Is Intel I9 Good For Gaming?

The first component someone usually picks for a PC is the processor, this is because, without a processor, the computer won’t be able to work. The processor you’ve selected is also important for the type of PC you’re building such as a Gaming PC, Video Editing PC, or Dedicated Streaming PC, and it matters whether it is a low-end or a high-end build.

For gaming, you will mainly want to focus on single-core performance, and this is usually a combination of clock speed and IPC. Newer processors will have higher IPC compared to their predecessors, and clock speeds around the same level, this will make the newer processor faster than the older processor and more suitable for gaming.

Answer: The I9 is a suitable processor for gamers looking for the best processor they can find, I9s feature superior single-core performance to their counterparts (I7, I5, I3) & they even beat their competition, the Ryzen 9 in gaming. If you want a high-end build with the most frame rate possible, the I9 is a no-compromise processor that’ll do the job.

Most I9s Are Good For Gaming

Most I9 processors you’ll find are great for gaming, this is because there are not many different variants that can affect the single-core performance. In general, the processors with the K, KF suffixes are great choices for gaming as they’re usually the best options, on top of that, they’re unlocked which means they’re open for overclocking. Overclocking can massively benefit the single-core performance if done correctly.

The generation of I9 you buy is important as previous generations will offer slower single-core performance, it is best practice to focus on the latest generation due to it being superior in most areas. The previous generation can be a great choice as it’ll likely be lower in price and still provide great single-core performance, but it won’t generate as much FPS in games as the latest i9 generation.

There are certain I9 processors that may be unsuitable for gaming, and we think any low-powered chips are poor candidates, this is because they feature lower clock speeds. Any desktop processor with a T at the end is low-powered and will generate fewer frames than a standard I9 and the K/KF variants. The only benefit to these processors is the super low TDPs. As you can see from the benchmarks below, the latest generation of I9s will always win due to the superior IPC improvements although they’re the best in boost clock speed.

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

Single-Core Performance Vs Multicore Performance

For gaming, single-core performance is really important, this is because approximately 60% of games cannot utilize more than one core, this is due to how the games are coded. It is notoriously hard to code games to use more than one core, therefore higher clock speeds and IPCs are the most important metric. Higher clock speed equal higher frame rates in general, but it isn’t smart to go off just clock speeds as IPC is arguably more important.

A processor’s single-core performance isn’t just a product of clock speed, if this were true, then many older processors will still be viable. Single-core performance relies on a hidden metric called IPC, it isn’t as popular as clock speed because it doesn’t sell as much. But in general, IPC has a huge impact on the single-core performance as it allows a processor to complete more work per clock cycle. Let’s compare two processors both clocked at 5GHz, but one has 10% higher IPC, the CPU with the IPC gains will generate more FPS when it comes to gaming.

Due to IPC being extremely important, this is why it isn’t advisable to go for older processors although their clock speeds may be high. Each generation will improve the IPC as the processor’s architecture will become more efficient. An Intel 12th generation processor will always be superior to its 11th generation counterpart due to this fact, and this trend is expected to continue as clock speeds are no longer getting faster.

Even though games only benefit from one core, this doesn’t mean a processor with a single-core would be a good idea, this is why you don’t really see single-core CPUs around anymore. You need at least 6 cores to game effectively as the other cores will handle the operating system and background applications, this multitasking ability will help reduce the influence these applications will have on your gaming performance.

Most I9 processors will come with a huge number of cores from a gaming PC perspective, usually up to 16 cores, as well as this they will come with a decent number of threads. An Intel processor will likely come with twice the number of threads than cores, but not the I9th generation. This technology is referred to as SMT and Intel has Hyperthreading which is a form of SMT. Hyperthreading is meant to increase the efficiency of each core by splitting one physical core into two logical cores, this is meant to provide a 30% increase in performance in most applications. Unfortunately, games don’t benefit from hyperthreading due to games being single-core coded.

I9 12th generation processors actually come with 16 cores and 24 threads, this is due to there being two different types of cores. In the 12th generation line of processors, there are performance cores and efficient cores, the I9 12900K will come with 8 performance cores and 16 performance threads, and 8 efficiency cores and 8 efficiency threads, this makes up for a total of 16 cores and 24 threads. To reliably increase the gaming performance, purchasing an unlocked Intel I9 processor could be beneficial, unlocked processors are denoted by the “K” at the end and it means it’s ready for overclocking. Overclocking is great as it pushes the single-core performance past its limits generating more FPS in games.

Is I9 Good For Gaming & Streaming?

The way streaming works is different from how games work, this is because streaming is CPU intensive meaning it’s multithreaded, and games aren’t as intensive making it a single-core application. For streaming, you will always benefit from having more processing core, this is dependent on the encoder. If you’re encoding via software, then this will be the case, but hardware encoders are mainly GPU intensive.

The I9 processors will come with a huge number of cores and threads, way more than the minimum requirements for software encoding via X264. Encoding x264 usually requires 6 cores for it to be effective enough, so I9 processors are technically overkill for streaming which isn’t a bad thing. Even if you’re not using a dedicated streaming PC, the I9 processor will be more than enough to stream effectively. Most streamers will use OBS which is a free software running the x264 encoder, you can tweak the settings accordingly for the best quality with your I9 CPU.

For streaming, we’re going to mainly focus on the multicore performance instead of single-core as clock speeds aren’t really going to make a huge difference in the encoding process. We’re going to compare the I9 processors against its competitor the Ryzen 9 lineup of CPUs to see how they hold up in multicore tests. The higher the score, the better the processor for multicore performance making it the best option for streaming. In the benchmark below, the I9 12900K holds up closely with the Ryzen 9 5950x which is Ryzens top of the line processor. It beats it in Cinebench but loses in PassMark multi-core tests.

CPUCore Count(Threads)Clock Speed(Boost)Passmark Multi-Core ScoreCinebench Multi-Core Score
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X12(24)3.8GHz(4.6GHz)3277618485
Core i9-10900K10(20)3.7GHz(5.3GHz)2382415180
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X12(24)3.7GHz(4.8GHz)3958620469
Core i9-11900K8(16)3.5GHz(5.3GHz)2558215046
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X16(32)3.4GHz(4.9GHz)4619125758
Core i9-12900K16(24)3.9GHz(5.2GHz)4077027212

Are Laptop I9s Good For Gaming?

Gaming on laptops can be extremely beneficial due to the portability they offer, this is what makes them attractive to gamers on the move. I9 processors can be great choices for gaming laptops depending on what type of I9 processor it is, usually, if they’re denoted with a “U” at the end, then it’s a bad choice. This is because U processors aren’t focused on performance, mainly battery life.

At the moment, there aren’t any “U” processors for mobile laptops, there are only H and HK which stands for High-performance chips. If the processor has “H” at the end, then the processor is more focused on the performance side of things meaning it’ll generate the optimal amount of frame rates in games. This is due to the single-core performance being superior.

If you can pick up an HK processor, this is great as the K means the processor is unlocked and ready for overclocking. If you’re confident that your gaming laptop can sufficiently cool the overclocked I9, then this can be a great choice as it’ll generate more FPS in games. When you overclock a laptop, ensure that your room is cool as the ambient temperature can cause the CPU to overheat.

Intel I9 Vs Ryzen 9 For Gaming

The direct competitor with the I9 processors is the Ryzen 9 processors made by AMD, and the Ryzen 9 processors are really strong when it comes to single-core and multi-core performance. The Ryzen 9 processors are mainly geared towards users wanting a more professional build for content creation, but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t work amazingly in gaming builds. Intel processors are just more renowned for their single-core performance which is more attractive to gamers.

When it comes to single-core performance, you’ll notice that Intel processors usually have higher clock speeds reaching 5GHz out of the box, Ryzen 9 processors usually come just under 5GHz. In terms of IPC, AMD actually managed to beat Intels 10th generation chips with their own Ryzen 5000 series chips. This meant that Ryzen was actually the better choice for gaming at that time, but Intel’s latest processors have regained that title making them the best gaming option.

In terms of multicore performance, Ryzen will usually surpass Intel in multicore performance, this is because Ryzen focuses more on the overall performance of the processor making it a better option for streamers and video editors. As we can see from these benchmarks, Intel processors beat Ryzen processors when it comes to multicore tests when it comes to the 12th generation chips vs the Ryzen 5000 chips. But the Ryzen 5000 chips beat the Intel 10th generation chips in single-core tests and these two generations are competitors.

CPUCore Count(Threads)Clock Speed(Boost)Passmark Single-Core ScoreCinebench Single-Core Score
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X12(24)3.8GHz(4.6GHz)27261299
Core i9-10900K10(20)3.7GHz(5.3GHz)31671394
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X12(24)3.7GHz(4.8GHz)34951556
Core i9-11900K8(16)3.5GHz(5.3GHz)35151614
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X16(32)3.4GHz(4.9GHz)35011595
Core i9-12900K16(24)3.9GHz(5.2GHz)42111986


The verdict is that the Intel I9 processors are the best gaming processors on the market as they provide the best single-core performance possible. The Intel I9 processors are also great at multi-core tasks making it ideal if you’re going to video edit or stream on the side. We recommend the I9 processors to gamers looking to build a top of line gaming builds.

I9 processors can be quite expensive which doesn’t make it ideal for gamers looking to build a mid-tier PC, we recommend I5s for mid-tier gaming as they’re much cheaper and offer pretty good single-core performance. If you’re confident you want an I9 for gaming, just focus on the latest generation of processors as they have the IPC improvements the previous generation do not.

For laptops, the I9s can be a pretty good choice as long as you go with the H and the HK processors, these CPUs are high performing and offer the best single-core performance a laptop can offer. Gaming on a laptop can be quite difficult cooling-wise, so ensure your room is sufficiently cool to avoid overheating.