Are Intel I9 CPUs Good For Gaming?

 If you didn’t know already, for gaming, the CPU plays a very critical role in processing the frames sent by the graphics card, so the GPU relies on how fast the CPU is.

The faster the CPU, the more frames it can process, and the I9 is a particularly fast processor featuring high clock speeds and core counts.

When gaming, single-core performance is the most important metric as games mostly benefit from clock speeds. Most I9 processors you see have clock speeds around 5GHz which is more than enough for gaming.

How Good Is The I9 For Gaming?

The I9 processors are Intel’s fastest desktop processors featuring plenty of cores, and high clock speeds. This is evident with the I9 12900K having a total of 16 cores, and a clock speed of 5.20GHz.

So, the objective truth is that the I9 processors are the best gaming processors purely from a performance standpoint, but this doesn’t make them the best option all-round.

You have cheaper processors such as the I7 12700K, and the I5 12600K, that do the job just as well.

Even though they aren’t as powerful as the I9 processors, you can still overclock them as they’re unlocked, which is defined by the ‘K’ suffix.

So, the I7 12700K which is clocked at 5.0GHz can probably clock to 5.20GHz with relative ease, so you can get similar or better performance than the I9 12900K with a little overclocking.

And depending on the resolution you game at, the I9’s single-core performance may be negligible as bottlenecks shrink the higher the resolution is.

To answer your question, yes a high end I9 CPU is the best of the best for gaming, but it isn’t necessary in most cases, and you can save money for other components.

Are All I9 CPUs Good For Gaming?

You may be wondering whether all I9 CPUs are good for gaming, and the answer is most likely no, but we’re going to explain why.

If you’ve noticed, CPU clock speeds rarely increase, it’s the IPC that increases per generation that is increasing the performance with the newer chips.

What this means is that the older I9 processors despite having high clock speeds will still be outperformed by the newer chips due to IPC increases.

You can see this evidently with the R20 single-core performance test down below.

I9 benchmarks
R20 Single-core benchmark Scores From:

As you can see from the single-core benchmarks, each generation gets progressively faster in terms of single-core performance, despite clock speeds rarely increasing.

This performance difference will make a difference in game, especially at lower resolutions. So, the I9 12900K in this case will produce higher frame rates than the I9 9900K at 1440P & 1080P.

You can also see the difference in the CineBench and PassMark benchmark scores, the table down below further emphasises how clock speed doesn’t really mean anything

CPUCore Count(Threads)Clock Speed(Boost)Cinebench Single-Core ScorePassmark Single-Core Score
Core i9-9900KF8(16)3.6GHz(5.0GHz)12772968
Core i9-9900K8(16)3.6GHz(5.0GHz)13342963
Core i9-10900KF10(20)3.7GHz(5.3GHz)14833137
Core i9-10900K10(20)3.7GHz(5.3GHz)13943167
Core i9-11900KF8(16)3.5GHz(5.3GHz)16493579
Core i9-11900K8(16)3.5GHz(5.3GHz)16143515
Core i9-12900KF16(24)3.9GHz(5.2GHz)19504241
Core i9-12900K16(24)3.9GHz(5.2GHz)19864211

Are Laptop I9’s Good For Gaming?

Laptop CPUs are typically weaker than desktop CPUs, so you’re probably wondering whether this has an effect on how they handle games.

To answer your question, there are so many variations of laptop CPUs, some are made for high performance, and some are made to conserve battery life.

Here are the lists of mobile CPUs, and their suffix meanings so you get a better understanding.

G1-G7Made to conserve battery life (limited to 4 cores)
UMobile power efficient
YMobile extremely low power
HHigh performance optimized for mobile
HKHigh performance optimized for mobile, unlocked
HXDesktop-caliber silicon for High Performance

So, the best processors for gaming from an objective standpoint are the ‘H’, ‘HX’ and the ‘HK’ processors as they feature the highest clock speeds.

You will most likely find these types of processors in gaming laptops as they need the extra power, but it comes at the cost of battery friendliness.

Laptop I9 Benchmarks
R20 Laptop I9 Benchmark Credit:

As you can see, the I9 laptop processors can get quite fast, there aren’t any low powered variants, so you don’t need to worry about not getting enough power.

In some ways, they can match up to the desktop I9 processors, the I9 12900HX can reach clock speeds around 5GHz which is pretty impressive for a mobile processor.

This is probably because the I9 12900HX utilizes desktop level silicon which means it mostly resembles a desktop CPU instead of a laptop CPU.

Also, the R20 benchmark scores are pretty similar, so they match very closely in terms of single-core performance.

So, laptop I9 processors are definitely on the upper-end when purchasing a gaming laptop, they can serve you quite well.

But again, I7 and even I5 processors can do just fine, the main difference between I9 and the other Intel processors is the core count.

I9 Vs Ryzen 9 For Gaming

Remember, single-core performance is the most important metric when finding out the best processor for gaming.

Even though games nowadays can use up to 6 cores, the clock speed & IPC still make the biggest difference.

Because of this, the I9 processors are pretty much better than Ryzen 9 CPUs when it comes to gaming, this is because Ryzen falls behind in single-core performance compared to Intel.

But if you’re going to game at high resolutions such as 4K, then the difference will be extremely small as it puts less stress on the CPU.

Ryzen 9 CPUs are still an extremely good option for gaming, but they’re better suited for workstations, and PCs used for streaming, video editing, and other professional tasks.

In terms of single-core performance, the I9 almost always beats the Ryzen 9, this is because Intel processors will process more instructions per clock, and they reach higher clock speeds.

It’s extremely complex comparing CPUs of completely different architectures, so we will let the benchmarks do the talking.

Witcher 3 Benchmark I9 12900k Vs Ryzen 9 5900X
Witcher 3 FPS Benchmark

As you can see, the I9 12900K pulls ahead slightly compared to the Ryzen 9 5900X in average frames per second, but this doesn’t make the Ryzen 9 5900X a bad choice.

The Ryzen 9 5900X is just better suited for other tasks such as multitasking, whereas the I9 processors are generally seen as the overkill option offering huge clock speeds and core counts.


In conclusion, the I9 is absolutely amazing for gaming, but this doesn’t make it the best choice. You still have the I5 and the I7 processors that can run games just as well.

But, if you’re looking for the best of the best, then your option should undoubtedly be the I9 unless another processor comes along with superior single-core performance.

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