Intel Core i9-11900KF Review

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The majority of reviews, including ours, won’t be available for Intel’s recently released 11th Gen Core “Rocket Lake-S” desktop CPUs for another couple of weeks. You’re impatient. A scattering of leaked test results, including some numbers for Intel’s Core i9-11900KF, offer a potential preview of what Rocket Lake-S will bring to the table.

At the top of the stack is the Intel Core i9-11900KF, followed by the Core i9-11900K. (non-F model). The only difference between the two is that the KF model costs a little less and doesn’t have onboard graphics (Intel recommends pricing for the Core i9-11900KF at $513 versus $539 for the Core i9-11900K).

Is the Intel Core i9-11900KF desktop CPU from Intel, which costs $539, silicon-based? Of course it is, in fact. Does that imply that here in 2021, at Intel’s suggested price, it might be difficult to find? Very likely. These days, the desire for high-end component electronics is essentially baked in. Therefore, the Intel Core i9-11900KF, Intel’s newest flagship CPU and the top of its 11th Generation “Rocket Lake” range, ought to do well in the market. But after lagging behind AMD for a few years in CPU innovation and raw performance, it is not the rabbit that the chip giant needs to produce. When actual wizardry is required to alter the CPU discourse, it is merely a lackluster performance.

While the Itenl Core i9-11900KF is outstanding for single-threaded activities, it was too hot, power-hungry, and unstable in our early tests to compete with AMD’s Ryzen desktop CPUs or even Intel’s own older-generation CPUs, such the Core i9-10900K, the 10th Generation Core flagship.

While the cheaper Intel Core i7-11700K, which also has eight cores, competed with our test sample when benchmarked in a similarly configured prebuilt MSI desktop, the eight-core AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, which is slightly more expensive, proves to be fierce competition for Intel on both single-core and multicore tasks. When compared to other chips on the market with the same core count, the Intel Core i9-11900KF  slightly better single-core boost under specific thermal conditions won’t be enough to convince most buyers to choose it. However, as Z590 motherboards become more stable over the coming weeks and months, this dynamic may start to shift more in the Core i9’s favor.

Intel Core i9-11900KF specs

Intel Core i9 11900KF 2

A desktop processor with 8 cores, the Intel Core i9-11900KF, was introduced in March 2021. It is a Core i9 model with Socket 1200 and the Rocket Lake-S architecture. The number of cores has essentially doubled to 16 threads thanks to Intel Hyper-Threading. The Core i9-11900KF has 16MB of L3 cache and runs at 3.5 GHz by default, but depending on the workload, it can boost to 5.3 GHz. The number of transistors in the Core i9-11900KF, manufactured by Intel on a 14 nm production node, is unknown. The unlocked multiplier on the Core i9-11900KF may be freely adjusted, which makes choosing an overclocking frequency much simpler.

The Intel Core i9-11900KF consumes a lot of power with a TDP of 125 W, hence effective cooling is unquestionably required. Dual-channel DDR4 memory is supported by Intel’s processor. The greatest memory speed that is officially supported is 3200 MHz, however you may overclock your computer to go even faster with the correct memory modules. A PCI-Express Gen 4 connection is used by the Core i9-11900KF to communicate with other system parts. This processor lacks integrated graphics, thus you will need a separate graphics card.

The Core i9-11900KF supports hardware virtualization, which significantly boosts virtual machine performance. Additionally, IOMMU virtualization (PCI passthrough) is permitted, allowing guest virtual machines to use the host hardware directly. This processor can run programs that make use of Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX), which improves performance for applications that require lots of calculations. Along with AVX, Intel now also supports the more recent AVX2 and AVX-512 instructions.

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Essential information

Product Collection11th Generation Intel® Core™ i9 Processors
Code NameProducts formerly Rocket Lake
Vertical SegmentDesktop
Processor Numberi9-11900KF
Launch DateQ1’21
Lithography14 nm
Recommended Customer Price$564.00 – $574.00
Use ConditionsPC/Client/Tablet

Intel Core i9-11900KF specs

Total Cores8
Total Threads16
Max Turbo Frequency5.30 GHz
Intel® Thermal Velocity Boost Frequency5.30 GHz
Intel® Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 Frequency5.20 GHz
Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 Frequency5.10 GHz
Processor Base Frequency3.50 GHz
Cache16 MB Intel® Smart Cache
Bus Speed8 GT/s
TDP125 W
Configurable TDP-down Base Frequency3.00 GHz
Configurable TDP-down95 W

Memory specs

Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type)128 GB
Memory TypesDDR4-3200
Max # of Memory Channels2
Max Memory Bandwidth50 GB/s

Intel Core i9-11900KF performance & gaming

Here is what our bank of gaming tests revealed while our GeForce RTX 2080 Ti card was in charge. With all of the CPUs that we have listed below, performance at 4K is primarily determined by this top-tier consumer graphics card. However, at 1080p, the card begins to step back a little more, allowing the CPU disparities to truly stand out. (We test using 7 games and 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra.)

However, Intel is now closely followed at the top of the charts by AMD, whose Ryzen 5000 Series has significantly improved AMD’s gaming capabilities. Though it performs admirably in the majority of the 1080p tests presented here, the 14nm Intel Core i9-11900KF occasionally had trouble keeping up with its 7nm rivals, including the Ryzen 7 5800X, Ryzen 5 5600X, and even the Ryzen 3 3300X, in the few 4K resolution runs where the GPU is doing all the work.

The Intel Core i9-11900KF achieves new highs in both resolutions in our legacy run of Hitman: Absolution and wins the frame-rate competition in our 4K run of Rise of the Tomb Raider (84fps, raising the bar by one).

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I should emphasize once more that our power constraints on the chip, which were themselves essential for basic operating system stability on the Core i9-11900K, let alone stability in a benchmark like Rise of the Tomb Raider, may very well be the cause of this lack of complete supremacy. Esports professionals and owners of high-refresh monitors won’t be at all disappointed by what we observed, though. This frame rate competition is now literally a battle of millimeters, not even inches.

While just costing 2% more, the 12-core AMD Ryzen 9 5900X outperforms the Intel Core i9-11900KF in Blender by a staggering 58%. Likewise, the Core i9-11900K was 13% slower on the Puget Adobe Premiere benchmark. This indicates that the Intel Core i9-11900KF is much slower than the competitors in both 3D modeling and video editing.

When we start to look at gaming benchmarks, on which Intel is concentrating all of its marketing this time around, things start to look a little better. The Intel Core i9-11900KF achieved a CPU score of 13,301 in the 3DMark Time Spy test, which is a 9% improvement over the Ryzen 9 5900X’s 12,163 result.

However, there is a more pronounced distinction compared to earlier CPUs. For instance, in Total War, the Intel Core i9-11900KF outperformed the Intel Core i9-10900K by roughly 7%. Even though it’s unlikely to persuade anyone to move beyond the 10900K, this is a step on the right way.

Conclusion on Intel Core i9-11900KF 

If you are an Intel devotee, get it. The Intel Core i9-11900K is a good CPU that will handle any workload you throw at it if you choose to go with a brand you trust, and Intel is that brand. You want to speed up. The following OC favorite will likely be the Intel Core i9-11900K. Intel processors are still the simplest to overclock. Just make sure you have a seriously large cooler available.

Buy it only if You want to get the best value for your money. The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X or Ryzen 9 5900X are now the better options if you’re looking to spend $500 or more on a processor. Already, you have a respectable processor. You won’t notice a significant change with the Core i9-11900K if you currently have something like an Intel Core i9-9900K or Core i7-9700K, especially if you’re gaming.

Intel Core i9 11900KF 5
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