Time for an upgrade? Intel Coffee Lake vs. latest CPUs

Do you have an older Intel Core processor and are you unsure whether a new processor is worth upgrading? Then this article is for you, because for this article we completely retested the Intel Core i5 9600K, Core i7 9700K and Core i9 9900K for a comparison with the latest AMD and Intel processors. Are you still okay with your older CPU or is it time for an upgrade?

Only with the latest Alder Lake generation did Intel switch to a new microarchitecture and a new production process. For this, Intel was forced to use Skylake and 14nm for generations. Although we won’t go further than the ninth-generation Core processors for this article, you can also use our test results to get an indication of the performance level of models from previous generations. In the table below we have listed CPUs with the same core configurations, with the tested variants in bold.

Core Configuration6th Gen
7th Gen
Kaby Lake
8th Gen
Coffee Lake
9th Gen
Coffee Lake-R
10th Gen
Comet Lake
4C/8Ti7 6700Ki7 7700Ki3 10100
6C/6Ti5 8400
i5 8600K
i5 9600K
6C / 12Ti7 8700Ki5 10400
i5 10600K
8C/8Ti7 9700K
8C / 16Ti9 9900Ki7 10700K

Intel Coffee Lake in a nutshell

Before we get to the benchmarks, what about all those Skylake-based Intel Core generations? Basically, all processors from the sixth to the tenth Core generation use the same technology. However, in response to increasing competition from AMD, Intel was forced to increase clock speeds and core count. With the sixth and seventh generation Core processors, the top model still had four cores, while in the tenth generation that had more than doubled to ten cores.

Meanwhile, Intel stuck to its cadence of two generations per socket. So you can upgrade from sixth to seventh or from eighth to ninth generation (Coffee Lake (Refresh)) in the same board, but larger steps require a new motherboard.

What is striking about two of the three processors from the ninth generation is that they do not support hyperthreading. In 2022, almost every AMD or Intel processor has extra virtual threads, but Intel kept that option exclusive for the most expensive models for a long time. The i7 9700K was therefore the first processor since AMD’s Bulldozer FX processors to have eight cores, but not hyperthreading or SMT.

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