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By Jacob RoachMarch 19, 2021 5:00AM PST
After taking a beating with the launch of Ryzen 5000, Intel is back with a new generation of processors. The eight-core Core i9-11900K leads the lineup, boasting huge IPC improvements, a high boost clock, and a surprisingly low price tag. Early benchmarks make Intel’s upcoming launch feel like deja vu, though. Although it’s clear the 11900K improves on the previous generation’s 10900K, Intel’s upcoming processor looks like a carbon copy of AMD’s flagship 5900X — with fewer cores.
In this guide, we’re going to see how the two stack up spec-for-spec. Keep in mind that the 11900K hasn’t launched yet, so we can’t draw any firm conclusions until more reviewers have a chance to test the chip.https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.447.1_en.html#goog_78059234700:00 of 01:02Volume 0% Let’s look at AMD’s FreeSync vs. NVIDIA’s G-Sync.
Pricing and availability
AMD’s Ryzen 9 5900X was launched on November 5, 2020, with a recommended price of $549. In March 2021, however, it’s tough to find one. Huge demand combined with a global semiconductor shortage has caused a drought of nearly all new PC components. That said, other Ryzen 5000 processors like the 5600X and 5800X are readily available at most retailers at closer to their MSRP, so the 5900X should follow shortly.
The Intel Core i9-11900K isn’t available yet, but Intel plans to launch it alongside other Rocket Lake CPUs on March 30. In a strange twist, Intel’s flagship chip is actually cheaper than AMD’s. The 11900K will launch with a recommended price of $539. That said, many retailers have the processor listed at $615 ahead of release. We expect the processor to sell out immediately, like the 5900X.
Between the two, it’s important to consider timing. The 5900X has already seen its surge in demand, so we should see more stock over the coming months. On the other hand, the 11900K isn’t out yet, and it may remain out of stock for several months after launch.
Intel’s chip is technically cheaper, but when you’re spending $550 on a processor, an extra $10 is really splitting hairs.
The upcoming 11900K seems like an odd step back for Intel, sporting two fewer cores and four fewer threads compared to the earlier 10900K. It still uses the 14nm process node that Intel has been using since 2015’s Skylake, but now with the Cypress Cove microarchitecture. Compared to Comet Lake, Intel claims up to a 19% improvement in instructions-per-clock performance. Pre-release benchmarks back that up, showing as much as a 22% improvement in floating-point workloads.
AMD’s 5900X is based on a much more advanced 7nm process node with a newer microarchitecture to go with it. Like Intel, AMD claimed a 19% improvement in IPC performance before launch thanks to the new Zen 3 microarchitecture. As well as the IPC improvements, Zen 3 brought a chiplet redesign. Zen 2 featured two four-core areas, while Zen 3 features a unified eight-core design. In addition to a boost in multithreaded performance, the redesign allows all cores to easily access a unified 32MB L3 cache pool.