First look at the Intel Core i9-14900K: 6 GHz for the people!
Intel has introduced a line of 14th generation Core desktop processors. The chips codenamed Raptor Lake Refresh extend the cadence of the current LGA1700 platform. This time, the update is more like a cosmetic refinement of the previous generation CPU. However, higher frequencies, certain optimizations, and, in some cases, functional improvements with additional performance gains are an opportunity to get more for the same price.
Even by the codename of the line, it is not difficult to guess that the new chips are based on the previous generation of processors. At the crystal level, these are almost identical CPUs, which means that the 14th generation Core is manufactured using a 10-nanometer process designated Intel 7. One can only wonder how the manufacturer manages to make powerful single-crystal chips operate at 6+ GHz.
The 14th generation Intel Core processors use the familiar hybrid architecture of computers with a combination of productive (P-cores) and energy-efficient cores (E-cores). There are no profound changes at the microarchitecture level, but the new CPUs have certain optimizations and increased operating frequencies.
The maximum total number of computing cores remained at the same level – 24, in the proportion of 8P+16E. At the same time, the new Core i7 chips have undergone functional changes, which instead of the 8P+8E combination have received the 8P+12E formula. Four additional energy-efficient cores will significantly increase performance in multi-threaded mode.
The 14th generation Intel Core offers support for 16 PCI Express 5.0 and 4 PCI Express 4.0 bus lines, and works with DDR4 and DDR5 RAM. The developers emphasize certain optimizations to improve compatibility with high-speed kits. Although the DDR4-3200 and DDR5-5600 modes remain formally standard for Rocket Lake Refresh, the new CPUs should work better than their predecessors with DDR5-8000+ kits. In addition, some improvements can be expected in the support of 24/48 GB modules. The maximum supported memory capacity is already officially 192 GB in dual-channel mode (4×48 GB).
A new option for certain 14th Generation Core models will be support for Intel Application Optimization (Intel APO). The mechanism, which works in conjunction with Thread Director, will allow for even more efficient load distribution to productive and energy-efficient processor cores, resulting in performance improvements. The technology will be more focused on gaming optimization and requires developers to prepare certain profiles in advance. At the time of launch, such profiles were provided for Rainbow Six: Siege and Metro Exodus. According to the manufacturer’s assurances, Intel APO technology allowed to increase performance by 13% and 16%, respectively. Intel promises to actively develop this area, allowing you to get advantages in many gaming projects.
Intel Core 14th Gen processor lineup
Initially, the new lineup traditionally includes the most powerful enthusiast models with unlocked multipliers. The series is headed by Core i9-14900K/KF chips, which have a functional configuration of 8P (3.2/6.0 GHz) + 16E (2.2/4.4 GHz). At the same time, productive processor cores can be accelerated up to 6 GHz. Such frequency horizons were previously achievable only for the flagship of the previous line – Core i9-13900KS. The maximum frequency of energy-efficient cores has also been increased by 100 MHz. The declared power consumption level (PBP/MTP) is 125/253 W. The recommended price of Core i9-14900K is $589, while the modification without integrated graphics is $25 cheaper – $564. So despite certain expectations, Intel is keeping the price tags at the same level.
Core i7-14700K/KF chips have received the most significant update in the lineup. In addition to a slight increase in operating frequencies, these models also have an increased number of active energy-efficient cores. The formula 8P (3.4/5.6 GHz) + 12E (2.5/4.3 GHz) will allow you to increase power in multi-threaded tasks. The energy packages of the older Core i7s are also at 125/253W. Despite the increase in functional units, the cost of the chips in the series also remained unchanged compared to the previous generation models. Core i7-14700K is priced at $409, Core i7-14700KF at $384.
The Core i5-14600K/KF also has only a small increase in operating frequencies. Six productive cores operate in the 3.5/5.3 GHz range, and an additional eight energy-efficient cores operate at 2.6/4.0 GHz. The power limits are 125/181W, and the recommended price tags are also identical to those we saw for the 13600K/KF models – $319/$294.
In its presentation materials, Intel puts a lot of emphasis on multithreaded performance, gaming capabilities, and efficiency when using heavy scenarios with multiple resource-intensive threads running in parallel. For example, playing Total War should not be a problem for Core i9-14900K: Warhammer III at 100+ fps, with simultaneous high-quality OBS streaming and video recording.
As for the gaming capabilities of the new CPUs, Intel claims that the Core i9-14900K is superior to the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D. At the same time, the gap in such projects as Starfield and Metro Exodus (probably already with APO activated) is up to 23%. The performance of other projects can be estimated in the chart below. However, as we can see, in certain games, the opponent has a rather significant advantage. It is even interesting that marketers did not ignore these circumstances by including these projects in the standings. Of course, this increases trust, but independent reviews will help to resolve all questions.
Intel is confident that there is a certain advantage over AMD chips in content creation tasks, where even Core i7-14700K can compete with Ryzen 9 7950X.
It is usually more profitable for developers to demonstrate the difference in the multi-threading capabilities of chips of different generations using the example of Core i7. These are the chips that have had the most energy-efficient cores added in recent generations. So if the Core i7-12700K had an 8+4 formula, the 13700K model is already 8+8, and the Core i7-14700K is 8+12. Of course, in this case, the progress will be maximized.
Intel Core i9-14900K
The current flagship of Intel’s new line of desktop chips is the Core i9-14900K. We had the opportunity to get acquainted with the processor’s capabilities in express mode, so we are ready to share our first impressions.
The system based on the new CPU was assembled by Artline specialists. The platform uses the newly introduced ASUS ROG STRIX Z790-E GAMING WIFI II motherboard based on the Intel Z790 chipset. At the same time, the liquid system ASUS ROG RYUJIN III 360 ARGB was used to cool the processor. The graphics part was handled by ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 4090 24GB GDDR6X OG OC.
As we have already noted, the functional equipment of the Core i9-14900K is identical to that offered by the chips of the formally previous generation. That is, the processor has 8 productive cores, which can now accelerate to 6 GHz at peak. The chip’s computing capabilities are also enhanced by 16 energy-efficient cores with a 2.4/4.4 GHz operating frequency formula. The chip has 36 MB of L3, while the total L2 capacity of all computing cores is not much less – 32 MB.
We should note that in our case, we used an engineered sample of the processor. Usually, the differences with retail copies are insignificant, but there may be some nuances. Especially in terms of power supply parameters.
Let’s start with the new Cinebench R24 benchmark. At the processor stage, the Core i9-14900K scores 2217 points in multi-threaded mode and 137 points in single-threaded mode. We have also used this stage to test other chips, so we take the results for statistics. According to the data available online, the Core i9-13900KS scores about 2150/135 points here. So the chips are close.
In the previous version of the scene rendering benchmark, Cinebench R23, the processor demonstrates almost 39,000 points in multi-threaded mode and 2297 points under a single-threaded load. We used this test package to check power consumption and frequency limits. It should be noted here that we previously activated the ASUS MultiCore Enhancement technology, removing the power limits to maximize performance.
Under these conditions, the processor’s power consumption peaked at 360 watts with an average value of 312 watts during the test. Under maximum load, the productive processor cores kept the frequency at 5500 MHz, while the energy-efficient ones operated at 4400 MHz.
During our acquaintance with the capabilities of the “special edition” Core i9-13900KS processor in similar conditions, it ran at 5600 + 4300 MHz. The Core i9-14900K has slightly higher power consumption, especially at peak values. But here you need to take into account that we were dealing with an engineering sample of the processor, which automatically used an increased supply voltage.
In terms of performance, the overall performance of both processors is very close.
In some cases, one chip has a minimal advantage, and at certain stages, the other chip performs slightly better. There are no significant differences, because there is simply no reason for them to appear. So the Core i9-13900KS was the first, but not the only, desktop processor to reach the 6 GHz frequency milestone. The Core i9-14900K/KF models now also have the six out of the box, with the new chips being offered for $589/564, while the Core i9-13900KS is asking $699.
As for the appearance of the new generation of chips, it is rather a minor update with minimal improvements. These are very powerful chips for the well-established and well-predicted LGA1700 with all its features. Of course, we would like to see more tangible changes for the next generation chips, but given the current technological conditions, we understand that fundamental changes can only be expected with the advent of Arrow Lake-S for the future LGA1851 platform.