Today we’re revisiting our original Core i9-9900K review and updating it with 95 watt TDP limited results, basically results based on the official Intel specification. For better context about this please read our opinion article from earlier this week titled “Do We Need to Re-Review the Core i9-9900K?”.
The short version of this is that motherboard makers are currently getting blamed for running the 9900K out of spec, when in reality we strongly believe it’s Intel who’s cheating their own spec and pushing board partners to run the 9900K at the default clock multiplier table, rather than at the official power spec.
Whatever the case, out of the box the 9900K isn’t running at the Intel spec, it’s essentially overclocked and this has caused power and thermal results to go through the roof. So in today’s re-test we’ll be showing how the Core i9-9900K performs when adhering to the Intel specification and comparing that data to the current out of the box experience.
It doesn’t really matter where you stand on this, having a resource that shows how these configurations compare under the same test conditions is useful information in our opinion. For the unlimited testing the MSI MEG Z390 Godlike has been used and for the 95-watt limited testing I used the Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero, loaded up the “xtreme” memory profile and opted to use the Intel settings which enforces the 95-watt TDP. So let’s get into the results…
First up are Cinebench R15 multi-threaded scores. Previously we found the 9900K breaking the 2000 point barrier, however with the TDP limit in place the score is reduced by 14%, and that places it roughly on par with the Core i7-7820X and crucially, meant it was a few percent slower than the 2700X. Already you might be getting a sense of why Intel is happy for board partners to run out of spec.
Next up we have the Blender short run test and here the 95-watt TDP limited configuration can only burst up to 120 watts for 10 seconds. In other words, for about half the test it’s almost fully unleashed, and we were only seeing a 9% reduction in performance. That’s still a reasonable drop, but it’s not the full story.
Professionals looking to invest in a rig for rendering will be running workloads that take much longer than 20-30 seconds. Generally we’re talking hours of rendering work. Whereas we saw a 9% reduction in the short run test, here we’re seeing a 14% reduction in a more realistic rendering workload. That’s a pretty big drop off and it means the 9900K is now only keeping pace with the Ryzen 7 2700X.
The Corona benchmark runs for over a minute and here we see a 13% decrease in performance when power limited. The 9900K was 25% faster than the 2700X when allowed to run without a power limit, but with the 95 watt TDP enforced it’s just 9% faster. It’s still faster but the margin isn’t as impressive anymore.
Here we see a 15% reduction in performance for the 9900K when using the 95 watt limit and this meant it was just 4% faster than the 2700X, whereas we found it to be 23% faster previously.
For decompression the 9900K suffers a bit more, showing 7% slower results with the TDP limit enforced, enough to make it slower than the Ryzen 7 2700X. It’s not a significant difference dividing the two however.