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Intel Core i7-9700K vs Intel Core i7-8700K

Intel Core i7-9700K vs Intel Core i7-8700K
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Intel announced its range of 9th Generation Core processors at its Desktop Launch Event 2018, including the new eight-core Intel Core i7-9700K.

This will be the processor that high-end PC builders will want to buy, but how does it compare to its 8th generation predecessor, the Intel Core i7-8700K?

In this article we'll compare how the two processors stack up against each other, and see if there's a compelling reason to buy the new i7-9700K over the older, yet still very powerful i7-8700K.

Intel Core i7-9700K vs Intel Core i7-8700K price

The Intel Core i7-8700K launched last year for $359 (about £270, AU$460), which put it directly against AMD’s best Ryzen 7 processors including the $329 (£299, AU$469) AMD Ryzen 7 2700X.

Meanwhile, the Intel Core i7-9700K will cost $374 (around AU$530). In the UK, retailers have pitched it at a higher £500 price tag. The price after tax will be more like $399, if you'll want the newer, and more powerful, i7-9700K. Of course, those looking to build a high-end gaming PC may already be ready to splurge on the best CPU.

Intel Core i7-9700K vs Intel Core i7-8700K: specifications

This is where things get a little confusing, as the Intel Core i7-9700K comes with two extra cores but a lower thread count than the Intel Core i7-8700K.

So, the Intel Core i7-9700K comes with eight-cores and eight-threads, 12MB cache and a TDP of 95W.

Meanwhile, the Intel Core i7-8700K features six-cores and 12 threads, 12MB cache and a 95W TDP.

The Intel Core i7-9700K is also rated with a base clock of 3.6GHz and can boost one its processor cores all the way to 4.9GHz. Comparatively, the Intel Core i7-8700K starts at a tick higher 3.7GHz base frequency, but can’t go nearly as fast with its maximum 4.7GHz boost clock.

However, it could be in overclocking where the Intel Core i7-9700K will really gain a lead over its predecessor. Thanks to its soldered integrated heat spreader (IHS), the Intel Core i7-9700K should be better at keeping the chip cool, allowing for better overclocks.

In theory, this purported gold-plated solder replacing the thermal paste Intel has used in the past will be a much more efficient heat transfer medium.

Intel Core i7-9700K vs Intel Core i7-8700K: should you upgrade?

So, should you upgrade from a Intel Core i7-8700K to a Intel Core i7-9700K? We won't be able to give you a definitive answer until we've properly reviewed the new chip and spent time with it, but on paper at least it looks like the Intel Core i7-9700K is a decent upgrade for a reasonably higher price.

It doesn't look like it does anything that will make the Intel Core i7-8700K obsolete any time soon, though. That may be good news for Intel Core i7-8700K owners, but disappointing for others.

Matt Hanson
Matt Hanson


Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Computing and Entertainment, looking after two of the best, and most exciting, channels on the site. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made. He's also a huge film and TV fan and Marvel geek, and his favorite recent film is Dune.