Intel's 9th Generation Coffee Lake Refresh CPU Family - The First Mainstream Chips From Intel With 8 Cores and 16 Threads

First of all, what is Coffee Lake? In simple terms, Coffee Lake is an improved Kaby Lake that has been made possible with the latest 14nm++ process node. Intel briefed the press that their new Coffee Lake Refresh is on the same architectural level as Kaby Lake (which is similar to Skylake) with no changes at all.

Aside from that, the new 14nm process allows for improved power efficiency and higher clock speeds. There's a reason that Intel is bumping up the core count across their entire range of processors. Under the same 95W package, Intel is now offering up to 8 cores and 16 threads on their Core i9 SKUs, 8 cores and 8 threads on their Core i7 SKUs, and 6 cores and 6 threads on their Core i5 SKUs.

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Actual power consumption may vary during testing real-world applications since Intel lists the TDP at the base clock which means power consumption at boost clocks would vary so it's very workload dependent. You will also note that Intel has given a fairly good bump to both CPU and integrated GPU clock speeds which is only possible with the new and improved 14nm++ process.

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Intel Coffee Lake CPUs Have 16 PCIe 3.0 Lanes, PCH Supports 24 PCIe 3.0 Lanes - These Make Up The 40 PCIe Platform Lanes

Now one thing you might have noticed in other articles is that they state the Intel Coffee Lake platform will feature 40 PCIe Lanes. That's true but not entirely an accurate representation. As you see, Intel does have 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes on their upcoming family but those are a combination of CPU and PCH lanes. All Coffee Lake CPUs feature 16 PCIe Gen 3.0 lanes while the Z390 PCH features 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes. These make up the 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes that Intel claims of.

This means that people can add in two GPUs for SLI or mGPU support which will be given to the CPU while PCH can allow for additional devices such as PCIe / M.2 storage or Intel Optane support.

The Intel 9th Gen, Unlocked Core Desktop Family Full Specifications and Prices

Intel is initially launching three "K" unlocked CPUs in the 9th Gen Core lineup. As of right now, the 9th Gen unlocked family consists of the Core i9-9900K, Core i7-9700K, and the Core i5-9600K. The processors retail for $488 US for the Core i9, $374 US for the Core i7 and $262 US for the Core i5 SKUs.

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Following are the detailed specs for these CPUs:

Intel Core i9-9900K, Intel’s First 8 Core and 16 Thread Mainstream CPU With 4.7 GHz All 8 Core Boost Frequency For $488 US

The Intel Core i9-9900K is the flagship SKU of the 9th Generation Core family. This will be the first mainstream desktop Core i9 part and also the first Intel chip to boast 8 cores and 16 threads. In terms of cache, the chip will feature 16 MB of L3 and will come with an Intel UHD 620 graphics chip.

The clock speeds are something to check out here, we are going to get a 3.6 GHz base clock out of the box and a 5.0 GHz boost clock in single and dual core operations. 4 core boost is rated at 4.8 GHz while 6/8 core boost is rated at 4.7 GHz. This is the highest frequency we have seen on an 8 core part across all cores. All of this is done under a 95W package so we can expect some hefty cooling solutions to go along with this chip.

Intel Core i7-9700K, Intel’s First 8 Core, Core i7 Mainstream Desktop CPU With Up To 4.6 GHz Clocks Across All Cores at $374 US

Coming to the top Core i7 part, we get 8 cores and 8 threads. This the complete opposite of what we have been hearing as previous rumors identified the chip as a 6 core and 12 thread part. The chip will have 12 MB of L3 cache and as you might tell, it has fewer threads than the Core i7-8700K but comes with a higher core count. So, maybe, we will get the same or even better performance from the chip.

In terms of clock speeds, the chip has a base clock of 3.6 GHz and boosts up to 4.9 GHz in single, 4.8 GHz in dual-core, 4.7 GHz in four core and 4.6 GHz in 6/8 core operations. The TDP for this part is maintained at the same 95W.

Intel Core i5-9600K, 6 Cores, and 6 Threads With Higher Clocks Than 8th Generation i5 ‘K” SKU, $262 US Official Price

The Intel Core i5-9600K is a 6 core and 6 thread part with 9 MB of L3 cache. This makes it very similar to the Core i5-8600K. The difference is that it features higher clock speeds of 3.7 GHz base, 4.6 GHz boost (1 core), 4.5 GHz (2 core), 4.4 GHz (4 core) and 4.3 GHz (6 core). All of this is done at the same TDP of 95W.

Intel 9th Generation Core Family CPU Official Specifications:

Processor NameProcessCores / ThreadsBase ClockBoost ClockCacheTDPPrice
Core i9-9900KS14nm++8 / 163.6 GHz5.0 GHz (8 Cores)16 MB127W$513 US
Core i9-9900K14nm++8 / 163.6 GHz5.0 GHz16 MB95W$488 US
Core i9-9900KF14nm++8 / 163.6 GHz5.0 GHz16 MB95W$488 US
Core i7-9700K14nm++8 / 83.6 GHz4.9 GHz12 MB95W$374 US
Core i7-9700KF14nm++8 / 83.6 GHz4.9 GHz 12 MB95W$374 US
Core i5-9600K14nm++6 / 63.7 GHz4.6 GHz9 MB95W$262 US
Core i5-9600KF14nm++6 / 63.7 GHz4.6 GHz9 MB95W$262 US
Core i5-960014nm++6 / 63.1 GHz4.5 GHz9 MB65WTBD
Core i5-950014nm++6 / 63.0 GHz4.3 GHz9 MB65WTBD
Core i5-940014nm++6 / 62.9 GHz4.1 GHz9 MB65W$182
Core i5-9400T14nm++6 / 61.8 GHz3.4 GHz9 MB35WTBD
Core i3-9350KF14nm++4/44.0 GHz4.6 GHz8 MB91WTBD
Core i3-910014nm++4 / 4TBD4.2 GHz6 MB65WTBD
Core i3-900014nm++4 / 43.7 GHzN/A6 MB65WTBD
Core i3-9000T14nm++4 / 43.2 GHzN/A6 MB35WTBD

Intel Details Overclocking and Gaming Performance Figures - Our Advice, Wait For Reviews

Intel also detailed some performance numbers for their Coffee Lake processors. First of all, we have overclocking details. Intel claims that Coffee Lake processors are the best chips designed for overclocking. There is a range of new features supported by the chips which include:

  • Per Core Overclocking
  • Max Memory Ratio Up To 8400 MT/s
  • Real-time Memory Latency Control
  • Extended PLL Trim Controls
  • Enhanced Package Power Delivery
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9.8
Wccftech Rating

Under the $300 US bracket, the ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi) is one of the best board options for both 8th and 9th Gen processors, offering the perfect blend of high-performance OC and strong expandability options.

Pros
  • Support for Intel 8th and 9th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs
  • Up To 8 Core Processor Support
  • ASUS's Best in Class BIOS (UEFI) Support on Z390 Series
  • Excellent Overclocking Support on Unlocked Intel CPUs
  • Excellent Design Scheme With Solid Heatsink Solution
  • Excellent Build Quality With High-Quality VRM and PCB
  • 8+2+2 Phase Extreme Engine DiGi+ VRM
  • Heatpipe Implementation on the VRM Heatsinks is a plus
  • Tons of Connectivity Options
  • Tons of USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Gen 1 Ports
  • Intel Wireless-AC 9560 With 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi
  • Up To 4400 MHz (OC+) DDR4 Memory Support
  • SupremeFX offers great onboard Audio
  • Dual M.2 Slots With full coverage heatsinks
  • Pre-Mounted I/O Shield
  • Full ASUS AURA Sync RGB Support (Multiple Addressable RGB Headers)
  • Lots of Software Support
Cons
  • Price is slightly higher ($289.99 US)
  • Only Two M.2 slots
  • Only 1Gbps Ethernet LAN

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