Overall and Final Verdict
Intel’s new 11th generation of their Core series of desktop CPUs has been an interesting one. Like with the 10th gen CPUs, the issues with dropping their manufacturing process down to a smaller node has caused this generation to once again be left at 14nm. To compensate for that Intel had to make a few hard decisions, the biggest of which was deciding that the flagship CPU would be limited to an 8 core when last generation's top-end CPU was a 10 core. The decision helped them drop in an upgraded integrated GPU with the new Xe 750 iGPU. But the main thing is that it allows a little more headroom when pushing the thermal limits of the CPUs with the multitude of boosts and options that help edge out the most performance out of a CPU automatically. The i9-11900K gets the same clock speeds as last year but they were able to make IPC improvements that helped a lot in most of our single-core or single thread tests. This means that even with fewer cores compared to the i9-10900K this is still a fast gaming CPU. But I did notice that at least in our tests the 10900K was still a little faster in games. The new onboard graphics saw a big jump in performance as well which given just how hard it is to find ANY video card might become very important for some people. But AMD's APUs are still faster on that front. I don’t think Intel will be able to completely catch up there until they have more room on the die.
Even with the lower core count, due to the crazy clock speeds, the i9-11900K still pushes the limits on power draw when compared to the competition and heat as well. Although I will say as long as you have an AIO and aren’t running with MCE turned on it isn’t too bad. But with MCE things get really wild. Our 11900K also had issues when running Adaptive Boost which I don’t know if they are specific to our sample or related to the limitations of doing most of our tests with MCE turned off. Overall the 11900K is a solid performing CPU, but it makes the decision between it and the 10900K a tough one given that 10900K is still faster in a lot of situations due to its higher core count and similar clock speeds.
The i5-11600K that I also tested ends up looking a lot more promising in a lot of ways due to it not having the compromises that the 11900K has. The 11600K is a clear improvement over last year's i5-10600K. But it does struggle to keep up with AMD's 5600X in a lot of situations as well. It has the same great IPC performance as the i9-11900K and with that gaming performance is great as well. But the biggest thing that the 11600K has going on is that at least as of writing this you can still find it after the initial launch where getting just about anything from AMD has been impossible.
So the current market has been crazy for a while now, especially on the GPU side of things. But those same availability issues have made it into the CPU market as well causing a lot of CPUs to be hard to come by. Especially for Intel’s competition AMD which also has to share its production making chips for both the PS5 and new Xbox. The availability issues has made things interesting, especially with a lot of people looking at upgrading and building new PCs during the pandemic. So seeing the i5-11600K selling shockingly close to the Intel suggested price of $262 with it being $269 at Newegg. The i9-11900K on the other hand quickly went up to $613 from $539 and isn’t in stock as of right now. The i9-11900K getting priced up over the 5900X with its 12 cores would be controversial if not for the current availability issues. But right now the DIY PC market is a bit like the wild west. Performance is crazy, but finding or affording what you find is tough. Hopefully, things calm down and we
Live Pricing: HERE
Live Pricing: HERE