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GHz vs Ryzen / Processors & Memory


The whole story of introducing the Core i9-9900KS from the start made us feel déjà vu. Because Yes, it's very simple, we encountered similar events sixteen years ago when AMD launched its revolutionary Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 FX processors with the Hammer microarchitecture. So in order to repel these new products, Intel urgently organized the release of Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processors equipped with a 2 megabyte L3 cache, which were extracted from the Xeon MP server chips. Now, of course, the situation is developing in a slightly different scenario, but the overall outline of the plot has remained the same. Lacking the opportunity to symmetrically respond to a competitor's cheeky insolence, Intel excels in the best way possible and, instead of a new product family, offers temporary flagship processors "quick response."

The Core i9-9900KS is just such a tough response from makeshift materials for the third generation Ryzen. Remember, the announcement of the upcoming release of this Intel processor made in early June at the Computex show – just a few days before the Ryzen 3000 was announced. The significance of such a step was easily guessed exactly at what time it was made, because in reality , the Core i9-9900KS hit the market just a few months later – in November. At the same time, there's nothing to say so much about the Core i9-9900KS, it's just an overclocked version of the eight-core Core i9-9900K, which really should only become Intel's asset in the coming weeks. New Year's demand.

Intel will see a complete answer for the Ryzen 3000 soon. Comet Lake 10-core processors are scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2020. But if you want to put a new Intel processor under the tree, you'll just have to settle for the Core i9-9900KS. However, you should not think it will be something like a "comforting" gift. Intel without fake speed says of the Core i9-9900KS as follows: "Based on the Core i9-9900K, we make the world's best gaming processor even better."- and that seems to be true.

Translated into marketing, this thesis means the Core i9-9900KS, which went on sale, is a special version of the Core i9-9900K, built on select semiconductor crystals capable of operating at even higher clock frequencies. Also, the "special" is literally: the letter S, which appeared at the end of the model number, is an abbreviation for Special Edition. The formal features of the new items are such that the Core i9-9900KS can operate at the "beautiful" 5.0 GHz frequency with a simultaneous load on all eight cores. Only one thing confuses: the warranty period of such a fast processor is limited to one year, while the usual Core i9-9900K (boxed) gets a three-year warranty.

The manufacturer emphasizes the uniqueness of the Core i9-9900KS from the history that in manufacturing such CPUs it needs to use a special procedure for selecting semiconductor crystals, which makes the circulation of these processors rather small. The exact number of "special" chips to be delivered to the market is not reported, but you can be sure that buying a Core i9-9900KS in the store next year will be problematic. This is due in part to the fact that the margin for the Special Edition label and the 5 GHz frequency are not that large and cannot become a significant obstacle for buyers. The recommended Core i9-9900KS price is $ 513, just $ 25 more than the price of an ordinary Core i9-9900K.

However, the question of whether it is worth pursuing only the Core i9-9900KS still remains, and we will try to answer it in this review, where we compare Intel's new product with available alternatives in the same price category, including up to the most interesting not the usual Core i9-9900K, but the 12-core AMD Ryzen 9 3900X.

More on the Core i9-9900KS

The Core i9-9900KS became the fifth representative of the Coffee Lake Refresh family, which received model number 9900. Its siblings always offered eight cores with Hyper-Threading technology and had a 16 MB L3 cache, but differed in thermal package. , overclocking features and target frequencies. and the presence or absence of an integrated graphics core. On the Core i9-9900KS, as at the crown of all Core ninth-generation evolution, all of these features are distorted to maximum values, but when compared to previously released sister processors, the formal specifications of the Core i9-9900KS are not at all. surprising.

Core i9-9900KS Core i9-9900K Core i9-9900KF Core i9-9900 Core i9-9900T
Kernels / Threads 8/16 8/16 8/16 8/16 8/16
Base Frequency, GHz 4.0 3.6. 3.6. 3.1 2.1
Turbo Frequency (max), GHz 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.4.
L3 cache, MB 16 16 16 16 16
Overclock Exist Exist Exist Not Not
Integrated Graphics UHD 630 UHD 630 Not UHD 630 UHD 630
Memory, DDR4 2 × 2666 2 × 2666 2 × 2666 2 × 2666 2 × 2666
TDP, W 127 95 95 65 35
Price $ 513 $ 488 $ 463 $ 439 $ 439

What is striking about this table is the Core i9-9900KS 'calculated heat dissipation – 127 watts. However, there have been cases among mass processors as well, just remember, for example, the Intel Core 2 Extreme series or AMD FX Black Edition of nine thousand.

Higher than the other 9900, the Core i9-9900KS base frequency means absolutely nothing. First, as we know, Intel processors never work on it, and the aggressiveness of Turbo Boost 2.0 technology determines the actual frequencies. Second, the increase in base frequency is a direct consequence of the increase in the heat pack bar, because, according to the current formulation, TDP is defined only as the processor heat dissipation at the nominal base frequency.

Therefore, to fully appreciate the exclusivity of the Core i9-9900KS, you need to look deeper – at frequencies that are maximum achievable in turbo mode when loading on a different number of computing cores. It's funny that Intel recently decided to remove information about these values ​​from open access, and now the company has come across the fact that it was done in vain because without it the advantages of the Core i9-9900KS could not be shown. . However, with a certain degree of patience, turbo frequency values ​​can be determined experimentally or using diagnostic utilities.

And just in this case, the advantages of the Core i9-9900KS become clearer: With a load of six or more cores, this processor can operate at 300 MHz or 6.3% faster than Core i9-9900K and Core i9- 9900KF.

Base Frequency, MHz The maximum frequency in turbo mode, MHz
8 cores 7 cores 6 cores 5 cores 4 cores 3 cores 2 cores 1 core
Core i9-9900KS 4.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0
Core i9-9900K 3.6. 4.7 4.7 4.7 4.8 4.8 4.9 5.0 5.0
Core i9-9900KF 3.6. 4.7 4.7 4.7 4.8 4.8 4.9 5.0 5.0
Core i9-9900 3.1 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.8 4.8 4.9 5.0 5.0
Core i9-9900T 2.1 3.6. 3.8 3.9 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3. 4.4.

However, in fact, all this means none of that, by choosing the Core i9-9900KS for your system, you will get 5.0 GHz at any load. Remember that turbo frequencies are the maximum possible automatic acceleration, but not guaranteed. Turbo Boost 2.0 technology does not automatically increase CPU frequency based on the number of cores in operation, but also takes into account other parameters, in particular the nature of the load and, most importantly, the power consumption generated by it. The theory establishes for turbo mode processor power consumption two limit values, PL1 and PL2, which limit it for short and long term loads. The PL2 limit, which defines the maximum consumption for long periods of time, is considered equal to the TDP passport value. The PL1 limit is usually set a quarter higher than PL2, allowing the processor to consume more than is in the TDP, but only for short periods of time. The maximum duration of these periods is defined by the constant τ, which according to specification can be selected from 1 to 8 seconds.

All this means that when designing the Core i9-9900KS, it was established that it would consume a maximum of 127 W for long term loads and a maximum of 159 W for short term loads. And these consumption limits with a frequency of 5 GHz are clearly incompatible. For example, even the Core i9-9900K at its 4.7 GHz turbo frequency in Cinebench R20 multithreaded rendering consumes about 195 watts. The new Core i9-9900KS at a frequency of 5.0 GHz in this test shows a consumption of about 220 watts.

So if everything were honest and to specification, we wouldn't see 5.0 GHz even close. This is illustrated in the following graph, where we plot the Core i9-9900KS frequency curve, depending on the load on Cinebench R20 created when this processor operates with correctly set PL1 and PL2 limits, 127 and 159 watts. A similar curve for the Core i9-9900K is also provided here, where these limits are set a quarter lower to specification – at 95 W and 119 W.

Although the Core i9-9900KS operates at a noticeably higher frequency compared to the Core i9-9900K, we are not talking about any 5 GHz at full load. This frequency can be observed if the number of workload streams does not exceed six and no more. The maximum multithreaded load on the Cinebench R20 reduces the Core i9-9900KS frequency to 4.5 GHz, due to the fact that Silicon Lake Lake Refresh, made with 14 nm technology, always crosses the 4.4-4.5 boundary. GHz dramatically increases energy appetite.

However, all of this in relation to search frequency is purely theoretically interesting, as motherboards manufacturers with Intel's tacit consent simply ignore the PL1 and PL2 limits, setting them to the maximum. You can meet some significant settings for these restrictions only on inexpensive motherboards with a very poor power supply, while the vast majority of Z390 platforms, by default, distort these restrictions to maximum and obviously unattainable values. And that is precisely why the reduction in frequency with an increase in power consumption beyond the limits set by the TDP specification in reality for Intel processors is not observed.

So far, Intel and motherboard manufacturers have fared with such a slack attitude toward power consumption. Everyone was happy because users in the end were not as economical as stated in the specifications, but automatically accelerated to maximum frequencies for enhanced system turbo mode.

But with the Core i9-9900KS, this trick comes with a squeak. Operating at a frequency of 5.0 GHz, this processor emits so much heat that only selected cooling systems can handle it. For example, while testing our Core i9-9900KS instance, we found our Noctua NH-U14S and NH-D15 super air coolers fail. With a single-section and two-section tower, when Prime95 29.8 was launched, the processor quickly reached a temperature limit of 115 degrees and accelerated. For stable operation of the Core i9-9900KS at a frequency of 5.0 GHz in any program, without exception, it was only possible after the transition to liquid cooling. And not just any, but one of the most effective closed loop cooling systems NZXT Kraken X72, which is equipped with a 360mm radiator.

NZXT Kraken X72

But even with such a powerful LSS, the processor temperature during testing reached 108 degrees, which is nonetheless natural considering the heavy-duty Core i9-9900KS 275 watt power consumption, tempered by the instructions from AVX2.

All of this means that Core i9-9900KS owners, who are not prepared to properly cool this processor, can easily find temperature acceleration even if they are equipped with a completely efficient cooling system and will not disperse it. We are absolutely sure that soon social media forums and groups will be overwhelmed by a wave of complaints about Core i9-9900KS overheating at default settings. Intel has only one opportunity to avoid this: somehow agree with motherboard manufacturers so that, at least in the case of the Core i9-9900KS, they don't ignore the setting of consumption limits.

Of course, you should keep in mind that we checked the temperature regime in Prime95 29.8 – a program that heats up processors a lot by researching Mersenne numbers. This warm-up is not as common in commonly used tasks, but, for example, there is a high risk of overheating when transcoding video content with modern encoders or rendering. Therefore, after installing Core i9-9900KS on your system, it is best to take some time to check temperatures and set it up. We recommend manually selecting PL1 and PL2 consumption limits or setting a downward frequency correction when using the AVX instructions or attempting to reduce the supply voltage. And in “ready-to-use” 5.0 GHz stories, it's not always necessary to trust everywhere: it's hyperbole (artistic exaggeration).

This raises a reasonable question: Core i9-9900KS is better than Core i9-9900K if overpayment of $ 25 for this CPU does not guarantee no 5.0 GHz overheating and inevitably condemns the user to careful selection of cooling and additional system configuration? But the answer is still positive. At a minimum, the Core i9-9900KS is actually based on selected Coffee Lake Refresh crystals, which translates to slightly lower temperatures and consumption at the same frequency and voltage. For example, we compared the thermal and power characteristics of the available Core i9-9900KS and Core i9-9900K copies at a frequency of 4.7 GHz at a voltage of 1.25 V with a NZXT Kraken X72 liquid cooling system. And as you can see from the results obtained when the Prime95 stress test was released, the Core i9-9900KS really is more economical and cooler, all other things being the same.

4.7 GHz, 1.25 V Maximum temperature Maximum consumption
Core i9-9900KS 86 ° C 218 watts
Core i9-9900K 90 ° C 226 watts

In addition, Core i9-9900KS processors, unlike Core i9-9900K and Core i9-9900KF, are guaranteed to be based on R0 semiconductor crystals. And that means they already have hardware patches for some sensational vulnerabilities, in particular Fallout and Specter V4 (speculative storage bypass). However, from a practical point of view, this does not mean much. Hardware patches, as well as their software counterparts, have a similar effect on performance, and in the end, Core i9-9900KS users get nothing but the need to update microcode and install critical updates to the operating system. software.

Ac # Acceleration

Considering how the Core i9-9900KS heats up when working in "nominal" mode at a frequency of 5.0 GHz, it would be strange to expect any feats in the overclocking field. However, for a higher frequency, overclockers can use a special backup tool that helps overclock Core X-Series HEDT processors. Namely – frequency limitation when the processor works with AVX instructions.

The fact that in the case of the Core i9-9900KS could have a positive impact on the result, it says, for example, that all overseas stores offering overclocking guaranteed Core i9-9900KS samples resort to it. Is at Caseking.inis at SiliconLottery.with When sorting processors, a downward correction of -2 or -3 is used for the multiplication factor when working with AVX instructions.

But that didn't help us at all. Our instance of Core i9-9900KS could not provide 5.1 GHz stability when working with demanding programs even if they did not use AVX instructions. In other words, the processor ended up with no overclocking potential, 5.0 GHz – its ceiling.

However, you should not be surprised by this. We're dealing with a pre-installed factory overclocked CPU, which was chosen from the usual Core i9-9900K just for the principle of operability at a 5.0 GHz frequency. And if its overclocking potential would allow it to cross borders Further, Intel would probably use this to enhance the features of its offering because it is not a mass product but a special limited series of processors.

In fact, all this agrees well with the results of the store's selection of the most successful Core i9-9900KS family reps. Silicononlottery.with. According to the statistics collected, only one of the three copies of the Core i9-9900KS is accelerated beyond 5.0 GHz. And we obviously didn't get a "happy" chip this time around.

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