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Is Intel Core i9 overkill?

Is Intel Core i9 overkill? Let's find out

Updated: Feb 10, 2023 2:33 pm
Is Intel Core i9 overkill?

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Processors have become crazy strong these days. Almost all the needs of the average PC user can be met by entry-level and mid-range processors such as those featured in the recent Core i5 and Ryzen 5 lineups. Given that, you now have to wonder whether the higher-end processors are overkill. 

Now Read: Best CPU for gaming

Well, we’re here to help you find out. Today, we’re looking at Core i9 CPUs by Intel. So, let’s get started: Is Intel i9 overkill?

What is Intel Core i9?

The Intel Core i9 CPU series feature’s the company’s strongest processors. These are their generational flagships and often end up being the most powerful consumer-grade processors available, competed with only by Ryzen 9 CPUs

To give you a better idea of the kind of power boasted by the latest i9 processors, here are the specs for the Intel Core i9-13900K. 

  • Cores: P-cores 8 / E-cores 16
  • Threads: 32
  • Base clock frequency: P.cores 3GHz / E.cores 2.2GHz
  • Boost clock frequency: P.cores 5.8GHz / E.cores 4.3GHz
  • L3 cache: 36MB
  • Default TDP: 125 W / 253 W boost.
  • iGPU: Intel UHD graphics 770

The processor has an industry-leading 32 threads and a record 24 cores. The 5.8GHz clock speed is just as impressive.

Are Intel Core i9 processors overkill?

Generally speaking, most users simply won’t ever really need the kind of power that modern Core i9 processors have to offer. That’s not to say that core i9 processors don’t have their use cases, though. 

For gaming

Gaming performance is determined primarily by a processor’s single-core performance, which, in turn, is determined by the maximum clock speed. Intel Core i9 CPUs have industry-leading clock speeds, but the Core i5 and i7 processors aren’t all that far behind.

Games don’t utilize many threads, and the recent Core i9 processors have upwards of 24. That’s a lot of wasted resources if gaming is the only goal. 

You could go with a much cheaper 12-threaded Ryzen 5 7600X and see only a minor drop in performance. It’s hard to deny that Intel Core i9 processors are a bit overkill for gaming. 

For content creation and productivity

Streaming and content creation are both CPU-intensive workloads that do benefit from having more available threads. If we’re talking streaming exclusively, you probably don’t need a Core i9 and would find better value in a Core i7 processor. 

However, if we add content creation to the mix, Core i9 CPUs become an excellent option. Activities typically involved in content creation, such as video editing and 3D rendering, will be carried out much faster thanks to the i9’s extra cores and threads. 

Is an Intel Core i9 processor right for me?

You’ll likely find a Core i9 processor suitable if:

  • You’re an enthusiast gamer looking to build the absolute best gaming rig in terms of raw performance, even if you don’t get the best value for your money. 
  • You’re a streamer or a content creator. Core i9 processors are excellent options for you because of their high capacity for multitasking and ability to get things done quickly, improving your productivity. 
  • You have a large PC case and are willing to spend on an expensive cooling solution. Core i9 processors soak up a ton of power and run super hot, which is something you’ll simply have to deal with if you choose to go with one. 

If you settle on a Core i9 CPU, I strongly recommend going with one that belongs to the 12th or, better yet, the 13th generation of Intel Core processors. Rather than going with i9s 11th gen and below, it would simply be better to get a newer 13th gen Core i5 or i7 CPU. 

Jack is a Tech and News Writer who has a vast and proficient knowledge of CPUs, Motherboards, and Computer technology.

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