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

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

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.

Senior Computing editor

Matt (Twitter) is TechRadar's Senior Computing editor. Having written for a number of magazines and websites, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. If you're encountering a problem or need some advice with your PC or Mac, drop him a line on Twitter.