Intel Core i7-8700K vs Core i9-9900K: Do you Really Need an i9?


    Intel’s Core i9-9900K or more recently the 9900KS is often advertised as the best gaming CPU. However, the latter costs a hefty sum. On the other hand, you’ve got the cheaper Core i7-8700K and the 9700K with the same base specifications but a much lower price. So, how much do they vary with respect to the performance? Let’s find out.


    • Motherboard: ASRock Z370 Taichi P4.00
    • CPUs: Intel Core i9-9900K OC 5Ghz vs Core i7-8700K OC 5GHz
    • GPU: EVGA GTX 1080 Ti
    • RAM: Hynix AFR 2x8GB DDR4, 3500 MHz
    • Storage: Transcend PCI-E NVME 220S 1TB
    • Cooling: Custom water-cooled system
    • Driver: 430.64

    Benchmarks: Intel Core i7-8700K vs Core i9-9900K

    A wide variety of games were tested ranging from third-person action to FPS. CPU intensive games such as Cities: Skylines were also included in the test. The results might surprise you. Starting off with a fairly new title – Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Both the processors give a similar FPS with Core i9 leading with a marginal 2 average FPS over the Core i7.

    Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

    Intel Core i9-9900KIntel Core i7-8700K
    AVG FPS105103
    1% Low7672
    0.1% Low6765

    Cities: Skylines

    Intel Core i9-9900KIntel Core i7-8700K
    AVG FPS4847
    1% Low2927
    0.1% Low1716

    Moving on to a more CPU intensive title – Cities: Skylines, Again both the CPUs perform almost identical at 1080p ultra settings.

    Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

    Intel Core i9-9900KIntel Core i7-8700K
    AVG FPS121112
    1% Low8482
    0.1% Low7167

    Far Cry 5

    Intel Core i9-9900KIntel Core i7-8700K
    AVG FPS153150
    1% Low124117
    0.1% Low117106

    Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is the first game with the Core i9 showing a notable difference in performance, leading the i7-8700K by 9 FPS (~10%). Looking at the lows however, the deltas are marginal at best and FPS in excess of 100+ frames per sec doesn’t really add much value to the chip.

    The Witcher 3

    Intel Core i9-9900KIntel Core i7-8700K
    AVG FPS212209
    1% Low127132
    0.1% Low109104

    Total War: War Hammer II

    Intel Core i9-9900KIntel Core i7-8700K
    AVG FPS9594
    1% Low5047
    0.1% Low4338

    In Far Cry 5, The Witcher 3 and War Hammer, the difference between the two CPUs is negligibly low, ranging from 2-3 FPS while in GTA V the average frame rates are slightly higher for the Core i9. Still, nothing significant and the lows are more or less identical.

    GTA V

    Intel Core i9-9900KIntel Core i7-8700K
    AVG FPS127123
    1% Low8785
    0.1% Low7968

    So let’s cut to the chase. Do you really need a $480 Intel Core i9-9900K for gaming? Strictly speaking, if your usage is for purely gaming purposes, then the Core i7-8700K or the more recently launched AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is more than enough to do the job. But if you extend your workflow with content creation, an i9 would really cut down the render times as the higher core counts and the extra cache come into the picture. But then again, with the release of the Ryzen 3000 processors, the 3700X and the 3900X are much better choices.


    1. Using a z370 board which will power limit a 9900k(low FPS )is a good way to fry the VRMs the actual TDP of the 9900k is way more than Intel advertises…

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