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Gaming Performance Comparison

Recommended System Requirements
Game Core i7-9850H 6-Core 2.6GHz Core i5-9400H 4-Core 2.5GHz
Battlefield 2042 22% 22%
Forza Horizon 5 44% 12%
Battlefield 6 22% 22%
Far Cry 6 12% 38%
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 22% 92%
Resident Evil 8 7% 69%
Elden Ring 46% 15%
Grand Theft Auto VI 9% 43%
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora 38% 3%
Halo Infinite 22% 22%

In terms of overall gaming performance, the Intel Core i7-9850H 6-Core 2.6GHz is massively better than the Intel Core i5-9400H 4-Core 2.5GHz 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 i5-9400H 4-Core was released less than a year after the Core i7-9850H 6-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 i7-9850H 6-Core has 2 more cores than the Core i5-9400H 4-Core. 6 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 i5-9400H 4-Core is more than enough for gaming purposes.

The Core i7-9850H 6-Core has 4 more threads than the Core i5-9400H 4-Core. Both the Core i7-9850H 6-Core and the Core i5-9400H 4-Core use hyperthreading. The Core i7-9850H 6-Core has 2 logical threads per physical core and the Core i5-9400H 4-Core has 2.

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 i7-9850H 6-Core and the Core i5-9400H 4-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 0.1 GHz faster base clock rate, the Core i7-9850H 6-Core manages to provide marginally better performance than the Core i5-9400H 4-Core. What is more, the Core i7-9850H 6-Core also manages to eke 0.3 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 Core i5-9400H 4-Core has a 1009 KB bigger L2 cache than the Core i7-9850H 6-Core, but on the other hand, it is the Core i7-9850H 6-Core that has a 12280 MB bigger L3 cache than the Core i5-9400H 4-Core. In this case, the L2 size is probably what counts, so the Core i5-9400H 4-Core is likely superior in this area.

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.

Both the Core i7-9850H 6-Core and the Core i5-9400H 4-Core have the same TDP of 45 Watts, and were created with the same manufacturing size of 14 nm, which means they will affect your yearly electricity bill about equally.

The Core i7-9850H 6-Core and the Core i5-9400H 4-Core both have an on-board GPU, which means that they will be capable of running basic graphics applications (i.e., games) without the need for a dedicated graphics card.

For an in-depth GPU comparison, click on the GPU comparison icon that you can find throughout Game-Debate:

On-board GPUs tend to be fairly awful in comparison to dedicated cards from the likes of AMD or Nvidia, but as they are built into the CPU, they also tend to be cheaper and require far less power to run (this makes them a good choice for laptops). We would recommend a dedicated card for running the latest games, but integrated GPUs are improving all the time and casual gamers may find less recent games perform perfectly acceptably.

CPU Core Details

CPU CodenameCoffee Lake RCoffee Lake R
MoBo SocketFCBGA1440LGA 1151
Notebook CPUyesyes
Release Date30 Nov -000123 Apr 2019
CPU LinkGD LinkGD Link

CPU Technical Specifications

CPU Cores6vs4
CPU Threads12vs8
Clock Speed2.6 GHzvs2.5 GHz
Turbo Frequency4.6 GHzvs4.3 GHz
Max TDP45 Wvs45 W
Lithography14 nmvs14 nm
Bit Width64 Bitvs64 Bit
Max Temperature100°Cvs-
Virtualization Technologynovsno

CPU Cache and Memory

L1 Cache Size384 KBvs256 KB
L2 Cache Size15 KBvs1024 KB
L3 Cache Size12288 MBvs8 MB
Max Memory Size-vs128 GB
Memory Channels-vs2
ECC Memory Supportnovsno

CPU Graphics

GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 630Intel UHD Graphics 630
Base GPU Frequency-vs-
Max GPU Frequency-vs-
Displays Supported-vs-

CPU Package and Version Specifications

Package Size42 mm x 28 mm x 1.49 mmvs42mm x 28mm
PCIe Revision-vs-
PCIe Configurations-vs-

Gaming Performance Value

Performance Value

CPU Mini Review

Mini ReviewThe Intel Core i7-9850H 6-Core 2.6GHz is a high-end performance mobile CPU based on Intel's 14nm Coffee Lake microarchitecture. It offers 6 physical cores (12 logical), initially clocked at 2.6GHz, which may go up to 4.4GHz using Turbo Boost. It doesn't feature an unlocked multiplier, therefore it can't be overclocked using traditional methods. It has 12MB of L3 Cache. Level 3 cache is a static memory bank of a processor and it is used to feed it instructions. It also has 1.5MB L2 cache and 384KB L1 cache. This processor also supports DDR4 based RAMs with maximum memory support of 64GB. It has a maximum Thermal Power Design of 45W (including the onboard GPU). It is a fairly power efficient processor. Among its many features, HyperThreading, Turbo Boost 2.0 and Virtualization are activated are enabled. It features Intel UHD Graphics 630 integrated GPU with 350MHz base clock and turbo boost frequency of 1.15GHz. Video memory will depend on the amount of RAM paired with CPU but the maximum limit is 64GB.The Core i5-9400H 4-Core 2.5GHz is a mid-range mobile CPU based on a refinement of the 14nm++ Coffee Lake microarchitecture. It offers 4 physical cores (8 logical), initially clocked at 2.5GHz, which may go up to 4.3GHz using 8 cores with Turbo Boost. The i5-9400H has 8MB of L3 Cache. This chip supports up to 128GB DDR-2666 MHz memory and features Intel UHD 630 integrated graphics. Among its many features, Turbo Boost 2.0, Optane Memory Support, Hype-Threading technology and Virtualization are activated, and its multiplier is not unlocked. This Core i5-9400H CPU offers above average laptop gaming performance and should not be a major bottleneck in any modern gaming PC in 2019. It will be able to play all modern games at 60fps comfortably on ultra graphics performance at any supported resolution without being a hindrance to the accompanying GPU. However, performance may become bottlenecked if playing at 144Hz and 1080p or lower screen resolution.