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Five LGA 1151 CPUs that Prove You Don’t Need a New Motherboard Yet
Admittedly, it’s easy to become swept up in the hype and excitement of new processors hitting the market. In the face of this, one may begin to view their current LGA 1151 build as an outdated relic. However, it’s important to note that the LGA 1151 socket is still relevant and offers much to users.
Intel is known for frequently introducing new sockets, yet the LGA 1151 is a versatile design that remains a part of their extensive catalog. It was originally created to accommodate the Sky Lake family of CPUs, and subsequently, Intel released Kaby Lake in the same format. In a surprising move, the LGA 1151 socket was revised to support Coffee Lake. Currently, with Raptor Lake, the socket has been upgraded to LGA 1700. Nevertheless, this does not imply that the LGA 1151 socket has become obsolete.
With a total of three CPU families and eighteen chipsets to choose from, it’s evident that the LGA 1151 socket is still very much in use. We have discovered processors that demonstrate this fact!
Nearing three years old, the i9 9900K is one of the newest CPUs you can pair with your LGA 1151 motherboard, and it’s a total beast!
An octa-core design with insane single-core speeds, it’s primed for some high-tier hardware pairings. Take the RTX 2080 Ti for example. The 9900K presents an infinitesimal 0.84% bottleneck in 1080p, and a negligible 2.5% bottleneck in 1440p.
It also features hyperthreading, so you can pile on the tabs, throw on a tune, download a film, and play your game at the same time without diminished capacities. The i9 9900K does have quite a fiery temperament, so if you do plan on pushing it, make sure you’ve got one of these.
3.8GHz up to 5.1GHz
You can think of the i7 9700K as a Single-threaded version of the i9 9900K, but that’s in no way a declaration of inferiority. Quite the contrary. Due to those hyper-focused cores, the i7 is actually quite a bit faster for gaming. This exquisite performance comes at the expense of hardcore multitasking, but the eight individual cores should be more than enough for everyday usage.
The i7 9700K’s clock speeds are also nothing to scoff at. Boasting the exact same 3.6GHz base clock speed as its hyperthreaded i9 equivalent and just 0.1GHz off the fabled 5GHz boosted rate, even demanding, high octane games feel responsive and crisp.
Much like its hot-headed i9 cousin, the 9700K can run hot, especially when pushed with some manual overclocking. We recorded temperatures around 90°C under 100% load, so you may want to pair this purchase with a quality cooler.
3.7GHz up to 4.6GHz
We have a real soft spot for the i5 9600K. Due to the runaway performance of the 9700K and the expansive multithreaded architecture of equivalent AMD CPUs, it always exhibited something of an underdog vibe, but good grief can this thing move.
With six single-threaded Coffee Lake cores at its heart, it’s arguably even more of a ‘gaming’ CPU than our other top picks, which isn’t to say it’s incapable of multitasking. Six cores can handle standard parallelizing workflows, but gaming is its primary function.
It won’t stand in the way of a powerful GPU either, which is essential if you want to maximize your build’s performance. Paired with an RTX 2080, widely considered one of the best graphics cards on the market, it will impart a 1.72% bottleneck in 1080p, which is nothing really.
This awesome gaming power is largely down to the 3.7GHz base speed (faster than our top picks) and 4.6GHz boosted rate. These frequencies ensure visuals are always silky smooth and enthralling as heck!
2.9Ghz – 4.1Ghz
All the ominous ‘F’ suffix means in the 9400’s name is that it’s a little cheaper, mostly because it doesn’t come with an integrated Intel graphics processor. Realistically, to unlock any of these processors’ full potential, you’ll need a discrete card anyway, so it’s essentially just a nice discount that has no impact on your system. Nice, ay?
It’s a single-threaded Hexa-core processor, which makes it incredibly fast for gaming applications. Like our top picks, it doesn’t stunt GPU performance and is more than capable of facilitating 1080p averages of 100+fps.
The 2.9GHz base clock isn’t ideal, but that’s easily remedied by turning on Turbo Boost in the BIOS and accelerating the frequency to 4.6GHz amounting in some beautiful gameplay, duping observers into believing it’s a much more expensive card than it is.
Our final caveat is that OC multipliers are locked on the i5 9400F, which means manual overclocking is prohibited, but if you were into all that, you wouldn’t be interested in this CPU in the first place.
If you’re on the lookout for a pure gaming machine, then you’ll want to pay close attention to the i3 9100. With 4 core single-threaded cores, it doesn’t exactly have Atlas-like strength able to shoulder tons of concurrent operations, but it chews through a focused gaming workload without breaking a sweat.
with the 3.6 – 4.2GHz frequency range resting right in the gaming sweet spot, it’s clear Intel developed this to be the ultimate standalone gaming CPU. When we teamed it with the mid-range GTX 1650, we discovered that it can reach 70fps 1080p averages, with a tiny 1.73% bottleneck. As long as it’s an easy-going game, you can even use this combo to reach perfectly playable 1440p averages.
Unlike the 9400F, the 9100 does come with an integrated UHD 630 graphics card, so even if you haven’t settled on a discrete GPU yet, you can enjoy some light gaming.
We may get to play with some pretty high-spec gear in a professional capacity but for our own personal rigs, we too are trying to wring every last morsel of performance from our motherboards before the light speed advancement of gaming technology forces our hands and empties our bank accounts.
We knew exactly which products to show you because they’re the ones still nestled in our cases fighting the good fight, still full of gaming potential, even when paired with powerful GPUs and monitors. These are the best of Coffee Lake that refuse to go gentle into that good night.
Just so you understand what we’re prattling on about in the reviews, let’s briefly run over some of the defining characteristics of a CPU.
The cores of a CPU are the components that do all the processing. In charge of data transfer and problem-solving, they’re the lieutenant generals of your whole computer system. The more you have, the more processes and applications they can support.
There are two main types of CPU core, single-threaded and hyperthreaded. Single-threaded cores focus on single sequence instruction execution. They’re extremely efficient when focused on singular tasks. Hyperthreaded cores can execute two concurrent execution sequences. They exhibit slightly increased latency, but they’re awesome at multitasking.
You can think of clock speeds as the second in command after cores and threads. They work alongside CPU cores to maximize efficiency, speeding up instruction execution sequencing.
Many people erroneously lump cores and clock speeds together, but they’re very different. Say you have a dual-core processor with high clock speeds. You can run a single program incredibly fast, but running simultaneous programs is out of the picture. If you have a hyperthreaded octa-core processor with low clock speeds, you could open tons of programs, but the running speed of each would be sluggish to the point of uselessness. Balance is key!
Just like a building, the architecture of a CPU refers to the blueprint of its structure. It encompasses rules, processes, and organization of the CPU. It determines what kind of software and hardware is compatible. This is the reason new CPUs require new sockets to be developed alongside them.
Different architectures are referred to by codenames such as ‘Sky Lake’ or ‘Coffee Lake’, and the idea is that each new generation of CPUs outperforms their predecessors.
Generational changes can be quite small, perhaps just the capacity to carry a greater amount of cores, or they can represent a complete overhaul involving physical and functional changes throughout the whole design.
Multitasking in a computational sense is exactly what it sounds like. The ability to do multiple things at once. This could be listening to music, opening some tabs, streaming, downloading all at the same time. As mentioned already, CPUs with hyperthreaded cores are much better at multitasking.
It’s not that single-threaded cores CPUs can’t multitask, they can, just nowhere near as well. They’ll be fine for the average user, but for professional content creators, media editors, and animators, pristine multitasking is essential.
CPUs control the processing of all data and instructions that run on a computer. They are responsible for executing software programs and performing basic arithmetic, logical, and input/output operations. The CPU is often referred to as the “brain” of a computer, as it determines how fast and efficiently a computer can perform tasks.
A more powerful CPU can handle demanding tasks such as gaming, video editing, and multitasking with ease, while a weaker CPU may struggle and result in slow performance. A higher clock speed, more cores, and larger caches can also contribute to better performance. Therefor, the better your CPU, the better your PC will perform.
Having a CPU is also completely required for your PC to function.
The i9 9900K is by far the best LGA 1151 CPU if you’re looking for versatility. It’s awesome for gaming, but 16 threads also make it a highly proficient workstation. It’s the quintessential work hard, play hard processor. It does it all and it does it well.
The i7 9700K has the widest appeal as it’s more than capable of everyday multitasking like listening to music, hoarding tabs, and streaming, but the single-thread build also makes it the fastest LGA 1151 processor for gaming. This will be the weapon of choice for those who subscribe to the notion that every frame counts.
If the 9700K is a little rich for your blood, we recommend the i5 9600K. It has epic clock speeds, super-fast single-core performance, and it won’t stifle a powerful GPU.
Dropping the dead weight that is Intel’s integrated graphics card, the i5 9400F is a great value for your money option, just make sure you keep Turbo Boost switched on. However, if gaming is your only computational requirement, the 9100 is hands down the best processor for you. It features all the gaming essentials and cuts out all the unnecessary bloat.
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