Sash Rant: "The World's Best Gaming Processor".
Okay, this is a Rant Post. Please read this before getting mad and wanting to kill me. Thanks.
I've seen some Core i9-9900KS reviews, and one from a pretty popular publication. And let me first tell you, what they're saying is not actually incorrect. So before you bite my head off yelling "It IS The World's Best Gaming Processor!", I'm not actually disputing that. But I do take some issues with the way it is presented. I usually break this bit down into chunks with smaller titles but meh, I'm just going to type this one.
Actually let me say one thing. If what I'm typing doesn't align with your favourite company or brand (that being Intel Core in this case) or you've just bought a 9900K/9900KS and you feel obligated to justify that decision online: please stop reading. You can buy whatever you want, so go and play games on it rather than get mad at my post. It's a great gaming CPU if you've got unlimited money and don't give a damn about anything else other than raw, average frame rate. (I completely disagree with this mindset as I'll explain in this post but...) There's that. And yes, I don't like Intel. I'm very open about that - I'm not being paid to not like Intel, I'm just a passionate and well, slightly obsessed Autistic Person. Don't judge me!
Anyway, uh, here we go. This major publication, and I won't say any names because I don't wanna get into all that naming and poking - unless it's at Intel, then it's absolutely fair game. Some people are singing all the praises of the i9-9900KS with tag-lines such as "World's best gaming processor!" and "It outstrips the Ryzen comptetiton". Okay, the first is a true statement if, and only if, you don't care about longevity or value. In fact that is a good thing to say, I'm going to say that right now in some quotes to bring it to readers' attention and all that.
The Core i9-9900KS is absolutely the world's best gaming processor if you don't care about longevity, features, upgradability or value.
There you go, now a little context. If the Core i9-9900KS was, let's say, 30-50% faster (remember how the 9900K was "50% faster" than the 2700X? Oh wait). Than the competing Ryzen parts, across the board, in all games; then yes, absolutely. It's worth the premium and some of the other innate disadvantages of investing your money into an essentially EOL platform with inferior feature support - because the "Value" proposition is offset by the fact that the product is meaningfully superior in your use case, than the competition. This bugs me, because a lot of uninformed consumers will see this and immediately disregard Ryzen - because they think it's meaningfully slower in games, despite all the other advantages it brings. This right here, is what Intel's marketing wants exactly.
By the way...
I'm not disputing that there are some edge cases with Ultra-High Refresh, 240 Hz + competitive e-Sports gaming that those extra frames might be worth it. In fact, that's the only quarter I give Intel CPUs, even though I'd also argue that you'd still be hard pressed to get any meaningful advantage when both CPU brands are pushing likely over 200 Hz in this case.
Now, here's something I throw around quite a lot that bugs me, and to demonstrate my point I'll refer to the RTX 2060 SUPER. And this is a good one because it's like the reverse of what you'd expect. RTX 2060 SUPER is the same price as the Radeon RX 5700 XT, and it's slower in normal games. How much slower? About 10%, a bit higher, or a bit lower than that depending on the game but it's around that figure. So, if all things were equal; the RX 5700 XT would absolutely be the best choice for any gamer looking to spend $399 on a video card, yes? I agree. But all is not equal.
The RTX 2060 SUPER supports Hardware DXR and in those applications, you can't even run them on the RX 5700 XT video card. So if your use case is to try out RTX Ray Tracing (I won't digress, I've already talked about how I feel on RTX 20-series here, that's another story that I won't cover in this post), then the RTX 2060 SUPER is the better product. Wait a sec! That's obvious, what were you even trying to say with this?
Okay, wait. Here's my point I'm trying to make. The RTX 2060 SUPER isn't actually that much slower than the RX 5700 XT in normal video games - with no Ray Tracing. In fact, I'd go so far as to say the RX 5700 XT is not even meaningfully faster, in that you almost never notice the difference. In fact, I think I can say you would never notice the difference. I don't think the difference is between unplayable and playable, at least in any game I've seen compared online.
That's my point. Do you get what I am trying to say? Some people will thinking I am trying to "Shill" for AMD, or whatever. But my point can be summarised by the following statement:
The Core i9-9900KS (and the 9900K) is not fast enough over the Ryzen 3900X, in gaming, to justify its major disadvantages in areas of threaded performance, value, features and platform longevity. Even if you have unlimited money. That is my opinion and I feel it is very true.
Can I also point out that some marketing material for the Core i9-9900KS advertised its use case in Mega-Tasking, which by my own definition isa bit more than normal multi-tasking (and yes it's a term I've used before). Something like having a dozen or so apps open, editing a video, crunching for WCG and then running a game in the background or whatever. I don't see how the i9-9900KS would be better at all than the 12-core, 24-thread Ryzen 9 3900X. Just saying. Anyway...
I never have any set plans for these Rants. They just go wherever I feel when I type about something that's on my mind. But I can summarise how I feel here.
Core i9-9900KS is, in this publication's own testing, barely over 7% faster on average than the 3900X. Considering it was being touted as "for those that don't overclock", then you won't be getting that extra performance from the slight overclock to 5.2 GHz which pushes the average to ~16% in their own testing - with overclocked RAM. Keep in mind, that even at 5.2 GHz the Core i9-9900KS is still somewhat significantly slower than the Ryzen 9 3900X in multi-threaded applications, it has no included cooler, is more expensive, is vastly less efficient, has inferior platform features and has no upgradability on the roadmap; we already know 'Comet Lake' will need the new LGA 1200 socket. All that, for 16% absolute, maximum possible - and not even guaranteed if your sample can't hit 5.2 - more average FPS in video games, that are already over 120 FPS easily on both CPUs? Is that really worth it to you?
Because if it is, then you're the sort of person who should be considering the Core i7-9700K instead. Because OC to OC it is just as fast as the 9900KS in video games and costs over 100 dollars less. What justification do you have for the the extra threads?
Look, if you've read this, or some of it, and you're absolutely set on getting the Core i9-9900KS, and you think I'm a shill or whatever, and you feel the need to attack me or justify your purchase or whatever, then that's fine. Because I don't care what you think. It's your money and you can spend it on whatever you want.
Though I will say that blind consumerism is bad for everyone, even you.
Thanks for reading, if you took the time to read all of my crap. ~