdown, or it could have been an adjustment to improve product segmentation to create a larger gap between the Core i7 and Core i9 families. The reduction in L3 cache could also be a nod to this, or a desire to reduce the manufacturing cost of the Core i5 and Core i7 chips. These new chips, along with the new Z390 motherboard chipset will be ready for launch on Oct 19. The new CPUs are backward-compatible with the Z370 chipset as well, so you won’t need to worry about being locked out of this upgrade if you have an older motherboard.
Now Read: Intel May Have 10nm Hardware In-Market Faster Than Expected, Intel Issues Update on Supply Problems at 14nm, and Intel Goes Back to 22nm for New Chipset to Address Manufacturing Shortage