Intel’s still not hinted when it plans to launch its next batch of processors, but rumours suggest we could see an Intel 9th Gen CPU reveal in October.
Ahead of this official announcement, though, there’s been a number of leaks that certainly seem credible.
Chinese YouTuber Lau Kin Lam claims to have already got his hands on the rumoured high-end Core i9-9900K processor and that’s he’s been able to overclock it to a whopping 5GHz. While overclocked, the processor was seen to achieve a score of 2166 in Cinebench, which is a significant improvement compared to both the corresponding Intel CPU from the previous generation and AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700X. Lau Kin Lam’s video also backs up the reports that Core i9-9900K will be sporting eight cores.
Of course, we can’t guarantee that this YouTube video isn’t doctored since Intel’s yet to confirm any details. Right now, Intel’s talking about 8th Gen Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake CPUs for forthcoming laptops, with nary a mention of the 9th.
Despite there being no official announcements from the chipmaker, a number of online retailers have posted prices for devices which bear the names of CPUs we’ve seen in previous leaks.
Intel 9th Gen CPU Price: How much will it cost?
At the most, it looks like you’ll be paying something in the region of £400 for a 9th gen Core i9, which, if true, is only a little more than what you could expect to pay for an i9-7900X or i7-8700K today. Given that we’re expecting great things from the 9th gen, this could be a bargain.
A report on Tom’s Hardware collates the prices of three rumoured Intel 9th gen processors, the i9-9900K, i7-9700K, and the i5-9600K, which we’ve reproduced below, with estimated UK prices (ex-VAT and based on current exchange rates) in brackets:
|Core i9-9900K||11658.33 Kč (£411.89)||€432.59 (£392.94)||€459.02 (£416.93)|
|Core i7-9700K||9158.33 Kč (£323.46)||€336.04 (£305.20)||€357.38 (£324.59)|
|Core i5-9600K||6241.66 Kč (£220.45)||€229.29 (£208.25)||€220.49 (£200.26)|
Intel 9th Gen CPU Release date: When will we see it?
We’re waiting on comment of this from Intel. Rumours suggest that the company is preparing to make an announcement in October, which would make sense, as last year’s 8th gen series was unveiled in October 2017.
There’s also been rumours that Intel’s been struggling with perfecting the 10 nanometre manufacturing process. The 9th gen is rumoured to move away from the 14 nanometre design, which was introduced in 2015. Alternatively, as we’ve seen with the Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake CPUs, the 9th gen may introduce an even more efficient 14nm design.
Intel 9th Gen CPU: Will we see Intel jump to 10nm?
Maybe, maybe not. Intel’s naming convention appears to have Cannon Lake (sometimes spelled ‘Cannonlake’) down as the designation for 10 nanometre units.
Why is the jump from 14nm – the size of components Intel’s used in its CPUs since 2014 – to 10nm significant? Put simply, making the chip’s components smaller allows more of them to be packed into the same space, and hence leads to big performance increases.
Intel has historically worked with what it has called a ‘tick-tock’ model. The first generational leap would see a ‘die shrink’ (aka a shrinking of the process technology), before the second followed with a ‘tock’ or a smaller update to the microarchitecture.
However this tick-tock process has recently slowed. Intel ‘ticked’ down to its 14nm Broadwell with the 5th generation of its CPUs, and it’s been stuck tocking at 14nm ever since.
There were hopes that the 9th generation of its CPUs might finally see it ‘tick’ down to 10nm, but leaks (via RockPaperShotgun, and PCBuilders Club) suggest they’ll be produced using the existing 14nm ‘Coffee Lake’ architecture.
Intel 9th Gen CPU Performance: How well will it perform?
Specifically we’re looking at the following CPUs:
- Intel Core i9-9900K (8 cores, 16 threads, speeds currently unknown, 95W TDP)
- Intel Core i7-9700K (6 cores, 12 threads, speeds currently unknown, 95W TDP)
- Intel Core i5-9600K (6 cores, 6 threads, 3.7GHz / 4.5GHz Turbo, 95W TDP)
- Intel Core i5-9600 (6 cores, 6 threads, 3.1GHz / 4.3GHz Turbo, 65W TDP)
- Intel Core i5-9500 (6 cores, 6 threads, 3.0GHz / 4.1GHz Turbo, 65W TDP)
- Intel Core i5-9400 (6 cores, 6 threads, 2.9GHz / 4.1GHz Turbo, 65W TDP)
- Intel Core i3-9100 (4 cores, 4 threads, 3.7GHz, 65W TDP)
- Intel Core i3-9000 (4 cores, 4 threads, 3.7GHz, 65W TDP)
- Intel Core i3-9000T (4 cores, 4 threads, 3.2GHz, 35W TDP)
Related: Nvidia RTX 2080
If true, that means we’re looking at a clock-speed boost of only around 100-200MHz, which is unlikely to matter too much to today’s GPU-based games.
Meanwhile, AMD’s Ryzen chips are going from strength to strength. The latest Ryzen 2 CPUs (such as the Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 5 2400G) were a big step up, but their single-threaded performance means Intel still has the gaming advantage for now.
That said AMD’s higher end Threadripper series could bring the fight to Intel in a serious way. At the highest end, the Threadripper 2 range, unveiled at this year’s Computex, will feature CPUs with 32 cores and 64 threads, but if you’re building a gaming PC, this is unlikely to be of any real benefit to you.
Still, if Intel’s 9th generation of chips is as incremental as these rumours suggest, then AMD could be in a position to overtake the company, if the 9th gen prices don’t compare well with those of the new Ryzens and Threadrippers.
Related: Best CPU for gaming
Intel 9th Gen motherboards
Asus has announced that it will be supporting Intel’s Core 9000 Series and has made BIOS updates for a number of its existing motherboards available to download from its site. We’ve republished the full list here.
So where’s Cannon Lake?
Cannon Lake is the codename Intel currently has earmarked for its first generation of 10nm CPUs, but recent rumours around this die shrink have been confusing to say the very least.
In fact, the first Cannon Lake CPUs appear to already be out in the wild, with Ars Technica reporting that the Lenovo IdeaPad 330 (so far an exclusive to China) is the first recipient of the new chip.
Confusingly, the laptop’s chip is still labelled an 8th generation CPU though, which makes the entire situation harder to read.
While leaks like these normally add up over time to build up a solid picture of what we should expect, almost the exact opposite is happening when it comes to Intel’s upcoming CPUs. We know that a 9th generation is coming at some point, but aside from that it’s all much more up in the air.
What do you want to see from Intel’s next series of chips? Get in touch with us @TrustedReviews