Intel Enthusiast Gaming Build: CPU

While all of the components we are selecting here today are what we would go with, and priced from vendors we trust, it is always a good idea to shop around as deals on these, or other good options, pop up from other reliable vendors all the time. With that said, let’s dive right into the first order of business.


Intel Core i9 9900KS CPU Image
(Credit: Intel Corporation)

Intel Core i9-9900KS $599.99 (Currently $783.30*)

60 FPS

  • King Of The Intel Hill In Gaming Performance
  • 5.0GHz Max Turbo

30 FPS

  • Good Luck Finding It (*Only Current Listing Is From An Untrusted Source)
  • 8 Core Product, If That Matters For Other Things You Do
  • Toasty TDP
  • No HSF Included

CPU Alternate

Intel Core i9 9900KF CPU Image

Intel Core i9-9900KF $499 (Currently $477.96)

60 FPS

  • Close Second To i9-9900KS
  • Same Max Turbo As i9-9900K
  • You Can Buy It
  • Cooler Running Than i9-9900KS

30 FPS

  • Lower Base Clocks Than i9-9900KS

There is no doubt about it that the Core i9-9900KS is the current “champ” of the Enthusiast portion of Intel’s lineup when it comes to high-end gaming in this price range. In fact, our own Dan Dobrowlski opined; “My thoughts about these CPU’s haven’t changed with this model. If you want to go all out on a pure gaming build, the 9900KS is what you should be after. It’s better binned and has more overclocking headroom. ” Sure, you can get a product that has a higher core count from Intel and drop it in here, but that isn’t a decision that is going to yield you much in the way of gaming performance at this time. So, the Core i9-9900KS is the “it” chip in this price range/product range.

However, the Core i9-9900KS is sort of a “fake” product in that it is a special edition chip that is rarer than toilet paper during a Corona virus outbreak. So, if you can find it, and you have $599.99 ($783.30*) left, after you have had to resort to using dollar bills as toilet paper, then it would be the top pick in this segment. But, good luck with that. By the way, anyone going to Costco that can do me a favor?

For those looking to shave some cost of their system, but not sacrifice much in the way of performance, the Core i9-9900KF makes an excellent alternate pick. You end up giving up on the base clock speed a bit, but you do keep the same Max Turbo speeds as with the Core i9-9900KS. Plus, it is available in the market. On top of that, both chips seem to overclock similarly, and that lower base clock probably won’t hinder your gaming action much. In the words of our own Dan Dobrowolski, “ For a reduced price, the 9900KF or 9900K are the next best thing. Obviously, if you want or need QuickSync, then the KF model is right out. For most of us, it’s probably the best way to go for price/performance for a pure gaming build.

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