Intel Core i9 9900KS Linux Performance Benchmarks
Written by Michael Larabel in Processors on 30 October 2019. Page 1 of 9. 26 Comments

Today the Intel Core i9 9900KS is shipping at $513 USD for this specially-binned Coffeelake CPU that is capable of achieving a 5.0GHz all-core turbo frequency. The all-core 5.0GHz turbo is great, but it remains an eight-core / sixteen-thread 14nm processor going up against AMD's similarly priced Ryzen 9 3900X. Here are our initial benchmarks of the Core i9 9900KS compared to the Core i9 9900K and Ryzen 9 3900X.

The Intel Core i9 9900KS 8c/16t CPU features a 4.0GHz base frequency with 5.0GHz turbo frequency that can be sustained across all cores. The Core i9 9900KS does carry a 127 Watt TDP compared to 95 Watts with the i9-9900K, which has a lower base frequency of 3.6GHz and its 5.0GHz turbo rating is only for a single core. The price of the i9-9900KS is launching at $513 USD while the i9-9900K is now priced at around $449. The rest of the specifications align between the year-old Core i9 9900K and the new Core i9 9900KS.

There is actually a surprising extra difference too I noticed in my testing of the Core i9 9900KS compared to the i9-9900K... There are more hardware mitigations in place. At least compared to the i9-9900K review sample from last year, the Core i9 9900KS indicates it is not affected by the MDS vulnerability. Additionally, the Spectre V2 mitigation shifted from generic IBPB Retpoline and conditional IBRS_FW STIBP to enhanced IBRS IBPB by default. That puts the overall mitigation state for the Core i9 9900KS as "l1tf: Not affected + mds: Not affected + meltdown: Not affected + spec_store_bypass: Mitigation of SSB disabled via prctl and seccomp + spectre_v1: Mitigation of usercopy/swapgs barriers and __user pointer sanitization + spectre_v2: Mitigation of Enhanced IBRS IBPB: conditional RSB filling."

I was indeed able to confirm a difference in the relevant tests. Like in the time to perform a context switch, it's multiple times faster with the Core i9 9900KS than with the Core i9 9900K -- at least with the 9900K stepping as of launch day last year, if Intel quietly added those mitigations to a newer 9900K stepping. The context switching time of the Core i9 9900KS is now aligned with the Ryzen 9 3900X.

Apologies this article is a bit more brief than usual due to only receiving the i9-9900KS this past Friday and my wife then being in the hospital yesterday. Additional Core i9 9900KS tests will follow while for this launch-day comparison are the i9-9900K, i9-9900KS, and Ryzen 9 3900X when tested on Ubuntu 19.10 with 16GB of DDR4-3600 RAM, Samsung 970 EVO 250GB NVMe SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER graphics. Ubuntu 19.10 was running with its default Linux 5.3 kernel.

This article's results are split up into the gaming performance and then all of the other CPU/system workloads. All of the benchmarking was accomplished via the Phoronix Test Suite.

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