6 months ago
Which is better for gaming? At first glance, they look about the same but i9 is almost $100 more...
For pure gaming the 9700 is the best buy.
The 9900 has the same core count but has hyperthreading that gives about 20% better performance when you can use more than 8 cores. Mainly for work programs but would help if you were streaming.
Well strictly speaking the i9 9900k will be better, sometimes, at some point, depending on the game. Hyper-threading can give you improved performance and this was the primary reason i7's were better than i5's prior to the 8th generation (well I guess the i5 8600 and i7 8700 had the same number of cores too, just more than the previous generations), when they had the same number of cores, but the i7's had additional threading.
I mean they are very similar most of the time, and not many games are going to really benefit from more and more threads. But if you've got an extra $100 to spend and have eyes the size of dinner plates you probably won't spend too much time lamenting over your awesome i9 9900k. And if you got an i7 9700k it's going to be an age before you even start to think that maybe an i9 9900k would last a bit longer before needing to be replaced, or lamenting the lack of threads relative to the 9900k.
In that case, I'll probably just go with the 9900K. I don't mind spending more money now if it means I don't have to upgrade as soon.
Good choice! There's also some promising results that if you turn the HT off, it acts like a speed binned 9700k, ie higher quality silicon = better clock speeds.
If an extra 100-200 extra mhz is your most important goal sure. If more performance is more important HT is going to give a lot more performance (overall) than a couple of hundred mhz (at best).
Not in a lot of games though. Most games use 2 cores maximum (leaving 6 more physicals to handle system tasks) and those games run smoother the more mhz you run.
9900k also has more cache.
Well in my preceding post I didn't make any claims about games, I'm just arguing overall computing power.
Most games use 2 cores maximum
Most games use 2 cores maximum
This going to be a problematic assumption for several reasons. First I don't believe you have any data to back up that claim, it's just a repeated idea originating from the early days of multi-core systems and people wondering over the value of getting a quadcore (or tri-core, remember those AMD cpus?) over a dual core system. Secondly, multi-core programming has matured quite a bit. True you can't make any arbitrary code or program necessarily run an an infinite number of cores, at least there's not always value in doing that. I'm not sure what you know about multi-core programming, but in generally the developers aren't manually deciding which core a bit of code is running on and only using two cores. Games may not strictly require more than two cores, but if the work they're doing can be split across several cores they will utilize that, if available, as much as they can. It's one of the nice things about multi-core programming, it is flexible in that you don't need a fixed amount of cores to do a task. There's plenty of software that will run just fine on a dual core system, but will be able to utilize a Threadripper high core count just as well. And at the end of the day games are just software, not special case exceptions. Again they don't necessarily need or benefit from (super high) high thread counts, but there isn't a magic value you can arbitrarily assign to games or "most" games either. Clearly we want more than two cores for gaming now, and at a certain point, for most users there's dramatic diminishing returns from adding more cores and more threads beyond a certain point. But at the very least it's better to have more cores/threads than you need than to have to few.
And I'm just of the opinion that paying the premium for a 9900k and disabling hyper-threading so you can get a couple hundred mhz higher OC because HT "isn't needed" isn't a practical solution, it's an enthusiast solution. Overall and in the long run you'll be better off with the additional power HT provides over a couple of hundred mhz in OC. At least I would be.
My local Fry's had the 9900k on sale for $488 a week and a half ago and Walmart.com has the 9900k listed for $475. That shrinks the pricegap a little bit.
I've seen a few people opt for the 8700k instead. If you're willing to overclock the 8700k to match the speeds of the 9700k, they're pretty much the same.
For pure gaming, running latest game titles at the highest possible frame rate, what you should want is highest single-core and multi-core frequency optimal for games.
With current games, the optimal CPU utilization lies between 10 and 12 logical threads, as the rest of cores/threads will not be utilized, as seen with Ryzen 2700 and i7 8700. Because games cannot utilize more threads they can benefit from higher clock speed, and that is why i7 8700k is the current best available gaming CPU.
When comparing i9 9900k and i7 9700k, besides core count, one of the issues we have to take into account is the thermal envelope which manufacturer (Intel) has specified for these CPU models. The i9 9900k has more cores but not all of them will be fully utilized, and he will come to his thermal dissipation limit with a lower clock speed than the i7 9700k. This translates to i7 9700k having a bit of TDP headroom and offering a few hundred Mhz more when overclocked. The higher core count of the i9 model may induce additional internal latency which may have a negative impact on gaming performance, while it is not really important for professional workflow tasks.
The only situation where i9 9900k can be overclocked to similar speed as i7 9700k is when they are both cooled with LN2 (liquid nitrogen) so the thermal envelope is not a limiting factor. However, for day-to-day gaming use with a good air cooler or closed-loop water cooler, i7 9700k should be a better choice.
With current titles have see that even i5 8600k (6 cores 6 threads) with 5GHz overclock was able to match i7 8700k gaming performance, meaning software for game development and game engines on PC work great with that amount of cores and threads, but yes, the new models offer a few more cores as a future-proof products.
There are no tangible benchmark reports from renown sources, so all of this needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Intel has been at the forefront of CPU design and manufacturing for so many years. I am sure we can expect some pleasant surprises from them, now that AMD Ryzen models have reignited competition on the CPU market.
This was very helpful! Thanks! I'll probably go with an 8700K and buy a 2080 instead of a 2070. Or, since I still have to save up for the build, I might look into Ryzen 3rd gen when it comes out. What would your opinion be on that?