In short: Earlier this week, Intel announced the Core i9-9900K desktop processor, which is now the most powerful desktop processor currently on the market. While there are no desktops (or even laptops) currently available with this processor, you can pre-order it from Amazon and upgrade your desktop with it. Amazon is currently selling the Intel Core i9-9900K desktop processor for $529. It is not listing when this processor will be available, so it's unclear how long the pre-order phase will be. It could be just a few weeks or it could be longer.
This is part of the ninth-generation Core processor, and it is the most powerful and most efficient processor that Intel has made. It sports speeds of 3.6GHz to 5.0GHz, and has a 16MB Cache. There are eight cores on the i9-9900K and 16 threads. Intel has also included its Optane Memory and UHD Graphics 630. Needless to say, this would be a great processor to put into a gaming rig. Especially with Intel's Optane Memory. When it comes to RAM, it will support two channels of DDR4-2666. There is also a new chipset included in the i9-9900K, and that's the Z390 chipset, and it also comes with new motherboards from ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI and a few others. The Z390 is a slight upgrade over the Z379. It will support six USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, as well as integrated 802.11 ac WiFi and revision to the Intel Management Engine Firmware. Intel touts the fact that you don't actually need a new motherboard to run the ninth generation processors from Intel, if you already own the Z370 chipset. You'll just need to get a BIOS update. MSI has already announced a BIOS update for its Z370 motherboards.
With Intel Optane Memory, your hard drive is going to act more like a SSD, being much faster. It is essentially a faster storage repository for the most often used data and meta data, and it resides in the RAM and main storage subsystem. Intel says that it would offer between a five and eight times performance boost in mixed read/write workloads. It's especially useful in data centers, but it also works great for workstations and those that are running multiple resource-intensive applications. Intel Optane Memory is not new, and it was included in the eight-generation of its Core processors. Many have said that it really improves the speed and performance of the machine, which is really impressive, without adding more RAM or upgrading the SoC.
Background: Intel started branding its processors under the "Core i" brand back in 2010 with the Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 chipsets. Which effectively were low-end, mid-range and high-end chipsets. However, Intel does still have the Core m series and Pentium is surprising still around as well. Though those are mostly only found in Chromebooks and Windows tablets these days - basically, those devices that don't need a whole lot of power. These different processors allow Intel's partners to be able to build different laptops to hit different price points. So a laptop that is around $300 to $500 will likely sport an Intel Core i3 or maybe an i5 if it's on sale, while something closer to a grand would be using the Intel Core i7. And that's because the chipset it is using costs more.
When it comes to the Intel Core i9, however, it only started with the eighth generation of Intel's Core i processors, last year. There are a number of laptops and desktops that do sport the Intel Core i9, of course these are pretty expensive. Apple has also included the Intel Core i9 in its top-of-the-line Macbook Pro 15-inch (which launched earlier this summer). That particular machine got a lot of flack because it was being throttled so much. This was due to the air flow inside the Macbook Pro, which kept the Intel Core i9 from really hitting the top speed when doing resource-heavy tasks like exporting a video in Adobe Premiere Pro, but that has been fixed, and it's running great. Now Intel has a new generation of the Intel Core i9, which is going to make desktops even faster. So far, Intel has not announced the new "mobile" version of the Core i9, which would be used in laptops. What that essentially means is that this particular chipset needs more space to stay cool. Which it has in a desktop, but doesn't have in a laptop.
Now, of course we have to talk about Meltdown and Spectre, the two big security flaws that were found in most of Intel's older processors - prior to the ninth generation processors here. The software fixes to patch both Meltdown and Spectre ended up slowing down the processor, and it was rumored that the ninth generation processors would sport hardware improvements that would bring back that speed while also patching Meltdown and Spectre. And that is the case. So you can use your new Intel Core i9-9900K without worrying about it slowing down.
Impact: The Intel Core i9-9900K is really going to take your desktop to the next level. Intel has unlocked the i9-9900K, so that you can overclock it if you wish. Intel says that the maximum speed for this one is 5.0GHz which is pretty fast, and can definitely chew through the most resource-heavy tasks that you can throw at it. It is also built with the Solder Thermal Interface Material or STIM, so you won't even need to worry about it getting too hot and throttling down. STIM will help maximize efficient heat transfer from the processor to the cooler. This is going to allow users to overclock their processor and play the most graphic-intense games without increasing the heat in your desktop. The Intel Extreme Tuning Utility is also included here for free, so you can overclock the Intel Core i9-9900K with a simple change on your desktop. You can pre-order the Intel Core i9-9900K desktop processor from Amazon using the link down below. It's priced at $529, and should be shipping soon, though Intel only says that it will ship in Q4 2018.