Intel i9 9900KF

Anyone heard of an Intel i9 9900KF?
I hadn’t heard of the 9900KF until today. It turns out its an i9 9900K without the internal GPU.

To earn a little extra cash, I build and configure Digital Audio Workstations. If I’m building for friends or family I do it for free. If its someone I don’t know then I charge them a little for the build and configuration . Just a modest sum of £100, which isn’t a lot considering the amount of work that goes into one of these builds. Plus I’m expected to fix any minor problems that they might come across after the build is done.

A DAW must be powerful enough, reliable and stable, and above all as near silent as you can make a PC.
Mid October I got an email for a job in a nearby town. I went to see the person and to find out what his requirements were.

Although I suggested a RyZen build, his heart was set on an Intel i9 9900K, so we made a list of components for the build. He was reusing his expensive Avid sound card which was the sensible thing to do, but everything else would be new.
The final component list was just within his budget.

He was going away for a month the following week, so I suggested he waited and order the stuff when he returned. However, I was no sooner home I received a text message to say he had already ordered the stuff, and he would get in touch once he came back from his month away.
To cut a long story short. I went to build the PC today. To be honest I seen the CPU box but didn’t notice he’d swapped the 9900K for a 9900KF because it was £40 cheaper.

It wasn’t until it was time to fit the CPU that I noticed he’d swapped the CPU in the order. I then thought I better find out what the difference is between the two CPU’s. The difference is, the 9900KF doesn’t have the iGPU.
That was a problem, because we didn’t include a graphics card in the build because a DAW just simply doesn’t need one. It’s quite happy on the iGPU, and that’s all the PC would be used for apart from some web browsing.

I told him the only way to make the PC work would be purchase a graphics card, and might also mean we would have to upgrade the PSU as well.

He was a bit disappointed. He’s had the components in his house for 5 weeks, so well beyond the time he could simply return the 9900KF and replace it with the 9900K.
Buying a graphics card, and possibly another PSU was taking the build well beyond his budget, and he needed the build working today as he wanted to start a new project on Monday.

Being the thoughtful person I am, and never one to miss an opportunity. :slight_smile:

I suggested to him that he swap me with my 8700K, but made it clear to him it had been used, was a 6 core 12 thread CPU, rather than an 8 core 16 thread CPU, was clocked slightly slower than the 9900KF, and was around £90 cheaper than the 9900KF when I purchased it.

The only thing I could do after that was to offer to build and configure the PC for free.
He asked if the 8700K would be good enough, and I could honestly tell him it was more than good enough for now, and the foreseeable future.

His eyes lit up at that point and agreed to go ahead. A quick trip home to remove my 8700K and clean it up, then returned. I built the PC, installed win 10 with the correct drivers. Installed Avid Protools and configured it to work properly with his hardware.

He was amazed at how fast and slick the PC was. That isn’t surprising as he had been using an old Core2Duo clocked at 2.4GHz, and using HDD rather than the new SSD’s I had fitted.
He’s happy, and I now have an i9 9900KF to fit into my AsRock Z370 Extreme 4.
I just hope the VRM’s on the board as as good as everyone claims they are.

I’ll find out tomorrow once I fit it, I suppose. :slight_smile:

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Some of the best deals I have made as a business owner have been accomplished by using the barter system.

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I guess it was bartering, but I didn’t want to disappoint him in leaving without him having a working system. It’s worked out well for both of us. But if he’d only stuck to the 9900K and not tried to save a little by going for the 9900KF instead. He would have ended up with the system he really wanted.

He’s very happy anyway.
I got a text from him today. It simply read the following.
“This PC fu**ing rocks thx so much”

I’m happy as well. The i9 9900KF is a beast. I have it fitted and working. No overclock as yet. :slight_smile:

With no iGPU to dissipate heat, I reckon you’ll be able to overclock this further than the regular 9900K.

Even the PassMark charts shows better overclocking potential with the 9900KF over the 9900K:

Normal speed:

Overclocked:

Thanks Sean
Here my Passmark baseline score , with no overclock.

https://www.passmark.com/baselines/V9/display.php?id=131371105254

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5GHz on all cores was easy, and only required the same amount of v-core that my 8700K required to be stable at 4.8GHz. That’s not bad at all considering the 9900KF has 2 more cores compared to the 8700K.

First time I’ve scored over 5000 in CineBench R20

Passmark score at 5Ghz.

Temps are pretty good at 5GHz as well.

Going any faster than 5GHz, even 5.1GHz required to much voltage for my liking, and just look below how much power the VRM’s were having to supply.

Even at stock speed. This CPU requires very good cooling. Only the best air coolers will do IMO, or even better, water cooling.

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On the 9900K build I just sold I was using the be quiet! DARK ROCK PRO 3 Silentwings CPU Cooler 250W TDP - and believe it or not I was getting better temps than an AIO cooler.

Alan, you know how highly I rate be-quiet air cooling. IMO they are best money can buy for many reasons. They will certainly outperform many AIO coolers. But just like air coolers, there are ok AIO, poor AIO, and good AIO’s.

In many cases, it’s not the coolers to blame. Its poor thermal conductivity between the CPU die and the heat spreader that is the problem. Once the heat is at the heat spreader then any good cooler will get rid of the heat from the CPU.

Intel are soldering the die to the heat spreader in the i9 9700, 9900, 9900K and 9900KF, so its much better than the crappy thermal paste they used on the 8700K for example.

However, if a CPU is consuming 170W of power, that is going to be a problem to cool properly.
The i9 9900K/KF are rated with a TDP of 95W. That must only be at stock speed (3.6GHz) with turbo disabled.
I think i’ll run some tests later, and see what gives.

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Here are a couple of quick tests of the power requirements of the i9 9900K/KF when the CPU is fully loaded.

This at stock with no overclock with turbo enabled.

This test was again at stock but with turbo disabled.

Not only is very good cooling required for this CPU, but also a fairly decent motherboard, with good VRM’s

if you hope to get the CPU to beyond 5GHz, then you’re going to require very strong cooling, and a very strong motherboard. At 5.1GHz mine was requiring 170Watts

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PCMark 10 test run at 5GHz
I’m very happy with this result

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After some tweaking. I’ve got the v-core down from 1.34V to 1.31V. That’s had the effect of reducing temps about 6C across the board.

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I’ve ran into a problem.
Namely the motherboard VRM temperatures.
The VRM’s can supply the required current for the 9900KF, but the heatsinks on the VRM’s does not have a large enough surface area to provide adequate cooling. The VRM’s under heavy load for a prolonged period are getting very very hot. 105C is pushing it.

I’m going to have to bite the bullet and get a better motherboard.
I’m not angry that the AsRock Z370 Extreme4 VRM cooling cant cope, because the board was never designed to run the 9900 CPU. Just because one of these boards can run a 9900, it doesn’t mean you should.

I’m looking into the GigaByte Z390 Aorus Master and hearing, and reading great things about it.
I’ll need to look into this further.

I normally wouldn’t go past Asus, but there are many people complaining that the VRM’s even on the ROG Z390 series are crap, and struggle with the 9900.

Overclocking computers is like hot rodding cars. Making one component faster usually exposes another one as a weak link that needs to be upgraded.

Agreed. It comes with the territory. But if you buy a CPU with an unlocked multiplier, then your probably going to overclock it and take your chances.

Intel however, should be taken to task over the 9900K/KF. They state a TDP of 95W, and out of the box, it consumes well over 95W.

TDP is not directly related to actual power consumption.

I don’t overclock much these days. CPUs combined with fast memory and SSDs do all I need plenty fast at stock settings. I will spend some time overclocking memory. Lately all my builds have been Ryzen based and getting much of an overclock from them isn’t possible from the CPUs I am using.

Intel has been behaving badly lately. IMO, they aren’t handling the stress well that AMD has put on them since the Ryzen series launched. They mislead, launch warmed over CPUs and step on AMD’s product introductions. Lately they have slashed some CPU prices up to 50% which just shows me how much they have been gouging us over the past several years. I don’t have much sympathy for them these days.

You are correct. my bad.
However, TDP and power consumption is related.
CPU’s are rated by TDP, CPU coolers are also rated in TDP.
So for a CPU rated at a TDP value of 95W. one would assume if they buy a CPU cooler rated at say 150W would be able to cope. That isn’t the case with this CPU even at stock speed.

@UTR
in truth, AMD are creaming Intel these days, and Intel’s 10nm CPU’s don’t seem very impressive (if they ever launch them).

It would be more accurate for Intel to name their 9th gen CPU’s, 3rd gen SkyLake.

Back to the GigaByte Z390 Aorus Master motherboard.
After viewing this video by der8auer on Youtube

I’m now going out to buy that mobo.

Back with the board.
£238
Its a heavy board, will fit it soon.

It’s been a long time since I used a GigaByte board. The last one I used was on an Cor2Duo CPU. I switched to Asus after that, Ironically because the VRM cooling on GigaByte boards at the time was crap.

The AsRock Z370 Extreme 4 was a cheap board. I bought it as a stopgap until Z390 was launched. Z390 arrived and I was less than impressed with its new feature set when compared to Z370. It didn’t seem like much of an upgrade, so I stuck with the AsRock Z370 board, hoping that Intel would get something better when they launched their range of 10nm CPU’s which will require a new motherboard chipset.
Intel seems to have lost their way, and if I was to buy a complete new system, it would be a RyZen 3000 series.

I thought I had got a real bargain when I swapped my 8700K for this i9 9900KF. All it cost me was some of my time. I could have run the 9900KF on the AsRock Z370 at stock speed, and most likely it would have been fine. Although the CPU temps were fine, the whole system was running much hotter with the 9900KF, because the temps from the VRM was heating up the whole board, and that made me nervous.

Anyway, I decided the risk was to much, and went out and bought a new board. The GigaByte Z390 Aorus Master.
Its early days, but I’m very impressed. The board seems to be very well built, and the VRM section is very impressive, even just to look at. :slight_smile:

The whole system runs much cooler. and therefor quieter. The AsRock Z370 must have been struggling to meet the power demands of the 9900KF, and although I couldn’t see any evidence of throttling, it must have been doing so, as the performance is now improved as well with the new board. 5GHz was again easy to get to, now with lower v-core.

Anyway. Time for some screenshots.

CPU speed
cpuz%20speed

Motherboard
cpuz%20mobo

VRM temps (5th line in the screenshot, listed as VRM MOS).
vrm

CineBench benchmark

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Nice to know that Gigabyte can still make a good board.
I have been building systems from components since the 1990’s, but I am not looking forward to my next build.
I really have no desire to move past Windows 7 Pro 64 bit yet and I think that finding a motherboard and CPU that will be compatible will require a lot of compromises.
Bravo to all who brave the way with new hardware!
Cheers.