Intel Core i5-9600K Processor Overclocking Review

The Intel Core i5-9600K Processor will likely hit the the sweet spot for a lot of desktop PC enthusiasts and gamers. We have a solid 6-Core count with a Turbo Boost clock of 4.6GHz coming in for right around $270. What kind of overclock will the new 9600K CPU support and remain 100% stable?


Test Setup

Below are the specifications for the processors used. We have put in the Ryzen 7 2700X as a measuring point for AMD users or those considering it. Due to time constraints, we did "re-use" data from our 9900X review for the 9900K, 8600K, and 2700X PB2 data.

Article Image

We have a mix and match of motherboards for these comparisons, which for all intents and purposes does not truly matter much anymore in terms of benchmark scores.

Article Image

Our water cooling loop is from XSPC and consists of a XSPC RayStorm Pro Water Block for AMD and for Intel, RX480 V3 Radiator, and D5 Photon Reservoir/Pump Combo V2. So the cooling systems being used on both the AMD and Intel desktop CPUs are identical, the only thing that is different the hold-down bracket.

9600K Stock is using Optimized Defaults in the ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula EFI and 3600MHz RAM. Since the latest faux-outrage by uneducated YouTubers, ASUS has made some changes in how its MultiCore Enhancement function works in the EFI. We will address this on the Clocks page to show you exactly how this impacts performance.

9600K OC = 5GHz (50X100MHz) with 3600MHz RAM. We will discuss the reason for using this overclock on the conclusion page.

9900K Stock = Optimized EFI Defaults (which does use Enhanced Core).

9900K OC = all core overclock to 5.141GHz with 2x8GB 3600MHz memory.

8600K OC = 5.25GHz with 2x8GB 3600MHz memory.

2700X = Precision Boost 2. The 2700X is using 2x8GB 3400MHz memory.

Synthetic Arithmetic Benchmarks & RAM Bandwidth

As always, synthetic benchmarks are a good marker for performance, but are far from the end-all be-all of the CPU measuring stick. That said, there is value to be found in these metrics. We generally use these for finding out if anything is "wrong" rather than when something is "right."

SiSoft Sandra 2017

Article Image

There is nothing earth shattering here, but our overclock on the 9600K does give us a ~20% increase in score, and that certainly is promising. Keep in mind our 8600K is overclocked to 5.2GHz and it comes in matching the 9600K OC, which seems a bit off to us, but let's move on and see how things turn out.

Article Image

All our Intel CPUs have RAM running at 3600MHz, so these numbers are all "identical" for the most part, as expected.

Hyper Pi

Article Image

Again we see expected results, as the 9600K Stock should be hitting is 4.6GHz Turbo, and showing that it is slightly faster than that the 8600K Stock, again as things should be. Our 8600K OC does show to be a bit faster than our 9600K OC as we would expect with its overclock being 250MHz faster.


Article Image

Again we see scaling here exactly was we expect.