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Intel Core i9-14900K assessment: a refresh in title and nature

Intel has but to reply to AMD’s glorious 3D V-Cache processors just like the Ryzen 7 7800X3D, however its refreshed 14th Gen processors that go on sale right now aren’t fairly there but. AMD remains to be dominating on the gaming aspect, and that appears set to proceed for the remainder of 2023. The flagship Core i9-14900K remains to be the star of the present, although, with a 6GHz enhance at inventory speeds, 24 cores, and 32 threads.

Intel hasn’t made any huge guarantees about higher single-thread efficiency over earlier generations this time, nor any guarantees of higher multithread efficiency. There’s no core rely enhance like we noticed from the 12900K to 13900K, however Intel has tweaked the frequencies to squeeze out some extra efficiency from this Raptor Lake Refresh.

Frequencies for the P-core max turbo are up 200Hz to five.6GHz this time round on the 14900K, alongside a 100MHz bump on the E-core max turbo aspect. The bottom frequencies for each the P- and E-cores are up 200MHz.

However these small modifications aren’t sufficient to dramatically change efficiency in both gaming or artistic duties this time round. And so they’re undoubtedly not sufficient to carry Intel as much as AMD’s X3D chips on the gaming aspect of issues.

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Because the 14900K is only a refresh, it means you don’t want to fret a few new motherboard for those who’ve already obtained a 12900K or 13900K. Intel remains to be utilizing its LGA 1700 socket right here, and current Z690 and Z790 motherboards totally assist the most recent 14th Gen chips. You’ll want to put in a BIOS replace on the motherboard, however that’s a simple course of on most fashionable boards.

There’s no new motherboards or chipsets this 12 months, however motherboard makers have been refreshing a few of their Z790 choices to bundle within the Wi-Fi 7 assist that the Core i9-14900K gives. For my testing, I put in the chip on MSI’s MAG Z790 Carbon WiFi. It has every part you could benefit from the 14900K, together with 4 M.2 slots that each one assist PCIe Gen 4 speeds and a single M.2 slot for PCIe Gen 5 (or beneath).

The 14900K remains to be constructed on Intel’s 7 course of and its x86 efficiency hybrid structure. Which means there are efficiency cores (P-cores) and effectivity cores (E-cores) that cut up workloads utilizing Intel’s Thread Director, an embedded microcontroller contained in the CPU that screens threads and ensures they’re operating on the right cores.

The core counts haven’t modified this 12 months, however Intel is now supporting DDR5 5600 and DDR4 3200 reminiscence speeds. In contrast to AMD and its change to AM5, Intel continues to take care of DDR4 compatibility for motherboard makers that ship with DDR4 assist as a substitute of DDR5.

I’ve examined quite a lot of workloads, artificial benchmarks, and video games throughout each Intel’s Core i9-14900K, evaluating it in opposition to the earlier technology chips and AMD’s opponents. All exams had been run on the most recent Home windows 11 updates with VBS safety off, Resizable BAR enabled, and MSI’s sport enhance disabled. All video games had been examined at 1080p with excessive or extremely settings.

Intel’s new Core i9-14900K comfortably beats AMD’s Ryzen 9 7950X and 7950X3D in each creator process that I examined. The 13900K from final 12 months was already beating AMD in most of those creator duties anyway, however the 14900K extends that lead barely. I say barely as a result of all the enhancements are beneath 5 % right here, and even the gaming features are solely slight, too.

Geekbench 5 single-thread and Cinebench 2024 single-thread efficiency each present the 14900K beating the 13900K by 4 %, with the Pugetbench Premiere Professional and Photoshop exams are up simply 2 % and 1 %, respectively. In the event you’re in search of the perfect chip for creator duties, then the 14900K delivers right here, however there’s little purpose to improve from a thirteenth Gen mannequin. In the event you’re on a twelfth Gen chip, then you definitely’ll get the large efficiency advantages of transferring to a thirteenth Gen one and a bit of bit on prime with the 14th Gen, but when you could find a 13900K for lower than the price of the 14th Gen, there’s little purpose to spend extra.

We additionally carry out a normal video check at The Verge, the place we export a five-minute 4K video utilizing Adobe Premiere Professional. I used the most recent Premiere Professional 2023 launch for this alongside the RTX 4090, and it exported in two minutes and 31 seconds. That’s just some seconds of enchancment over the 2 minutes and 39 seconds that I recorded after I examined the 13900K final 12 months, additional reflecting the small efficiency enhance you’re getting with the flagship 14th Gen chip.

I used Nvidia’s RTX 4090 for sport testing throughout all Intel and AMD chips. Surprisingly, the 14900K misplaced out to AMD’s 7800X3D in each single gaming check that I ran. We noticed the identical with the 13900K dropping each gaming benchmark earlier this 12 months, and Intel’s 14900K nonetheless doesn’t reply the superior efficiency that AMD’s 3D V-Cache delivers.

The hole between the 14900K and the 7800X3D is round 4 % in most video games, with some managing to carry out surprisingly effectively on the 7800X3D due to the 3D V-Cache boosts. Very like the creator benchmarks, the efficiency enhance that the 14900K delivers over the 13900K is minimal. In most video games, it’s lower than 5 % higher, excluding Murderer’s Creed Mirage, the place the 14900K manages to ship scores which can be way more aggressive with the 7800X3D.

Whereas there’s a small efficiency achieve technology over technology with the 14900K, there’s no effectivity or thermal features. The 14900K nonetheless runs simply as scorching and power-hungry because the 13900K. Throughout a Cinebench R23 multithread benchmark, I recorded temperatures of 105C. That’s the identical temperature that I noticed on the 13900K and 2C greater than the usual 13900K.

AMD’s 7950X managed to achieve 96C throughout the identical check, with the 7900X maxing out at 92C in the course of the Cinebench check. The 7950X3D managed to max out at 88C throughout the identical check. Whereas the 14900K nonetheless beats the 7950X3D by almost 9 % throughout this Cinebench R23 multithread check, the very fact AMD manages to come back shut at almost 20C cooler reveals simply how a lot Intel is pushing the bounds right here.

These limits lengthen to energy utilization, too. In the identical Cinebench check, the 14900K maxes out at 324 watts, however the 7950X3D solely hits 147 watts. That’s an enormous distinction in energy draw, with Intel drawing 120 % extra energy for a virtually 9 % efficiency enchancment. And while you take a look at the gaming aspect of issues, the 7800X3D and 7950X3D merely run so much cooler more often than not and use far much less vitality than the 14900K.

It’s laborious to advocate the 14900K this 12 months until you really need the perfect creator efficiency on the market and also you don’t care about your vitality payments or the sheer warmth it produces. AMD’s 7800X3D is just a better option for gaming, significantly because it’s simple to search out for beneath $400 in comparison with the $589 (and certain above) pricing for the 14900K.

Intel nonetheless wants a solution to AMD’s 3D V-Cache, and it’s not clear when that’s going to reach. Rumors level to an Intel Arrow Lake desktop CPU launch subsequent 12 months, with a socket swap to LGA 1851. The 14th Gen looks like the tip of LGA 1700 and, with it, a whimper of efficiency enhancements.

In the meantime, Intel is dropping out on the gaming aspect of efficiency however nonetheless dominating for artistic duties. That may make the selection tough for individuals who want each gaming and artistic app efficiency. However for these simply seeking to sport, the selection is apparent.

Images by Tom Warren / The Verge

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