In our earlier posts we reviewed Intel core i5 vs i7 for overall tasks and gaming as well, for we are gamers. For those of us who are aiming even higher in the areas of gaming, real world application performance and heavy processing, this post of Intel Core i9 vs i7 is for you. The same old theory applies here as well. Intel i9> i7>i5. However in our previous post we discussed how the number of cores and threads aren’t the only consideration in a CPU.
Is it worth upgrading from i7 to i9?
It’s basically the same answer as of any scenario of this particular nature. The reason we upgrade is when our supplies fail to meet the demands. Just like the thought of upgrading from i3 to i5 or i5 to i7, the answer takes a similar format and reasoning.
What’s confusing is the analysis of the latest gen processors for they are almost the same in each aspect of performance. However slight differences make a sizable amount of change. Therefore let’s have a minor debrief about the two CPU types before proceeding with performance analysis.
Intel i7 CPUs have a quite lengthy history compared to i9. Since the launch of this processor it has been the popular choice for essentially two types of users. Users aiming at low end content creation and processing power and gamers who desire high quality gaming and no bottlenecks of any sort.
However the situation has changed ever since the launch of i9. Extreme PC gamers and overclockers rallied around the CPUs like the i9-9900K. While some still stuck to i7. Question is which one are you? Great gaming frame rates, high end content creation and extreme processing became the talk of the town. Nonetheless the i7 saw a breakthrough with the integration of the infamous Multi-threading technology. Where you get to run 2 tasks on the same core simultaneously.
Now that we have a brief layout of both i7 and i9 let’s take a step by step guide through the latest generations for Intel Core i9 vs i7.
i7 vs i9 11th Gen
|Base Clock||3.60 GHz||3.50 GHz|
|Boost Clock||5.00 GHz||5.30 GHz|
|TDP||125 W||125 W|
|Integrated graphics||UHD Graphics 750||UHD Graphics 750|
|Cache Memory||16 MB Intel® Smart Cache||16 MB Intel® Smart Cache|
As you can see from the most crucial specs to determine a CPU, both the latest gen processors for the i7 and i9 families are identical to each other with the exception of the clock speed. The i7 11th gen is almost the same as the i7 10th gen drawing far more power under heavy processes. The i9 11th gen frankly is a downgrade and a surprise step back given the lesser number of cores and threads as opposed to the 10th gen although clock speeds are higher. And as you can very well decipher, the i9 11th gen doesn’t outrank the 10th gen in heavy workloads.
Therefore when it comes to desktops the choice is crystal clear. Sticking with the i7-11700K is far worthier than opting for a much pricier i9 CPU with essentially the same performance. However the Tiger Lake mobile processors are a literal upgrade over the previous generation. And these CPUs are from the i7 family, whereas the i9 has none in the 11th gen mobile processor lineup. The i7 processors are particularly utilized well by applications demanding more single thread performance and some applications like Adobe.
Consisting of four cores and four threads and Intel’s Xe graphics can deliver some creditable gaming performance. You can find the i9-10980HK as a Comet Lake processor in a mobile form factor. But the TDP is way higher than the i7-11th gen mobile processor. With all this said, we can conclude finally that for the Intel i9 vs i7 11th gen, the intel i7-11th gen is a winner although it isn’t a huge upgrade from its predecessor.
i7 vs i9 10th Gen-i7-10700K vs i9-10900K
|Integrated graphics||UHD Graphics 630||UHD Graphics 630|
|Cache Memory||16 MB Intel® Smart Cache||20 MB Intel® Smart Cache|
As you can see even though the number of cores and threads are different every other aspect that determines the power of a CPU are almost identical. This is why choosing the relevant CPU can be a daunting task. The reason for picking up the overclocking CPUs (K is for unlocked cores) is that a fair comparison is possible with the most powerful of both worlds.
They both share the Comet Lake-S architecture and both are awesome powerhouses. However the i9 shines brighter than the i7 price included. Apart from the specs mentioned above, both the CPUs share the same amount of graphics memory(64GB), RAM(128GB, DDR4-2933) and PCIe up to 1×16, 2×8, 1×8+2×4. The i9 runs at a stunning 5.2GHz once overclocked while the i7 is a few decimals behind.
Both require the LGA1200 motherboard. Although the AMD equivalent Ryzen CPUs possess more cores and threads the lower clock speeds and memory latency don’t contribute in processing tasks outside of rendering. The i9 actually is 16% faster than the equivalent Ryzen CPUs. The i7 too isn’t that far behind. In fact it is only second to the i9 10th gen when it comes to real world tasks and gaming.
Also the i7 10th gen is 12% faster than the AMD equivalents. The hyperthreading is what makes this CPU stand out. When comparing the i9 and the i7 10th gen CPUs, the fact that must be mentioned is that the i7 provides almost the same gaming performance for 20% lower cost. Check the detailed performance test results here.
i7-9700K vs i9-9900K
|Base clock||3.6GHz||3.6 GHz|
|Cache memory||16 MB SmartCache||12 MB SmartCache|
|Integrated graphics||UHD Graphics 630||UHD Graphics 630|
The dominators before the 10th gen and still holding the fort. Both the 9th gen CPUs of the two core families delivered immense performance for overclockers, content creators, gamers alike. Although as usual the i9 outranks the i7 despite the hyperthreading.
Apart from the specs above the rest are pretty much identical. 64GB graphics memory, 64GB DDR4-2666 maximum memory and PCIe up to 1×16, 2×8,1×8+2×4. The chipset for both is LGA 1151. The i9-9900K is compatible with the Z390 chipset, and is also compatible with the older Z370 chipset. This is the next best powerhouse after the i9-10900K and offers premium gaming and desktop performance. However the equivalent Ryzen 9 3900X is more suitable for heavy workloads and optimum processing power.
The i7-9700K is the best bang for buck option here given the almost identical performance at $100 lower. Just like the i9 the i7 is compatible with the new Z390 chipset as well as the older Z370 chipset. Given the fact that the average gamer doesn’t benefit from more than 6 threads, the i7-9700K is the far better price to performance CPU than the i9-9900K.
i9 vs i7 Benchmark
Unlike intel i5 vs i7 the benchmark scores here are almost identical. However the 64 core speed is considerably higher in the i9-9900K relative to the i7-9700K. Even in the 10th comparison the i9 shows faster octa core and quad core speed. Apart from that the Gaming, Desktop and Workstation performances are almost identical.
These CPUs are best utilized in desktop builds. With a good cooling system and appropriate power supply overclocking and squeezing all it got is best achieved. The i9-9900K shows a slight increase in single core performance with the Cinebench R15 vs the i7-9700K.
So far we only talked about the unlocked CPUs and with good reason. The “T” series CPUs are power optimized and hence less powerful. The fact is that with extra 50 bucks you can purchase the K version and get better performance although it consumes more power.
i7 vs i9 in Laptops
There are two series commonly found in laptops. The “H” and “HK” are the Intel mobile processors. Core i7-9750H, Core i9-9980HK are some such popular examples. Mostly found in thin light laptops and extremely powerful in multi-threaded performance.
i7- 8850H and i9- 8950HK are two of the most popular chips found in laptops. Although the i9 outranks the i7 in benchmark tests such as Geekbench 4, Handbrake, Excel they are both great processors for either gaming or real world task performance.
i9 vs i7 Gaming
Experts tested both the i9 and i7 10th, 9th gen CPUs with the same 2060 Super GPU and recorded the results. As you can see the frame rates for both the 10th gen CPUs are near parallel. Only CSGO showed a considerable amount of additional frames per second. It was the same results with the 9th gen.
What must be mentioned is that unless your intentions also include content creation, high end programming or anything that requires heavy processing power investing in these two CPUs might be a waste. Reason being that for gaming the same performance is achievable with i5 and even i3. Specifically a CPU of calibration such as the i5-9600K or the i3 10th gen. 4 cores is more than sufficient for high quality gaming.
Very few games like GTA V use the whole 6 cores while the majority is content with 4 cores. In benchmark scores the i9-9900K outperformed the i5-10600K by a few figures and hence almost insignificant. Nevertheless if budget isn’t a limiting factor and you prefer the absolute best, then you are better off with the 19-9th or better yet i9-10th gen.
Now that we have analyzed Intel i9 vs i7 it all comes down to your needs. It does not mean that one is supreme over the other. Considering your resources, requirements and budget you have to make the optimum choice. Intel i9 is just the best of the best Intel processors, while the i7 is also the best just a little lower on specs.
Nonetheless the i7 is the best investment for low end content creation + great gaming. Because the money you save can eventually be used on other peripherals, perhaps a better GPU, storage, cooling etc. Given the analysis above I’d personally opt for a i7-10th gen without a second’s hesitation. To conclude Intel i9 vs i7 the competition is more focused on the equivalent Ryzen processors. Because they have better multi-core performance and hence works best in both gaming and high processing power needed tasks.