Intel reveals Coffee Lake Refresh 9th-gen CPUs headed by mighty Core i9-9900K

Intel has officially taken the wraps off its new Coffee Lake Refresh (9th-generation) processors, which include the Core i9-9900K, Core i7-9700K, and Core i5-9600K.

Obviously any Intel processor launch is major news, but this is a particularly big splash seeing as the Core i9-9900K represents the first mainstream Core i9 offering sporting 8-cores and 16-threads. It has a base clock of 3.6GHz and turbo to 5GHz – yes, it hits 5GHz out of the box – with 16MB of cache, and is priced at $529.99 (around £405, AU$750).

Stepping down to the Core i7-9700K, that’s also an 8-core processor, but with 8-threads in this case, running with the same base clock of 3.6GHz and turbo to 4.9GHz, plus 12MB of cache. It commands an asking price of $399.99 (around £305, AU$565).

And then we have the Core i5-9600K with 6-cores (6-threads) and a base clock of 3.7GHz with turbo to a slightly lesser 4.6GHz (by the way, all these specs were previously rumored thanks to a leak from Intel itself). The i5 spin has 9MB of cache, and in this case the chip is priced at $279.99 (around £215, AU$395).

Power efficiency

All of these processors have a TDP of 95W (yes, even the Core i9 model), and they support dual-channel DDR4 2,666MHz memory, fitting Intel’s (revised) LGA 1151 socket and motherboards with the 300-series chipset. They also run with Intel UHD Graphics 630 for integrated graphics.

Of course, the proof will be in the pudding when it comes to testing out how fast these chips really are, although previous leaks from 3DMark indicate an impressively speedy Core i9-9900K which easily beat out AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700X (also an 8-core and 16-thread CPU) – and Intel’s chip performed even better when it was overclocked, unsurprisingly.

That said, you can currently bag that Ryzen 2700X for $330 (around £255, AU$470) online at the time of writing. Admittedly that’s on sale, and it normally retails for more like $360 (around £275, AU$510)  – but that’s still a good deal cheaper than where Intel is pitching this first mainstream Core i9 chip (indeed it’s cheaper than the Core i7-9700K).

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).