Select any two CPUs for comparison
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Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Core i5-9400F 6-Core 2.9GHz Core i9-9900K 8-Core 3.6GHz
Red Dead Redemption 2 0% 43%
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 26% 57%
Halo: Reach 59% 76%
Star Wars: Jedi - Fallen Order 11% 37%
FIFA 20 28% 59%
Borderlands 3 0% 43%
Cyberpunk 2077 15% 51%
Zombieland: Double Tap - Road Trip 0% 43%
Halo: The Master Chief Collection 0% 43%
eFootball PES 2020 18% 53%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Core i9-9900K 8-Core 3.6GHz is massively better than the Intel Core i5-9400F 6-Core 2.9GHz when it comes to running the latest games. This also means it will be less likely to bottleneck more powerful GPUs, allowing them to achieve more of their gaming performance potential.

The Core i5-9400F 6-Core was released less than a year after the Core i9-9900K 8-Core, and so they are likely to have similar levels of support, and similarly optimized performance when running the latest games.

Both CPUs exhibit very powerful performance, so it probably isn't worth upgrading from one to the other, as both are capable of running even the most demanding games at the highest settings (assuming they are accompanied by equivalently powerful GPUs).

The Core i9-9900K 8-Core has 2 more cores than the Core i5-9400F 6-Core. 8 cores is probably excessive if you mean to just run the latest games, as games are not yet able to harness this many cores. The cores in the Core i5-9400F 6-Core is more than enough for gaming purposes. However, if you intend on running a server with the Core i9-9900K 8-Core, it would seem to be a decent choice.

The Core i9-9900K 8-Core has 10 more threads than the Core i5-9400F 6-Core. The Core i5-9400F 6-Core has one thread per physical core, whereas the Core i9-9900K 8-Core uses hyperthreading and has 2 logical threads per physical core.

Multiple threads are useful for improving the performance of multi-threaded applications. Additional cores and their accompanying thread will always be beneficial for multi-threaded applications. Hyperthreading will be beneficial for applications optimized for it, but it may slow others down. For games, the number of threads is largely irrelevant, as long as you have at least 2 cores (preferably 4), and hyperthreading can sometimes even hit performance.

More important for gaming than the number of cores and threads is the clock rate. Problematically, unless the two CPUs are from the same family, this can only serve as a general guide and nothing like an exact comparison, because the clock cycles per instruction (CPI) will vary so much.

The Core i5-9400F 6-Core and the Core i9-9900K 8-Core are from the same family of CPUs, and thus their clock speeds are directly comparable. With this in mind, it is safe to say that with a 0.7 GHz faster base clock rate, the Core i9-9900K 8-Core manages to provide significantly better performance than the Core i5-9400F 6-Core. What is more, the Core i9-9900K 8-Core also manages to eke 0.9 GHz higher frequency when being stressed by CPU-intensive applications.

Aside from the clock rate, the next-most important CPU features for PC game performance are L2 and L3 cache size. Faster than RAM, the more cache available, the more data that can be stored for lightning-fast retrieval. L1 Cache is not usually an issue anymore for gaming, with most high-end CPUs eking out about the same L1 performance, and L2 is more important than L3 - but L3 is still important if you want to reach the highest levels of performance. Bear in mind that although it is better to have a larger cache, the larger it is, the higher the latency, so a balance has to be struck.

The maximum Thermal Design Power is the power in Watts that the CPU will consume in the worst case scenario. The lithography is the semiconductor manufacturing technology being used to create the CPU - the smaller this is, the more transistors that can be fit into the CPU, and the closer the connections. For both the lithography and the TDP, it is the lower the better, because a lower number means a lower amount of power is necessary to run the CPU, and consequently a lower amount of heat is produced.

The Core i5-9400F 6-Core has a 30 Watt lower Maximum TDP than the Core i9-9900K 8-Core (though they were created with the same size 14 nm manufacturing technology). What this means is the Core i5-9400F 6-Core will consume significantly less power and consequently produce less heat, enabling more prolonged computational tasks with fewer adverse effects. This will lower your yearly electricity bill significantly, as well as prevent you from having to invest in extra cooling mechanisms (unless you overclock).

CPU Core Details

CPU CodenameCoffee LakeCoffee Lake
MoBo SocketLGA 1151LGA 1151
Notebook CPUnono
Release Date31 Jan 201930 Oct 2018
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link
Approved

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores6vs8
CPU Threads6vs16
Clock Speed2.9 GHzvs3.6 GHz
Turbo Frequency4.1 GHzvs5 GHz
Max TDP65 Wvs95 W
Lithography14 nmvs14 nm
Bit Width64 Bitvs64 Bit
Max Temperature100°Cvs-
Virtualization Technologynovsno
Comparison

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size-vs512 KB
L2 Cache Size-vs2048 KB
L3 Cache Size9 MBvs16 MB
Max Memory Size-vs64 GB
Memory Channels-vs2
ECC Memory Supportnovsno
Comparison

CPU Graphics

Graphics
Base GPU Frequency-vs-
Max GPU Frequency-vs-
DirectX-vs-
Displays Supported-vs-
Comparison

CPU Package and Version Specifications

Package Size37.5mm x 37.5mmvs-
Revision-vs-
PCIe Revision-vs-
PCIe Configurations-vs-

Gaming Performance Value

Performance Value

CPU Mini Review

Mini ReviewThe Intel Core i5-9400F 6-Core 2.9GHz is a mid-range CPU based on Intel's 9th Gen 14nm, Coffee Lake refresh microarchitecture. It offers 6 physical cores (6 logical) initially clocked at 2.9GHz, which may go up to 4.1GHz using Turbo Boost. It does not have an unlocked multiplier and therefore cannot be overclocked using traditional methods. It has 9MB of SmartCache. Intel SmartCache refers to the architecture that allows all cores to dynamically share access to the last level cache. Level 3 cache is a static memory bank of a processor and it is used to feed it instructions. This processor also supports DDR4 based RAMs with maximum memory support of 64GB. The Core i5-9400F 6-Core 2.9GHz has a maximum Thermal Power Design of 65W. It is on par with competitor processors. Among its many advanced features are Intel Optane Memory support, Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 and Virtualization technology. It Core i5-9400F 6-Core 2.9GHz features no onboard integrated graphics. This CPU is likely to offer decent computational performance and will not be a bottleneck in all but the most CPU-intensive AAA games in 2019.The Core i9-9900K 8-Core 3.6GHz is a top-end CPU based on a refinement of the 14nm++ Coffee Lake microarchitecture. It offers 8 physical cores (16 logical), initially clocked at 3.6GHz, which may go up to 4.7GHz using 8 cores with Turbo Boost, or up to 5.0GHz boost clock on a single or dual core. The i9-9900K has 16MB of L3 Cache. Among its many features, HyperThreading, Turbo Boost 2.0 and Virtualization are activated and the processor has its multiplier unlocked. This Core i9-9900K CPU offers the fastest gaming performance of any Intel CPU as of 2018, and will not be the bottleneck in any modern gaming PC. It will be able to play all modern games comfortably on ultra graphics performance at any supported resolution without being a hindrance to the accompanying GPU.

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