Test Setup

For testing, we used the latest Intel Core i9-9900K which was sent to us by Intel. The Intel 9th Gen Coffee Lake Refresh family comes with a higher core count on the mainstream platform but prices are close to the predecessors in the same segment. The Core i9 SKU wasn't available last time but the Core i7 price matches around the same as what you paid for the Core i7-8700K. The CPUs was tested on the ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO and ASUS ROG STRIX Z390-E Gaming motherboards.

Intel Z390 Chipset Motherboards Test Platform

ProcessorIntel Core i9-9900K
MotherboardASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9
ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO (Wi-Fi)
ASUS ROG STRIX Z390-E Gaming
ASRock Z390 Taichi Ultimate
Z390 AORUS Master
Power SupplyCorsair AX1200i PSU
Solid State DriveSamsung SSD 960 EVO M.2 (512 GB)
MemoryG.SKILL Trident Z RGB Series 32 GB (4 x 8GB) CL16 3600 MHz
Video CardsMSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X
Cooling SolutionsCorsair H115i GTX
OSWindows 10 64-bit
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Our test rig includes the Samsung 960 EVO 500 GB SSD that boots up our main OS while a 2 TB Seagate HDD is used for demonstration purposes for the Intel Optane memory. In addition to these, we are running an MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X graphics card, a Corsair AX 1200i power supply and 32 GB of G.Skill provided Trident Z RGB series memory which runs with a clock speed of DDR4-3600 MHz. For cooling, we used the  Corsair H115i PRO cooler. At stock (out of the box) settings, all motherboards maintained a 100.00 MHz BCLK ratio out of the box.

We won't be focusing on Intel's Core i7-8086K architecture in this review since it is entirely the same chip as Skylake along with minor improvements. The Skylake / Kaby Lake architecture analysis can be seen in detail here. For overclocking, I made the following tweaks to the CPUs:

  • Intel Core i9-9900KK @ 5.3 GHz With 1.342V (100 x 53) on ROG Maximus XI HERO WIFi
  • Intel Core i9-9900KK @ 5.3 GHz With 1.35V (100 x 53) on ROG STRIX Z390-E Gaming
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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