Intel Core i9-9900K and ASUS Z390 Strix-E Review

Intel Core i9-9900K and ASUS Z390 Strix-E Review

Introduction

The 8th Generation of Intel CPUs marked a big change in the Intel ethos. Until then we had two distinct types of CPU. The flagship models with multiple cores and slightly compromised clock speeds sat at the peak of the Intel range on quad-channel DDR boards, whilst the mainstream processors were usually quad core or quad core with hyperthreading, and sat on the mid-range dual channel motherboards. Most of us owned the latter, as the price gap between them was such a chasm it made it difficult to step across unless you absolutely had to get the bigger core offering for a specific task.

However, the 8th Generation increased the core count and, with the excellent feature set of the Z370 chipset, sat somewhere between the 7th Gen CPUs and those aforementioned flagship ones. For numerous reasons – the prevalence of HD video on our phones, the popularity of streaming, the rise of photo-based social media – more and more of us require faster CPUs with higher core counts to speed up our workflow and the tasks which were previously the preserve of specialists are now part of our daily usage. Thus the 8th Gen CPUs proved incredibly popular.

Intel have seen the huge sales of the 8th Gen CPUs and taken that high core, high clock speed ethos and really gone to town with it on the newest 9th Generation of Intel Core CPUs, and that’s what today’s review is all about. We have the range-topping Core i9-9900K in our sweaty mitts, offering 5 GHz across 8 cores and 16 threads, it certainly promises to provide excellent performance without needing to break into the pricing realms of the high end X299 CPUs. As well as a new processor the 9th Generation sees the launch of the latest Intel chipset, the Z390, and we’ll be using the ASUS Z390 Strix-E as our motherboard for the first performance results on the i9-9900K.

Technical Specifications

One thing which has quickly become apparent as we approached the launch date is that the concept of needing a new motherboard, the Z390, to run the i9-9900K isn’t strictly the case. Certainly some features are only available on the newest chipset, and you’ll have to have one of the latest Z370 motherboards and a BIOS patch to run the 9th Gen, but it is possible. Which might help those of you who’ve only recently adopted a Z370 motherboard manage to upgrade for less.

Intel Core i9-9900K and ASUS Z390 Strix-E Review