The whole story of the introduction of the Core i9-9900KS from the beginning made us feel deja vu. Why? Yes, it's very simple, we found similar events sixteen years ago when AMD released their revolutionary Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 FX processors with Hammer microarchitecture. Then, to recall these new products, Intel quickly organized the release of Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processors equipped with a 2 megabyte L3 cache, whipped up by Xeon MP server chips. Now, of course, the situation is developing in a slightly different scenario, but the overall plot contour has remained the same. Not being able to respond symmetrically to a competitor's bold creeps, Intel is turning as well as possible and instead of offering a new product family it offers temporary flagship processors of "fast response."
Core i9-9900KS is just such a response from Ryzen third generation material. Remember that the announcement of the upcoming release of this processor by Intel was made in early June at the Computex show ̵
Intel's full-fledged response to the Ryzen 3000 will be seen fairly soon. The release of 10-core Comet Lake processors is scheduled for the first quarter of 2020. But if you want to put a new Intel processor under the tree, you just have to settle for just the Core i9-9900KS. However, you should not think that it will be something like a "comforting" gift. Intel without fake speed says about the Core i9-9900KS as follows: " based on the Core i9-9900K, we made the best gaming processor in the world even better ," and this seems to be true.
Translated from Marketing of this dissertation means that the Core i9-9900KS, which went on sale, is a special version of the Core i9-9900K, built on selected semiconductor crystals that can work at even higher clock frequencies. In addition, the "special" is literally: the letter S, which appeared at the end of the model number, is an abbreviation for Special Edition. The formal characteristics of the new articles are such that the Core i9-9900KS can work with the "beautiful" frequency of 5.0 GHz with a simultaneous load on all eight cores. Only one thing confuses: the warranty period for such an accelerated processor is limited to one year, while the usual Core i9-9900K (in box) is given a three-year warranty.
The manufacturer emphasizes the exclusivity of the Core i9-9900KS with a story that for the production of such CPUs he must use a special procedure for selecting semiconductor crystals, so the circulation of such processors is quite small. The exact number of "special" chips to be delivered to the market is not reported, but you can be sure that next year it will be problematic to buy a Core i9-9900KS in the store. This is partly because the margin for the Special Edition label and the 5 GHz frequency is not so great and can not be a significant obstacle for buyers. The recommended price for the Core i9-9900KS is $ 513, just $ 25 more than the price of a regular Core i9-9900K.
But the question of whether it's worth hunting only Core i9-9900KS remains, and we will try to answer that in this review, where we compare Intel's new product with affordable alternatives from the same price category, among which the most interesting is not even the usual Core i9-9900K, but the 12-core AMD Ryzen 9 3900X.
⇡ # Read more about Core i9-9900KS
Core i9-9900KS became the fifth representative for the Coffee Lake Refresh family, which received model number 9900. His brothers always offered Em cores support Thread Technology and possessed 16MB L3 cache, but differentiated TDP, overclocking capacity, target audience frequencies and the presence or absence of an integrated GPU. In the Core i9-9900KS, as well as in the crown for the entire development of the ninth generation of Core, all these features are twisted to maximum values, but compared to the previously released sister processors, the formal specifications of the Core i9-9900KS are not at all fantastic.
|Core i9-9900KS  Core i9-9900K||Core i9-9900KF||Core i9-9900||Core i9-9900T|
|Core / Wires||8/16||8/16||8/16 16||8/16||8/16|
|Bass 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|
|Integrated Graphics||UHD 630||UHD 630||No  No||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|
only estimated heat dissipation of Core i9-9900KS – 127 watts. But there were also cases among the mass processors, it is enough to recall, for example, Intel Core 2 Extreme or AMD FX Black Edition nine thousand series.
Higher than the other 9900, the base rate for the Core i9-9900KS is absolutely no means. First, as we know, Intel processors never actually work on it, and the aggressiveness of Turbo Boost 2.0 technology determines the actual frequencies. Second, the increase in the base frequency is a direct consequence of raising the bar of the heat packet, since according to the present formulation, TDP is defined only as heat output by the processor at the nominal base frequency.
To evaluate the exceptional character of the Core i9-9900KS as a whole, you have to look deeper – at the maximum frequencies possible as part of the turbo mode with a load on a different number of computer cores. It's nice that Intel just recently decided to remove information about these values from open access, and now the company is facing the fact that this was done in vain, because without it, the benefits of the Core i9-9900KS could not be shown. But with some patience, the turbo frequencies can be determined experimentally or with the help of diagnostic tools.
And just in this case, the benefits of the Core i9-9900KS become clearer: with a load of six or more cores, this processor can run at 300 MHz or 6.3% faster than the Core i9-9900K and Core i9-9900KF.
|Base frequency, MHz||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 i9-9900||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|
In fact, all this does not mean that by choosing Core i9-9900KS for your system you will get 5.0 GHz at each load. Don't forget that turbo frequencies are the maximum auto acceleration possible, but not guaranteed. Turbo Boost 2.0 technology does not automatically increase the CPU frequency based on the number of cores working, but also takes into account other parameters, especially the nature of the load and, most importantly, the energy consumption generated by it. For the processor power consumption in turbo mode, the theory sets two limit values, PL1 and PL2, which limit it for short-term and long-term loads. The limit PL2, which sets the maximum consumption for long periods of time, is assumed to be equal to the pass value for TDP. The limit for PL1 is usually a quarter higher than PL2, which allows the processor to consume more than what is in TDP, but only for short periods of time. The maximum duration for such time periods is determined by the constant τ, which according to the specification can be selected in the interval 1 to 8 seconds.
All this means that when designing the Core i9-9900KS, it was assumed that it would consume more than 127W at long-term loads and a maximum of 159 watts – for the short term. And such consumption limits with a 5-GHz frequency are clearly incompatible. Even the Core i9-9900K at its 4.7 GHz turbo frequency in multi-thread rendering in the Cinebench R20 consumes about 195 watts. The new Core i9-9900KS with a frequency of 5.0GHz in this test shows a consumption of about 220W.
Therefore, if everything was honest and in accordance with the specification, we would not see any 5.0GHz to and with close. This is illustrated in the following graph, where we plotted the frequency curve for the Core i9-9900KS depending on the load in the Cinebench R20, built when this processor works with correctly set limits PL1 and PL2 set at 127 and 159 watts. A similar curve is also shown for Core i9-9900K, where these limits are set a quarter lower according to the specification – 95 W and 119 W.
Although the Core i9-9900KS operates at a significantly higher frequency compared to the Core i9- 9900K, if all 5 GHz at full load we still do not talk. Such a frequency can be observed if the number of workload currents does not exceed six and no more. The maximum multi-thread load in the Cinebench R20 lowers the Core i9-9900KS frequency to 4.5 GHz due to the fact that Silicon Lake Lake Refresh, made with 14-nm technology, always exceeds the 4.4-4.5 GHz limit sharply increasing state of energy.
However, all of this research frequency is purely theoretically interesting, since motherboard manufacturers with quiet consent from Intel simply ignore the limits of PL1 and PL2 and set them to maximum. You can fulfill some meaningful settings for these restrictions only on cheap motherboards with a fairly weak power supply, while most Z390 platforms by default twist these limits to maximum and obviously unattainable values. And that is precisely why Intel processors have not observed a decrease in frequency with an increase in power consumption beyond the limits set in the TDP specification in reality. Intel
So far, Intel and motherboard manufacturers have not been as wheel-free in terms of the energy consumption parameters. All were satisfied, as the end users did not become as economical as specified in the specifications, but automatically accelerated to maximum frequencies for the system's turbo mode with increased performance.
But with the Core i9-9900KS this focus goes with a bang. This processor operates at a frequency of 5.0 GHz and emits so much heat that only selected cooling systems can handle it. While testing our instance of the Core i9-9900KS, for example, we encountered the failure of our usual Noctua NH-U14S and NH-D15 air coolers. With both a one-section and a two-part tower, when Prime95 29.8 was launched, the processor quickly reached a limit temperature of 115 degrees and fell into strangulation. In order to achieve stable operation of the Core i9-9900KS with a frequency of 5.0 GHz in any program, without exception, it was possible only after the transition to liquid cooling. And not just anyone, but to one of the most efficient coolant with closed loop NZXT Kraken X72, which is equipped with a 360 mm cooler.
But even with such a powerful coolant coolant during the tests reached 108 degrees, which, however, is natural, given the 275-watt power consumption of the Core i9-9900KS under heavy load, spiced with AVX2 instructions .
All this means that owners of the Core i9-9900KS who are not prepared to cool this processor can properly meet with temperature control, even if they are armed with a fairly productive cooling system and it will not dissipate. We are absolutely sure that forums and social networking groups will soon be overwhelmed by a wave of complaints about overheating Core i9-9900KS at default settings. Intel has only one option to avoid this: somehow agree with the manufacturers of motherboards so that at least in the case of the Core i9-9900KS does not ignore the setting of consumption limits.
Of course, you have to remember that we checked the temperature in Prime95 29.8 – a program that greatly heats up processors by searching for Mersenne numbers. Such warming is not as common in ordinary tasks, but for example, there is a high risk of overheating when re-encoding video content with modern encoders or when rendering. Therefore, after installing the Core i9-9900KS in the system, it is better to spend some time checking the temperatures and setting it. It is recommended that you manually select the consumption limits PL1 and PL2, or set a downward adjustment of the frequency when using the AVX instructions, or try to reduce the supply voltage. And you don't always have to believe 5.0 GHz stories out of the box: it's a hyperbole (artistic exaggeration).
This raises a reasonable question: is Core i9-9900KS better than Core i9-9900K if the $ 25 overpayment for this CPU does not guarantee the absence of overheating at a frequency of 5.0 GHz and, in addition, inevitably the user judges to be a careful choice of cooling and further configuration of the system? But the answer is still positive. At a minimum, the Core i9-9900KS is really based on selected Coffee Lake Refresh crystals, which translate into slightly lower temperatures and consumption at the same frequency and voltage. For example, we compared the heat and energy characteristics of the available copies of the Core i9-9900KS and Core i9-9900K at a frequency of 4.7 GHz at a voltage of 1.25 V with a liquid cooling system NZXT Kraken X72. And as you can see from the results of the Prime95 stress test, the Core i9-9900KS really turns out to be more economical and cooler, all else equal.
|4.7 GHz, 1.25 V||Maximum temperature||Maximum consumption  Core i9-9900KS||86 ° C||218 W|
|Core i9-9900K||90 ° C||226 W|
In addition, Core i9-9900KS processors, unlike Core i9-9900K and Core i9-9900KF, are guaranteed based on R0 semiconductor step crystals. And this means they already have hardware patches for some sensational vulnerabilities, especially Fallout and Specter V4 (Speculative Store Bypass). But from a practical standpoint, this doesn't mean too much. Hardware fixes, as well as their counterparts to the software, have a similar effect on performance, and in the end, users of the Core i9-9900KS get nothing but the lack of the need to update the microcode and install critical updates to the operating system and software.
⇡ # Overclocking
Given how the Core i9-9900KS heats up when operating in the "nominal" mode at a frequency of 5.0 GHz, it would be strange to expect some feats from it in the area for overclocking. However, to achieve a higher frequency, overclockers can use a special backup tool to help overclock Core X-Series HEDT processors. Namely, the frequency limitation when the processor works with AVX instructions.
That in the case of the Core i9-9900KS can have a positive effect on the result, say, for example, that all foreign stores offering the Core i9-9900KS samples with overclocking guarantee. Both in Caseking .de and at SiliconLottery .com when sorting processors, they use a downward correction of -2 or -3 for the multiplication factor when working with AVX -instructions.
But this didn't help us at all. Our instance of Core i9-9900KS could not provide stability at 5.1 GHz when working with demanding applications 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, one should not be surprised at this. We are dealing with a CPU that is already pre-clocked from the factory, which was chosen from the standard Core i9-9900K only using the principle of operability with a frequency of 5.0 GHz. And if its overclocking potential would allow it to take more remote limits, Intel would probably benefit from this to improve the features of its offering, since it's not a mass product, but a special limited series of processors.
In fact, all of this fits well with the results selection of the most successful representatives of the Core i9-9900KS family, carried out by specialists in the store SiliconLottery . com . According to the statistics they collected, only one of three copies of Core i9-9900KS over 5.0 GHz is accelerated. And we obviously didn't get a "happy" chip this time.
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