Intel Core i9-11900K Review

Enthusiast Desktop processor released in 2021 with 8 cores and 16 threads. With base clock at 3.5GHz, max speed at 5.3GHz, and a 125W power rating. Core i9-11900K is based on the Rocket Lake 14nm family and part of the Core i9 series.
Price 49%
Speed 101%
Productivity 88%
Gaming 98%
Category Desktop
Target enthusiast
Socket Compatibility LGA 1200
Integrated Graphics
Cooler Included No
Overclock Potential 1 %
Year 2021 Model
Price 488 USD
Number of Cores 8 Cores
Number of Threads 16 Threads
Core Frequency 3.5 GHz
Boost Frequency 5.3 GHz
Max Stable Overclock 5.3 GHz
Power Consumption 125 W
Manufacturing Process 14 nm
L3 Cache 20 MB
Maximum Supported Memory 128 GB
Price-Value Score 49 %
Speed Score 101 %
Productivity Score 88 %
Gaming Score 98 %
Max 1080p Bottleneck 0.7 %
Max 1440p Bottleneck 0.3 %
Max 4K Bottleneck 0.2 %
Overall Score 58/100

The Core i9-11900K is one of Intel's enthusiast Desktop processors. It was released in 2021 with 8 cores and 16 threads. With base clock at 3.5GHz, max speed at 5.3GHz, and a 125W power rating. The Core i9-11900K is based on the Rocket Lake 14nm family and is part of the Core i9 series.

Core i9-11900K is also the successor of Intel's last gen Core i9-10900K processor that was based on the Comet Lake and 14nm process and was released in 2020.

Speaking of which, if you want a high-end desktop (HEDT) 16-core processor that can compete with the Intel Core i9-11900K, you’re going to have to drop quite a bit more cash and get something like the $710 AMD Ryzen 9 5950X. And, even if you do go with this AMD chip, you won’t necessarily end up with the same level of performance.

The Intel Core i9-11900K is an absolute behemoth of a processor, as it absolutely should be with its 8 cores, 16 threads and high price tag. If you’re looking for the absolute best processor money can buy on a mainstream processor, then look no further. Whether you’re playing PC games or even doing hardcore video and 3D work, the Intel Core i9-11900K can handle them with ease.

What this all means is that the Intel Core i9-11900K is an absolute beast when it comes to multi-threaded workloads, especially at this price point. If you're counting on doing some video editing or compiling one hell of an Excel spreadsheet, you're going to see firsthand a performance boost with the Core i9-11900K.

We stand by that assessment, but that won't escape us from running a few up to date benchmarks. We'll focus on gaming performance which should make life a little easier for AMD's CPU. For application performance you can refer back to our day-one coverage of the Ryzen 9 5900X where the Core i9-10900K was included. You can safely bet the 2.5% factory overclock isn’t going to make the Core i9-11900K any more than about 1-2% faster than those figures.

If you're mostly playing games on your PC, you will be happy buying either processor. Both proved to be solid options and are evenly matched with a slight advantage to the AMD chip if you don't tune up the Ryzen 9 processor. The base performance we showed for the Core i9-11900K can be achieved with $90 memory, while the Ryzen 9 5900X will require $110 - $120 memory in order to enable the frame rates shown here. It’s not a big cost difference and right now with anything less than an RTX 2070 or Vega 64 you’ll more than likely become GPU limited.

The gaming tests with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti installed in the test system showed the Intel Core i9-11900K was more capable than many might have expected. The basic enthusiast processor from Intel that can be picked up for $488 was able to out perform the Ryzen 9 5950X that runs $710 shipped in the three games we tested on. We know that you can’t test on just three games and declare something the overall victor, but it just goes to show that 8-core processors can still manage to get by today. Being able to play current game titles and stream to Twitch on the Core i9-11900K was something we give playable results, but we were pleasantly surprised. As games become more threaded the ‘value’ in a 8-core processor continues to go down, but you can still get by with something like the Core i9-11900K in a pinch.

That said, Intel still lags behind in frequency when the Ryzen 9 5950X operates at 3.7GHz at any given moment and 4.9GHz when push comes to shove.

Now the biggest question is can Intel’s Core i9 processor play games? The answer is simply yes as it got a respectable gaming score of 98% in our benchmarks.

Regardless of those external factors, the Core i9-11900K proves it has the chops to be your main gaming system and a just as effective media creation platform – two things that are becoming intrinsically connected in this age of live-streaming, eSports and uploading gameplay videos.

That said, to squeeze out all the potential of this surprisingly potent enthusiast chip, you’ll want (and need) to splurge on an enthusiast-grade H410, Z470, Z490 motherboard.

Which GPU to Pick for Intel Core i9-11900K

Below is a comparison of all graphics cards average FPS performance (using an average of 80+ games at ultra quality settings), combined with the Intel Core i9-11900K.

Graphics Card Price Cost Per Frame Avg 1080p Avg 1440p Avg 4K
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 24GB $ 1,499 $ 4.9 306.1 FPS
226.8 FPS
135.4 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT 16GB $ 999 $ 3.5 286.9 FPS
213.8 FPS
125.5 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT 16GB $ 649 $ 2.4 270.1 FPS
201.3 FPS
118.2 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 20GB $ 799 $ 3 266.8 FPS
201.6 FPS
124.9 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB $ 699 $ 2.6 266.7 FPS
197.6 FPS
118 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti 10GB $ 599 $ 2.6 228.8 FPS
170.9 FPS
103.9 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 6800 16GB $ 579 $ 2.7 213.9 FPS
159.4 FPS
93.6 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB $ 499 $ 2.4 204 FPS
151.2 FPS
90.3 FPS
NVIDIA TITAN RTX 24GB $ 2,499 $ 13.3 187.3 FPS
143.3 FPS
86.2 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB $ 1,299 $ 7.1 182.4 FPS
139.6 FPS
83.8 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT 12GB $ 479 $ 2.7 180.1 FPS
135.1 FPS
78.3 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8GB $ 399 $ 2.4 167.2 FPS
127.2 FPS
77.4 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB $ 699 $ 4.2 165.5 FPS
125.4 FPS
75 FPS
NVIDIA TITAN V 12GB $ 2,999 $ 18.9 158.7 FPS
121.4 FPS
74.4 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 8GB $ 699 $ 4.5 156.5 FPS
117.3 FPS
69.5 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB $ 759 $ 5.2 146.6 FPS
111.9 FPS
66.9 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8GB $ 499 $ 3.4 145.8 FPS
108 FPS
64.4 FPS
NVIDIA TITAN Xp 12GB $ 1,199 $ 8.3 143.8 FPS
108 FPS
66 FPS
AMD Radeon VII 16GB $ 699 $ 4.9 143.8 FPS
107.2 FPS
63 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB $ 399 $ 2.9 140 FPS
104.4 FPS
61.2 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB $ 499 $ 3.6 138.1 FPS
100.9 FPS
61 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 12GB $ 329 $ 2.4 137.1 FPS
101.9 FPS
61.4 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER 8GB $ 400 $ 3.1 130.7 FPS
93.9 FPS
55.8 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5700 8GB $ 349 $ 2.7 128.3 FPS
95.7 FPS
56.1 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB $ 499 $ 4 124.6 FPS
91.5 FPS
53.8 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB $ 350 $ 2.8 123 FPS
86.4 FPS
50.3 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT 6GB $ 279 $ 2.3 121 FPS
89.5 FPS
52.3 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 295X2 4GB $ 1,499 $ 12.8 116.7 FPS
84.5 FPS
52.9 FPS
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB $ 499 $ 4.3 116.4 FPS
86.8 FPS
50.8 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB $ 409 $ 3.5 115.4 FPS
84.7 FPS
49.7 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti 6GB $ 249 $ 2.2 112.9 FPS
82.3 FPS
49.1 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X 12GB $ 999 $ 8.9 112.2 FPS
81.4 FPS
47.8 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB $ 279 $ 2.5 109.8 FPS
80.6 FPS
47.2 FPS
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 8GB $ 399 $ 3.7 109.1 FPS
81.2 FPS
47.6 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB $ 399 $ 3.8 106.3 FPS
77.3 FPS
45 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER 6GB $ 229 $ 2.2 103.5 FPS
76.1 FPS
44.7 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB $ 649 $ 6.6 97.6 FPS
71.3 FPS
41.8 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 6GB $ 220 $ 2.3 97.4 FPS
71.6 FPS
41.9 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 590 8GB $ 279 $ 3 92.5 FPS
65.9 FPS
37.8 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 FURY X 4GB $ 649 $ 7.3 88.7 FPS
67.8 FPS
40.8 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER 4GB $ 160 $ 1.9 84.8 FPS
62.1 FPS
36.4 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 8GB $ 199 $ 2.4 84.1 FPS
59.9 FPS
34.3 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 4GB $ 549 $ 6.6 83.7 FPS
60.5 FPS
35.7 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB $ 229 $ 2.8 82 FPS
58.4 FPS
33.3 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 Nano 4GB $ 649 $ 8 80.7 FPS
60.6 FPS
36.3 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN BLACK 6GB $ 999 $ 12.8 78.2 FPS
56.1 FPS
34.5 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 FURY 4GB $ 549 $ 7.2 76.2 FPS
57.1 FPS
33.7 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB 6GB $ 254 $ 3.3 76 FPS
54.6 FPS
32 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 4GB 4GB $ 169 $ 2.2 75.4 FPS
53.8 FPS
30.7 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 390X 8GB $ 429 $ 5.8 73.4 FPS
54.7 FPS
32.5 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB 3GB $ 170 $ 2.4 72.2 FPS
52 FPS
30.5 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 4GB $ 329 $ 4.6 70.9 FPS
50.5 FPS
30.8 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB $ 400 $ 5.8 69 FPS
51 FPS
30.6 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 390 8GB $ 329 $ 4.8 68.5 FPS
50 FPS
27.9 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 570 4GB $ 169 $ 2.5 67.6 FPS
49.3 FPS
28.3 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB $ 149 $ 2.3 64.7 FPS
47.1 FPS
27.5 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 470 4GB $ 179 $ 3 60.4 FPS
44.2 FPS
25.8 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 380X 4GB $ 229 $ 4.5 50.8 FPS
36.8 FPS
22 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 285 2GB $ 249 $ 5.5 45.6 FPS
33.1 FPS
18.6 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 380 2GB $ 199 $ 4.4 45.2 FPS
32.8 FPS
18.6 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB $ 169 $ 3.8 44.6 FPS
32.5 FPS
19 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 280 3GB $ 279 $ 6.3 44.1 FPS
32.3 FPS
17.9 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 2GB $ 199 $ 4.6 43.6 FPS
31.5 FPS
18.2 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 3GB $ 169 $ 4.4 38 FPS
27.4 FPS
15.7 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 560 4GB $ 99 $ 2.8 35.1 FPS
25 FPS
14.4 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 2GB $ 159 $ 4.6 34.4 FPS
24.5 FPS
14.6 FPS
AMD Radeon R7 370 2GB $ 149 $ 4.4 33.8 FPS
23 FPS
13.9 FPS
AMD Radeon R7 265 2GB $ 149 $ 4.4 33.5 FPS
22.3 FPS
13.4 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 460 4GB $ 140 $ 4.5 31 FPS
22.2 FPS
12.9 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB $ 149 $ 5 29.9 FPS
19.1 FPS
11.5 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 550 2GB $ 79 $ 3.2 24.5 FPS
17.6 FPS
10.1 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 2GB $ 79 $ 3.4 23.4 FPS
16.7 FPS
9.3 FPS
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