For the first time since launch, Intel’s Core i7-9700K is down to $329, the launch price of the Ryzen 7 3700X. Microcenter is selling the entire 9th Gen lineup for a discount on the eve of the 10th Gen Comet Lake-S announcement. In case you’re worried about future-proofing, let me remind you that like Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake, Comet Lake is another Skylake refresh. So in terms of sheer gaming performance, the gains will be very limited.
Intel Core i7-9700K on Sale at Microcenter for $329.99 (Link)
For purely gaming-centric workloads, the Core i7-9700K is hands down the best processor. You can expect as much as 300 FPS in all modern games provided there are no GPU bottlenecks. With eight cores running at a base clock of 3.6GHz and a boost of 4.9GHz, you’re basically getting an i9 without hyperthreading and a slightly lower operating frequency. Upon overclocking, both chips performance on par with each other. As such, there’s no reason to opt for the 9900K. The AMD alternative, the Ryzen 7 3700X costs $269. For $69 less, you get markedly higher multi-threaded and slightly worse gaming performance.
Intel Core i5-9600K on Sale at Microcenter for $189.99 (Link)
Intel’s 2nd best gaming CPU, the Core i5-9600K is also selling for a record low of $189 on Microcenter. While the Core i7-9700K may be the best gaming CPU, the 9600K will suffice for most gamers. You can expect nearly 200 FPS in every modern game. It’s a hex-core CPU lacking HT, but as most games ignore the technology, it makes no difference. It has a base and boost frequency of 3.7GHz and 4.6GHz, respectively, and can be easily overclocked thanks to the unlocked multiplier. The AMD alternatives are the Ryzen 5 3600 and the 3600X. As expected, they cost $30 and $10 less, respectively. The latter is faster in both gaming and content creation workloads, so we see no reason to recommend the 9600K over it.