Intel unveils Core i9-14900KS processor: is it hard to be the fastest?

Intel has finally finalized its 14th generation Core desktop processor lineup. The manufacturer has introduced the flagship of the updated series – Core i9-14900KS. The special edition of the chip can accelerate up to 6.2 GHz under load, and the developers had to put a lot of effort into achieving such record-breaking performance.

Core i9-14900KS Special Edition is a 24-core chip with 8 performance cores (P-Cores) with Hyper-Threading support and 16 energy-efficient cores (E-Cores). The resulting functional formula of the CPU is 8/16+16, which allows the processor to simultaneously process up to 32 data streams. The base frequency of the productive cores is 3.2 GHz, and the peak acceleration is 6.2 GHz. However, in normal mode, 1-2 cores can simultaneously reach such indicators, and this is a Thermal Velocity Boost condition, so the CPU temperature at this time should not exceed 70C.

The processor is equipped with 36 MB of total L3 cache, and the total capacity of L2 buffers is 32 MB. The chip supports 20 PCI Express lines: 16 PCI-E 5.0 lines + 4 PCI-E 4.0 lines. It is recommended to use Intel Z790/Z690 motherboards as a platform for Core i9-14900KS.

What are the differences between the “special edition” chip and the Core i9-14900K, which led the Raptor Lake Refresh lineup before the announcement of the Core i9-14900KS? Here we have a +200 MHz increase in the maximum frequency of 1-2 productive cores – from 6.2 GHz instead of 6.0 GHz. Also, the operating frequency of E-Cores has increased by +100 MHz – 4.5 MHz instead of 4.4 GHz.

As you can see in the specification table, the base TDP value for the new flagship has been increased from 125 W to 150 W. At the same time, the mode with a short-term increase in consumption (Max Turbo Power) for both models is the same – 253 watts. However, the Core i9-14900KS also has a separate Extreme Power Delivery Profile with a power consumption increase of up to 320W, which can be activated on top motherboards with powerful VRMs.

Along with the presentation of Core i9-14900KS, Intel announced the expansion of the list of games that will be eligible for the Intel Application Optimization program. Special profiles are able to improve load balancing between high-performance and energy-efficient processor cores and increase the number of fps. This practice really works, but judging by the fact that only two games have been optimized so far, the preliminary preparation takes a lot of time. Now, the list of games with Intel APO support has been expanded to include 12 more projects. However, we would like to remind you that this technology is only available for 14th generation Core chips.

As for performance in general, Intel claims that the Core i9-14900KS is superior to its rivals, but it openly points out that in certain games, Ryzen processors with the additional 3D V-Cache buffer can offer better performance.

The Core i9-14900KS has a price tag of $689, which is $100 higher than the recommended price of the Core i9-14900K. Interestingly, the price of the new chip is $10 lower than that of the previous “special edition” processor, the Core i9-13900KS, which we explored earlier.

Core i9-14900KS performance, heat, and power consumption

Colleagues from TechPowerUp have already managed to test the capabilities of the new Core i9-14900KS, so let’s take advantage of their practical results to get a first impression of the leader of the Rocket Lake Refresh processor series.

Based on the results of performance tests across a wide range of diverse applications, the Core i9-14900KS managed to improve the performance of the Core i9-14900K by 3-5%.

In games, when using the GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card and Full HD mode, performance improved by only 1-2%, and this really wasn’t enough to catch up with the Ryzen 7 7800X3D. Of course, the actual difference between 230 fps and 220 fps will not be noticeable in practice, but it is a matter of principle.

The Core i9-14900KS heats up significantly under heavy load. It is not entirely clear why colleagues decided to limit themselves to air coolers to test such a CPU. The result is 117-118C when rendering a scene using Noctua NH-U14S and NH-D15 coolers. Even in the game Cyberpunk 2077 with a simpler cooler, the CPU temperature rose to almost 100C, and with a more efficient cooler – up to 88C.

The situation becomes clearer when you look at the power consumption figures. Without any limits set, the Core i9-14900KS can consume over 500 watts of power. Impressive.

Despite its good power appetite, the CPU has considerable potential for overclocking. After replacing the cooler with a liquid cooling system, TechPowerUp reviewers managed to increase the operating frequency of the productive cores to 5.8 GHz under simultaneous load on all computers. E-Cores were also accelerated to 4.6 GHz. Obviously, these figures are far from the limit for the Core i9-14900KS, but only enthusiasts with extreme cooling systems will be able to unlock the processor’s potential.