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GIGABYTE Z390 OC Guide Suggests Intel 9000 Series Processors Will Run Hot Even With Custom Watercooling

It seems that by the time NDA drops on Intel's latest and greatest mainstream processor platform, we will have known more about it than ever before with similar launches. GIGABYTE joined the club with the release of their Z390 overclocking (OC) guide specific to their AORUS-branded motherboards. This contains a lot of useful information in general, and we certainly recommend taking a look at it in the source linked in the full post. As it is, a few items in the guide caught our eye- in particular, a direct quote saying "As you can tell from the last screenshots, the CPU temperature of the i9-9900k is quite high. This is something that we've noticed on almost all the processors. For this reason we suggest you to use a custom water-cooling and adjust the TjMAX Temperature to 110°C."

The quote references their guide to achieve a stable 5 GHz overclock on all cores on the Core i9-9900K, which was cooled via a custom watercooled setup and a Vcore ranging from 1.3-1.4 V. GIGABYTE's internal testing thus indicates that these higher end, unlocked 9000-series CPUs will run incredibly hot if you wish to push them, and the soldered IHS may not be as effective in cooling these dense processors as we may have hoped. Indeed, with news of the 28-core Xeon using thermal paste for the IHS, it appears that Intel may be conflicted on optimal cooling when battling the Core Wars with AMD.

Intel Xeon W-3175X to Lack STIM, Retain Thermal Paste for IHS

Soldered thermal interface material, or STIM, has been one of Intel's key feature-additions to its high-end 9th generation Core i7 and Core i9 processors. Besides higher clock-speeds, STIM is the only feature that sets its refreshed Core X 9000-series family apart from Core X 7000-series. STIM is also only given to the i9-9900K and i7-9700K in the mainstream-desktop space. The 28-core Xeon W-3175X was touted by Intel to be a high-end desktop (HEDT) processor initially, before Intel decided to retain the Xeon brand and target the gray-area between HEDTs and workstations. This also means that the W-3175X will lack STIM, as confirmed by an Intel spokesperson in an interview with PC World.

Soldered TIM is preferred by PC enthusiasts as it offers superior heat-transfer between the CPU die and the integrated heatspreader. Intel's decision to equip the Core X 9000-series and higher-end Coffee Lake-Refresh parts with it, is aimed at improving the thermals and overclocking headrooms of its products. The lack of STIM for the W-3175X speaks for its intended use-case - a workstation processor that can be overclocked, provided it's de-lidded and cooled by exotic methods such as liquid nitrogen evaporators. Intel's branding decisions could be guided by AMD's decision to side-brand its 24-core and 32-core Ryzen Threadripper processors as "WX," which focuses on their workstation proficiency while slightly toning down their PC enthusiast appeal.

Principled Technologies' Response to Allegations of Horse Manure Data Disingenuous

Principled Technologies Wednesday published its first response to allegations of flawed and misleading "independent" comparison between the $319 AMD Ryzen 7 2700X and the 66% pricier $530 (pre-order price) Intel Core i9-9900K, which Intel used in its launch event to woo gamers and investors. In its response, the company elaborated on the reasons why it tested the AMD chip with memory and cooler settings reputed hardware reviewers found sub-optimal. "One goal of this study was to test the CPUs and their graphics subsystems, not the GPUs, so we ran the tests at the most common gaming resolution (62.06%), 1920×1080," reads the response, touting a foregone conclusion that gamers with $500 8-core processors still game at 1920 x 1080. We get that they, like every CPU reviewer, are trying to simulate a CPU-limited scenario, but to justify their settings with Steam Hardware Survey data as "the most common resolution," is a disingenuous argument.

We next see Principled Technologies justify the use of NH-U14S TR4-SP3 cooler on the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX. Noctua, in its own TDP Guide for this cooler, states that 250W TDP (which also happens to be the TDP of the 2990WX), is the design limit of this air cooler, and goes as far as to mention that an additional NF-A15 fan, which is not included with the cooler, is recommended to be able to "increase Precision Boost headroom," implying that out of the box, the cooler is already bottlenecking the 2990WX. The Core i9-9980XE, on the other hand, has a rated TDP of 165W, and Noctua provides no additional guidance for 165W TDP Core X family processors, such as the Core i9-7980XE. Principled Technologies' reasoning for memory configuration proves they either continue to lack basic knowledge on AMD Ryzen memory controller limitations, or are deliberately disregarding it in an attempt to cripple AMD chips.

Principled Technologies Comments on their Intel Processor Study

Today, we have seen several reports that suggested Principled Technologies (PT) published misleading information in our recent study comparing Intel's gaming processors to AMD's. We apologize for our delay in responding, but it's been a busy day, and we wanted to be as thorough as possible in addressing inquiries concerning our testing. We'll address specific questions and share more detail on our methodology in a moment, but we first must respond directly to attempts to call our integrity into question.

For almost 16 years, we have tested products for our clients because they trust our integrity. We have worked not just for any one company but for dozens of the leading technology firms, including rivals such as Intel and AMD, Microsoft and Google, Dell and HP, and many others.

Intel Fixes Spectre & Meltdown on New Desktop Processors, Core-X Will Have to Wait

The new 9th generation Intel Core processors arrived yesterday with a series of improvements made to entice gamers and content creators. These improvements, however, join others that go beyond pure performance. Intel has introduced several architectural changes to fix the infamous Spectre & Meltdown vulnerabilities, and the new processors mitigate most of the variants of these attacks through a combination of hardware, firmware and OS fixes.

The big changes come to two of the six variants of those vulnerabilities. In both "Rogue Data Cache Load" (Meltdown, variant 3) and "L1 Terminal Fault" (Meltdown, Variant 5) vulnerabilities these new processors have hardware fixes that are new and not present on the rest of the current portfolio of Intel chips. This includes the new Xeon W-3175X (Core-X Skylake-X Refresh), which still depend on firmware fixes to mitigate those problems.

Intel's 9th Gen Core Gaming Benchmarks Flawed and Misleading

At its 9th Generation Core processor launch extravaganza earlier this week, Intel posted benchmark numbers to show just how superior its processors are to AMD 2nd generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge." PC enthusiasts worth their salt were quick to point out that Intel's numbers are both flawed and misleading as they misrepresent both test setups - by optimizing Intel processors beyond their out-of-the-box performance, and by running AMD processors with sub-optimal settings.

Intel paid Principled Technologies, a third-party performance testing agency, to obtain performance numbers comparing the Core i9-9900K with the Ryzen 7 2700X across a spectrum of gaming benchmarks, instead of testing the two chips internally, and posting their test setup data in end-notes, as if to add a layer of credibility/deniability to their charade. The agency posted its numbers that were almost simultaneously re-posted PCGamesN, gleaming the headline "Up to 50% Faster than Ryzen at Gaming." You could fertilize the Sahara with this data.

ASUS Launches Z390 Series Motherboards

Almost exactly one year after introducing six-core Coffee Lake processors alongside Z370 motherboards, Intel is back with more cores, higher clocks and the new Z390 chipset. The new 9th Generation Intel Core processor family offers up to eight cores and 16 threads of parallel processing horsepower that's perfect for content creation, heavy multitasking, and other demanding workloads. With clock speeds as high as 5GHz on the flagship Core i9-9900K, these new processors also raise the bar for gaming performance, especially if you're streaming, recording, and chatting simultaneously.

ASUS is excited to support this new generation of Intel processors with a wide variety of new motherboards based on the Intel Z390 chipset. The collection is led by a diverse cast from the Republic of Gamers that elevates gaming and overclocking to new heights. ROG Strix offers more streamlined alternatives that include a mighty Mini-ITX model, while TUF Gaming focuses on the essentials to hit more affordable price points. Outside the gaming sphere, the Prime family serves up signature ASUS features in a professional package, and the WS sets the stage for serious workstations and prosumer builds.

Intel Core i9-9900K Overclocked to 6.9 GHz On All Cores - With LN2

Intel took their opportunity to add a golden sheen to their new 9th Gen CPUs by going as far as showcasing their extreme overclocking capabilities right from the launch event. partering with world-renowned overclocker Splave, Intel showcased how a Core i9-9900K can withstand up to 1.7V Vcore, with a little aid from yours truly liquid nitrogen.

That scorchingly high Vcore paired with the sub-zero temperatures of LN2 allowed for all CPU cores to be overclocked up to 6.9 GHz, with Splave saying some samples could reach 7.1 GHz across all cores. Intel then went on to show some of the increased performance benchmarks - which, as you'd expect, don't showcase a linear performance improvement with increased frequency. Still, it's an impressive pure voltage and frequency feat. Splave went on to say that these new 9th Gen Intel processors can now achieve some 5.3 GHz under watercooling and at a much more mundane 1.4V Vcore. We'll all be able to test that for ourselves soon now won't we?

Intel Officially Launches 9th Generation Processors Including the 8-Core / 16-Thread Core i9-9900K

Anand Srivatsa, Vice President of Intel, officially announced their all-new 9th generation of core processors in today's live stream. While the Coffee Lake refresh has certainly been no secret, a few facts were confirmed today. The Core i9-9900k will be Intel's first broad volume 5 GHz processor and is their first mainstream 8 core, 16 thread offering. In order to facilitate better overclocking results for enthusiasts, the company also confirmed that they will use solder TIM for the whole range of products, which should result in not only better overclocking potential but much lower thermals as well.

MSI Redefines Gaming PC Design with the Trident X

MSI, a world leader in gaming hardware, proudly introduces the new Trident X compact desktop with the latest MSI GeForce RTX 2080 graphics cards and Intel 9th Generation Core K series processors. The MSI Trident X is the first compact desktop PC to incorporate an SFX power supply and the highest performing new MSI GeForce RTX graphics cards into a small 10-liter case. The Trident X is a completely new PC experience that rivals the performance of much larger traditional desktop PCs.

The Trident X comes equipped with up to an Intel Core i9-9900K processor for up 50 percent more performance. The i9 provides massive, overclockable performance in a small chassis. Additionally, gamers can take advantage of the newest innovations in graphics and raytracing with up to NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti graphics. With these components, the Trident X provides impressive performance in a small footprint for any task, including gaming or video editing.

MSI Z390 Motherboard Lineup Detailed: Includes a "MEG GODLIKE"

MSI is ready with seven new socket LGA1151 (300-series) motherboard models based on Intel's upcoming Z390 Express chipset, which the company recommends to make the most out of its upcoming 8-core processors. Among MSI's new motherboards are the MEG Z390 GODLIKE, the MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon, MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Edge, the mini-ITX MPG Z390I Gaming Pro Edge, Z390 Gaming Plus, MAG Z390 Tomahawk, and the Z390-A Pro. MSI probably feels that everyone and their aunt are selling motherboards with the Gaming moniker it perfected, and wants to throw in more brand extensions to differentiate its products. The MEG brand, abbreviating "MSI Enthusiast Gaming," is top of the line, and debuted recently with the MEG X399 Creation. The MPG (MSI Performance Gaming) series is a notch below MEG, and covers the upper mid-range. The MAG (MSI Arsenal Gaming) covers the entry-mid range gaming-grade motherboards, including the popular Tomahawk and Mortar brands.

MSI positions the MEG Z390 GODLIKE as your go-to board to max out the Core i9-9900K with connectivity and features packed to the brim, combined with a strong CPU VRM setup to overclock the living daylights out of the 8-core chip. Clad in aluminium+ABS, including a back-plate, this board offers connectivity for up to five M.2 PCIe SSDs (including a riser card), a U.2 port, an HDMI streaming card that offloads your CPU for streaming, a massive 18-phase VRM that delivers HEDT-levels of current to your LGA1151 processor, and a monochrome LED display.

More Clarity on 9th Gen Core Processor Pricing Emerges

Intel is debuting its first wave of 9th generation Core desktop processors with three models later this year - the 6-core/6-thread Core i5-9600K, the 8-core/8-thread Core i7-9700K, and the 8-core/16-thread Core i9-9900K. We've been very curious about how the entry of the Core i9 extension to the mainstream-desktop LGA1151 platform would affect pricing of the Core i5 and Core i7 K-series SKUs, especially given that the i7-9700K is the first Core i7 SKU in a decade to lack HyperThreading. An updated catalog by a major Singapore-based PC components distributor adds more clarity.

Singapore-based PC component distributor BizGram, in its latest catalog, disclosed the all-inclusive retail prices of the three new processors. As Redditor Dylan522p suggests, if you do the SGD-USD conversion and subtract all taxes, you get ominous-looking SEP prices for the three. Intel could price the Core i5-9600K at USD $249.99. The Core i7-9700K could be priced at $349.99. The flagship Core i9-9900K could go for $449.99. These seem like highly plausible pre-tax launch prices for the three chips, and fit into the competitive landscape.

First Intel Core i7-9700K Review Surfaces

Spanish language tech publication El Chapuzas Informático published the first almost-complete review of Intel Core i7-9700K processor. Without Intel disclosing the pricing of this chip, the review doesn't include price/performance numbers or a conclusion that explores the competitive landscape. You still get a sumptuous serving of 14 tests, from which 9 are some of the latest AAA games.

The bottom-line is that the i7-9700K locks horns with the Ryzen 7 2700X in most multi-threaded tests except Cinebench nT; and owing to its high clock speeds, it will end up as the fastest gaming processor around the $350-400 mark. Interestingly, the i7-9700K isn't 33% faster than the i7-8700K despite 33% more cores, because HyperThreading is sorely missed. The distinction could be reserved for the Core i9-9900K, although samples of that chip are far too rare.
More graphs follow.

Intel 14nm Processors Face Shortages

Intel's 8th generation Core desktop processors based on the company's 14 nm node are facing shortages in the market, according to a Tom's Hardware report. Tracking prices and availability of popular 8th generation Core SKUs such as the i5-8400, i5-8600K, and i7-8700K, the report notes that retailers are heavily marking up these SKUs above their SEP, and many of whom are running out of stock often. This may not be attributed to heavy demand.

A possible explanation for these shortages could be Intel allocating volumes from the same 14 nm++ node for its upcoming 9th generation Core processors, which debut with three SKUs - i5-9600K, i7-9700K, and i9-9900K. Intel probably wants to launch the three chips not just at competitive prices, but also good enough volumes to win the 2018 Holiday season, and repair its competitiveness damaged by AMD 2nd generation Ryzen over the past couple of quarters.

Intel Confirms Soldered IHS for 9th Gen Core Series

Soldered integrated heatspreader has been a longstanding demand of PC enthusiasts for Intel's premium "K" mainstream-desktop processors. With AMD implementing it across all its "Summit Ridge" and "Pinnacle Ridge" Ryzen AM4 processors, just enough pressure for built on Intel. The company, in a leaked slide, confirmed the feature-set of its upcoming 9th generation "K" Core processors, which highlights "STIM" (soldered thermal interface material) for this chip. It shows that STIM could be exclusive to the "K" series SKUs, namely the i9-9900K, i7-9700K, and i5-9600K.

The slides also list out the clock speeds and cache sizes of the three first 9th generation desktop SKUs, confirming that the Core i7-9700K will indeed be the first Core i7 desktop SKU ever to lack HyperThreading. The TDP of the 8-core chips don't seem to breach the 95W TDP barrier Intel seems to have set for its MSDT processors. The slides also seem to confirm that the upcoming Z390 Express chipset doesn't bring any new features, besides having stronger CPU VRM specifications than the Z370. Intel seems to recommend the Z390 to make the most out of its 8-core chips.

Finer Details of Intel Core i7-9700K and Core i9-9900K Emerge

Taiwanese tech site BenchLife.info scored finer details of Intel's upcoming premium LGA1151 processors through screenshots of leaked documents; revealing more about the Core i7-9700K 8-core/8-thread processor, and the top-dog 8-core/16-thread Core i9-9900K. The i7-9700K has the QDF number QQPK, and the i9-9900K "QQPP." The tables below also reveal their extended product code, CPUID, and iGPU device ID. There's also a confirmation that the TDP of both parts is rated at just 95 W. The next table provides a great insight to the clock speeds of the two chips.

Both chips idle at 800 MHz, and have an identical nominal clock speed of 3.60 GHz. The two differ with their Turbo Boost states. The i7-9700K has a maximum Turbo Boost state of 4.90 GHz, which it awards to 1-core. As a reminder, this chip is the first Core i7 SKU ever to lack HyperThreading support. 2-core boost frequency for this chip is 4.80 GHz. 4-core boost is up to 4.70 GHz. 4.60 GHz is the all-core boost (cores 5 thru 8). The i9-9900K gives both 1-core and 2-core the highest boost frequency of 5.00 GHz (that's up to 4 threads). The 4-core boost state is 4.80 GHz, and all-core (cores 5 thru 8) get 4.70 GHz. Intel is keeping its boost states rather high for this round of processors, as it tries to compete with the Ryzen 7 "Pinnacle Ridge" series.

ASUS Releasing 9th Gen Core Supporting BIOS Updates

ASUS announced that it is releasing motherboard BIOS updates that add 9th generation Core "Whiskey Lake" processor compatibility for almost its entire Intel 300-series chipset motherboard family. This includes models based on H310, B360, Q370, and H370 chipsets, and not just the top Z370. Intel is expected to debut its 9th generation Core processor family with three SKUs later this year: the Core i9-9900K, the Core i7-9700K, and the Core i5-9600K. The tables below list motherboard models alongside the minimum BIOS version you'll need for "Whiskey Lake" compatibility. You'll find your BIOS in the "support" tab of the product page of your motherboard on ASUS website.

AMD Announces 2nd Generation Ryzen Threadripper 2000, up to 32 Cores/64 Threads!

AMD announced its second-generation Ryzen Threadripper high-end desktop (HEDT) processor series, succeeding its lean and successful first-generation that disrupted much of Intel's Core X HEDT series, forcing Intel to open up new high-core-count (HCC) market segments beyond its traditional $1000 price-point. AMD's 16-core $999 1950X proved competitive with even Intel's 12-core and 14-core SKUs priced well above the $1200-mark; and now AMD looks to beat Intel at its game, with the introduction of new 24-core and 32-core SKUs at prices that are sure to spell trouble for Intel's Core X HCC lineup. The lineup is partially open to pre-orders, with two SKUs launching within August (including the 32-core one), and two others in October.

At the heart of AMD's second-generation Ryzen Threadripper is the new 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" die, which made its debut with the 2nd Generation Ryzen AM4 family. This die proved to introduce 3-5 percent IPC improvements in single-threaded tasks, and multi-threaded improvements with an improved Precision Boost II algorithm, which boosted frequencies of each of 8 cores on-die. The Threadripper is still a multi-chip module, with 2 to 4 of these dies, depending on the SKU. There are four of these - the 12-core/24-thread Threadripper 2920X, the 16-core/32-thread Threadripper 2950X; the 24-core/48-thread Threadripper 2970WX, and the flagship 32-core/64-thread Threadripper 2990WX.

Intel to Paper-launch 9th Gen Core on August 14, Availability in Q4-2018

Intel's client desktop processor lineup is under tremendous pressure owing to competition from AMD, with the company having to roll out entire processor generations over mere 2-3 quarters. You'll recount that Intel was merrily trotting around with its barely-innovative 7th Gen "Kaby Lake" family in early 2017, when AMD stunned the industry with an outperforming product lineup. The 7th generation barely lasted its planned product cycle, before Intel rushed in a pathetic sub-$500 Core X lineup, and the 8th generation "Coffee Lake" with 50-100% core-count increases. Even that is proving insufficient in the wake of 2nd generation AMD Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge," and Intel is cutting short its product cycle with the 9th generation Core "Whiskey Lake" (or "Coffee Lake" Refresh) series, that further increase core-counts.

"Whiskey Lake" was originally planned for Q1-2019 alongside the 14 nm original Z390 chipset. Intel wasn't expecting AMD to rebound with Ryzen 2000 series (particularly the tangible IPC increases and improved multi-core boosting). And so, it decided to rush through with a new product generation yet again. The Z370 is being re-branded to Z390 (with an improved CPU VRM reference design), and what was originally meant to come out in Q1-2019, could come out by Q4-2018, at the very earliest by October. Intel reportedly planned availability sooner, but realized that distributors have heaps of unsold 8th generation Core inventory, and motherboard vendors aren't fully ready for the chip. Since getting a 9th gen Core chip doesn't warrant a new motherboard, customers would be inclined to pick up 9th generation chip with their existing boards, or any new 300-series board. This would kill the prospects of selling 8th generation Core CPUs.

Intel Core i9-9900K 3DMark Numbers Emerge: Beats Ryzen 7 2700X

Some of the first benchmark numbers of Intel's upcoming 8-core/16-thread socket LGA1151 processor, the Core i9-9900K, surfaced, from Thai professional overclocker TUM APISAK. A 3DMark database submission sees the processor score 10,719 points in the CPU tests, with an overall score of 9,862 points, when paired with a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card. According to WCCFTech, the CPU score is about 2,500 points higher than the 6-core/12-thread Core i7-8700K, and about 1,500 points higher than the 8-core/16-thread AMD Ryzen 7 2700X. The tested processor features 8 cores, 16 threads, a nominal clock of 3.10 GHz, and boost frequency of 5.00 GHz, as measured by 3DMark's internal SysInfo module. Intel is expected to launch the Core i9-9900K on 1st August, 2018.

Intel Core i9 8-core LGA1151 Processor Could Get Soldered IHS, Launch Date Revealed

The fluid thermal interface material between the processor die and the IHS (integrated heatspreader) has been a particularly big complaint of PC enthusiasts in recent times, especially given that AMD has soldered IHS (believed to be more effective in heat-transfer), across its Ryzen processor line. We're getting reports of Intel planning to give at least its top-dog Core i9 "Whiskey Lake" 8-core socket LGA1151 processor a soldered IHS. The top three parts of this family have been detailed in our older article.

The first Core i9 "Whiskey Lake" SKU is the i9-9900K, an 8-core/16-thread chip clocked between 3.60~5.00 GHz, armed with 16 MB of L3 cache. The introduction of the Core i9 extension to the mainstream desktop segment could mean Intel is carving out a new price point for this platform that could be above the $300-350 price traditionally held by top Core i7 "K" SKUs from the previous generations. In related news, we are also hearing that the i9-9900K could be launched as early as 1st August, 2018. This explains why motherboard manufacturers are in such hurry to release BIOS updates for their current 300-series chipset motherboards.

Top Three Intel 9th Generation Core Parts Detailed

Intel is giving finishing touches to its 9th generation Core processor family, which will see the introduction of an 8-core part to the company's LGA115x mainstream desktop (MSDT) platform. The company is also making certain branding changes. The Core i9 brand, which is being introduced to MSDT, symbolizes 8-core/16-thread processors. The Core i7 brand is relegated to 8-core/8-thread (more cores but fewer threads than the current Core i7 parts). The Core i5 brand is unchanged at 6-core/6-thread. The three will be based on the new 14 nm+++ "Whiskey Lake" silicon, which is yet another "Skylake" refinement, and hence one can't expect per-core IPC improvements.

Leading the pack is the Core i9-9900K. This chip is endowed with 8 cores, and HyperThreading enabling 16 threads. It features the full 16 MB of shared L3 cache available on the silicon. It also has some stellar clock speeds - 3.60 GHz nominal, with 5.00 GHz maximum Turbo Boost. You get the 5.00 GHz across 1 to 2 cores, 4.80 GHz across 4 cores, 4.70 GHz across 6 to 8 cores. Interestingly, the TDP of this chip remains unchanged from its predecessor, at 95 W. Next up, is the Core i7-9700K. This chip apparently succeeds the i7-8700K. It has 8 cores, but lacks HyperThreading.
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