As expected, Intel officially announced its new 9th generation core processors along with the Z390 chipset this week. We wrote everything about it here and made a few brief comments on what to expect in view of the benchmark embargo. The full reviews will not be lifted until October 19.
Although we are not technically tied to it since we have not signed an NDA to receive our sample, we will wait for a number of reasons, out of professionalism and respect for other reviewers who will go down in their day-to-day- Verification.
When PCGamesN released the early Core i9-9900K results today, we were a little surprised. The title "Intel Core i9 9900K is up to 50% faster in games than AMD's Ryzen 7 2700X" sounded wrong to me, but I read on …
"Intel has now officially announced its new Core i9 9900K processor and declared it the" world's best gaming processor. "It's not just a marketing hype … well, not quite. Intel has commissioned Principled Technologies, benchmarking for his latest 9th generation chips and their competition in 19 of the most popular PC games. "
For example, ten days before the reviews, Intel can publish its own "tests", which have been suspiciously carried out by a third party, while the auditors are prohibited from refuting the claims under the NDA. First bad sign.
If you scroll down in PCGamesN, you will see the following if you look at the benchmarks commissioned by Intel …
"But the real point of all of this is that Intel is able to make the 9900K undoubtedly the best gaming processor compared to the AMD competition, and that it seems to have excelled in some games like Civ 6 and PUBG, the performance delta is not necessarily that big, but for the most part you see between 30 and 50% higher frame rates of 9900K compared to 2700X. "
Many of the results immediately looked very suspicious to me. After spending countless hours comparing both the 2700X and 8700K, I have a good idea of how they can be compared across a variety of titles, and these results looked very poor. After discovering some dodgy-looking results, my next thought was why PCGamesN released this misleading data and why it didn't tear apart the paid benchmark report. Don't you know better?
The Principled Technologies website has a full report detailing how they were tested and what hardware was used. Official memory speeds have been used, which is not a particularly big deal, although they have tried very hard to hinder Ryzen or at least reveal its weaknesses.
Ryzen does not work as well with fully populated memory DIMMs, two modules are optimal. Timings are also important, however, and they used Corsair Vengeance memory without loading the extreme memory profile or the XMP setting. Instead, they just set the memory frequency to 2933 and kept the ridiculously loose standard memory timings. These loose timings ensure compatibility so that systems start up. After that you have to activate the storage profile. It is misleading to run benchmarks without taking this crucial step.
Still, it would be almost fair if they did the same for Intel, but they didn't. For all Intel platforms, the memory was first set to XMP and then the frequency was adjusted manually, which gave Intel a significant performance advantage, especially for games.
The next step in manipulating the results was to test only at 1080p with a GTX 1080 Ti using quality presets that were one or two steps away from the maximum. In many cases, this simulates the type of performance we see when testing at 720p using the highest quality presets. Of course, we also test at 1080p and 1440p to give readers the full picture.
One of the worst results that PCGamesN chose was Ashes of the Singularity. Let's ignore the 9900K for now because I can't show you these results. Let's focus on the 8700K and 2700X instead. Here the 8700K was 29% faster than the 2700X, which is a much larger margin than I would expect. Principled Technologies uses the integrated benchmark, the CPU-focused benchmark, in which the game is run in DirectX 12 mode with the high-quality default setting.
So I installed two Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR4-3200 modules, loaded the XMP profile on both the AMD and Intel platforms and ran the tests with exactly the same settings. I also ran the tests again with the XMP memory timings, but at the official memory speeds for each CPU. I will only publish three of the game results. I didn't feel that the need to spend more time on this test after a few hours was enough to clarify a point …
Here are the results for Ashes of the Singularity. Let us talk about that. Compared to the paid results Principled Technologies had with stock storage, my 2700X was 18% faster, which is a shocking result.
The 8700K, on the other hand, was 4% slower and this meant that it was 4% faster than the 2700X and up to 9% faster with the higher clocked memory. However, this is nothing more than the 29% performance advantage that Intel enjoyed in the paid tests.
Next I looked at Far Cry 5 and here the change for the 2700X wasn't that extreme, it was only 3% faster in my test and 10% faster with 3200 specified memory. However, the 8700K was slower again, 7% slower with the 2666 memory used by Principled Technologies. Even with 3200 memory, I couldn't get the result.
While they claim the 8700K in Far Cry 5 is 26% faster, it's actually 14% or 12% with 3200 memory, actually a clear win for Intel, but not nearly as extreme as Principled's benchmarks Technologies you would believe lead.
The last results I looked at related to Assassins Creed: Origins. Again, they used the built-in benchmark with the third highest quality preset at 1080p with a GTX 1080 Ti. Here the 8700K was 36% faster according to Principled Technologies, whereas in reality it is 8% at standard memory speeds and 10% at overclocked memory.
So it's pretty obvious that Principled Technologies results are a lot of junk and no one should reproduce them. Of course, the focus here for Intel was on highlighting how great the Core i9-9900K is, and unfortunately, I am currently unable to show the actual results for this CPU. Of course, it won't be 50% faster than the 2700X in games.
The 9900K is undoubtedly faster than the 2700X for gaming, but it will also cost twice as much if you consider the motherboard price. On average, when using matched memory for 2700X and 8700K, we found that the Intel CPU was 1080p at 1080p with a GTX 1080 Ti ~ 9% faster. Realistically, we expect the 9900K to be a few percent faster than the 8700K, at least in games, since most titles don't even use the 6-core / 12-thread processor.
I don't have too much of a problem with Intel commissioning the report itself, and the Principled Technologies report is very transparent because it clearly states how they tested the games and configured the hardware. The results and testing methods are heavily biased, but they haven't tried to hide their shady methods. You can dive into the technical data and find all the details. It's still dubious, but it's a paid report, so something is expected.
Nvidia's misleading benchmarks regarding the launch of the GeForce 20 series were pretty bad, though at a different level, and I sincerely hope that we won't publish these results anywhere else to promote the 9900K. Intel is under pressure, we understand that, but ultimately this kind of step makes the company a bad service.
We expect more to come up on this in the coming days, and it goes without saying that you are waiting for our independent i9-9900K test and reviews from other trusted media to arrive late next week. Tomorrow we are also likely to continue our thoughts on the new unlocked 28-core processors of the Xeon workstation and the processors of the Intel Core X series. See where they stand against thread rippers.