Intel Prices Core i9-9900KS 5GHz All-Core CPU At $513

"I think 90-plus percent of [applications] scale with frequency. How many of them scale with cores? I could deliver a bunch of cores. I'm not sure that would do anybody any good," says Intel exec Frank Soqui on the chipmaker's high frequencies.


Intel announced that it will launch its limited-edition Core i9-9900KS, which features a 5.0GHz turbo frequency for all eight cores, on Wednesday with a recommended customer pricing of $513, less than $20 above the standard version.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company announced the availability and pricing on Monday, saying the i9-9900KS is targeting gamers who want higher base and turbo frequencies in a mainstream processor for higher frame rates and faster "mega-tasking." Its $513 recommended customer pricing only represents a small premium above Intel's flagship Core i9-9900K, whose pricing ranges from $488 to $499.

[Related: Intel Slashes Price of i9 X-Series Processors By Up To 50 Percent]

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While Intel is selling the Core i9-9900KS through global retailers on a limited basis, the new processor underscores how the chipmaker is emphasizing the high frequencies of its products as a competitive advantage against rival AMD, whose CPUs feature higher core counts.

"I think 90-plus percent of [applications] scale with frequency. How many of them scale with cores? I could deliver a bunch of cores. I'm not sure that would do anybody any good," Frank Soqui, vice president and general manager of Intel's Desktop, Workstation and Channel Group, told CRN.

In September, Intel used an announcement about this month's launch of the i9-9900KS as an opportunity to take a jab at AMD, questioning the rival's third-generation Ryzen processors, some of which were reportedly not reaching their advertised boost clock speeds. AMD has since started addressing the issues with BIOS updates.

"We are proud of the technologies and products we build, and despite some competitor solutions that the community is questioning, the Core i9–9900K and Core i9–9900KS are TRUE 5.0GHz processors," Ryan Shrout, chief performance strategist at Intel, wrote in a blog post.

Intel is selling the Core i9-9900KS as a limited-edition processor because "only select chips from Intel wafers can achieve this specification to run up to 5.0GHz all-turbo core." The processor, which works with existing Z390 motherboards, comes with eight cores, 16 threads, a base frequency of up to 4.0GHz, a 127-watt thermal design power, 16 MB in Intel Smart Cache and up to 40 platform PCIe lanes.

The processor also comes with a one-year warranty and Intel Performance Maximizer, software that makes it easier for enthusiasts to overclock the processor.

Randy Copeland, CEO of Velocity Micro, a Richmond, Va.-based system builder that sells Intel- and AMD-based PCs, told CRN in September that the Core i9-9900KS is made less for system builders like his company and more for DIYers who build their own systems.

"It's not a big deal for us because we knew the headroom was in the [Core i9-9900K]," he said, adding that Velocity Micro can already overclock the standard 9900K to reach such frequencies. "It grants the user some additional headroom that was already there."