The Intel Core i5-9500 appears to be available for purchase at retail outlets. Well, in Japan, at least. Akiba reports that multiple retail outlets in Tokyo have started selling the i5-9500. Intel’s newest midrange processor doesn’t appear to be available in other markets (yet). However, the Japanese release lets us take a good look at exactly what the newest i5 part entails and how it’ll compete with the Ryzen 5 competition. Pricing-wise, it is selling for 25,800 Yen. This works out about $240. Where does this mean the 9500 fits in, price-wise? Well, to be honest, it’s not a really good position for a lower midrange Intel part. At $240, the Core i5-9500 is going up against the 7nm Ryzen 5 3600X. The non-X 3600 undercuts it by $40, at just $199.
How much CPU are you getting for your $240, though? Well, you get six Coffee Lake cores no hyperthreading, so six threads as well. Core and turbo clocks have been bumped up a bit relative to the 9400: The 9500 has a 3.0 GHz base clock and a 4.4 GHz turbo clock. The 9600 features a 3.1 GHz base clock and a 4.6 GHz boost clock, so this makes the i5-9500 a bit closer to the higher-tier product than the 9400. While that makes the 9500 good value in Intel-land, it simply isn’t enough to recommend it. Let’s look at all the reasons why:
For starters, the Intel Core i5-9500 is frequency-locked (non-K): You can’t overclock it at all, something every AMD processor can do. And even at stock, the cheaper Ryzen 5 3600 beats the 9600 in the majority of gaming workloads while absolutely dominating it in multithreaded productivity tasks. The i5-9500 lacking HT (and clocked lower) would only fare worse, while still costing more.
Japan’s been a bleeding Intel customer, with recent reports indicating that AMD’s secured a majority of the Japanese DIY PC market. If the 9500 was supposed to be a value play to claw back market share, it just doesn’t look like a very good one. There is one (slightly) redeeming possibility: Japanese prices for the Core i5-9500 might not necessarily reflect outside pricing. In Japan itself, the 3600 is currently going for around 26000 Yen, right in the ballpark of the 9500. But even if it costs the same, it performs categorically better than the Intel part in both gaming and productivity workloads. We’ll keep you posted if anything new pops up.