We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

New Intel i9 9900K CPU benchmarks come with updated AMD results… and an apology

The new benchmark numbers also include modified Intel results, with some 9900K frame rates dropping considerably

Intel Core i9 9900K review

Principled Technologies has now published an updated version of its controversial processor benchmarks. The company was originally commissioned by Intel to validate its claims to the Core i9 9900K being the “world’s best gaming processor” but set the competing Ryzen 7 2700X up incorrectly leading to skewed benchmark results.

In the initial tests Principled Technologies had set up the Ryzen Threadripper chips in Game Mode in order to accurately test their gaming performance. This is in accordance with AMD’s recommendations, as the pseudo legacy mode allows the mega-core chips to allocate memory resources more efficiently for gaming and doesn’t tangle game engines up with more threads than they can handle.

Unfortunately, “for consistency” Principled Technologies had left Game Mode enabled when testing the standard Ryzen 7 2700X. This similarly cut the 2700X’s core-count in half, which then resulted in lower gaming performance almost across the board. The company has now issued an apology along with updated benchmark numbers using the default Creator Mode for all the AMD processors it has tested.

This new version of the Principled Technologies report can be viewed online right now and displays a shrunken performance lead for Intel’s new Core i9 9900K, though it can still hold it up as the fastest gaming processor around right now. That was, after all, the entire goal of the test, as Intel told me this week. It wanted for the 9900K to legally be called the “world’s best gaming processor” at the New York launch event, with benchmark data to back it up.

Intel Core i9 9900K performance

Though I’m not entirely sure that it’s necessarily a legal requirement to support such marketing bluster, especially given the fact that the term ‘best’ can be rather subjective…

“We have now added results from our testing of the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X in its default mode (i.e., Creator mode) as well,” says Bill Catchings, co-founder of Principled Technologies. “That mode overall yielded the best gaming performance on the 2700X. We apologize for not testing both modes in the initial report.”

Intel has also offered a fresh statement, happily repeating its 9900K performance boasts.

“Given the feedback from the tech community,” says the Intel response, “we are pleased that Principled Technologies ran additional tests. They’ve now published these results along with even more detail on the configurations used and the rationale. The results continue to show that the 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9900K is the world’s best gaming processor.

“We are thankful for Principled Technologies’ time and transparency throughout this process. We always appreciate feedback from the tech community and are looking forward to comprehensive third party reviews coming out on October 19.”

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X

Core i9 9900K vs. Ryzen 7 2700X fps delta

Benchmark Original fps delta Updated fps delta
Warhammer 2 24% 24%
CS:GO 50% 48%
Ashes of the Singularity 57% 18%
Forza 7 35% 14%
Assassin’s Creed Origins 42% 12%
Far Cry 5 31% 20%
WoW: Battle for Azeroth 34% 30%
Civilization VI (AI) 16% 10%
Fortnite 23% 16%
Rainbow Six: Siege 18% 11%
PUBG 12% 5%
Rise of the Tomb Raider 26% 17%

It’s not quite as comprehensive a win for Intel given the non-Game Mode results now published, as the gaming performance of the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, when paired with an Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti, has gone up pretty consistently. In many cases the performance delta between the Intel and AMD octa-core CPUs has dropped by more than a half.

But it’s still clear that the Intel octa-core has the gaming edge over its rival, though given that the 9900K is going to likely cost twice as much as the 2700X, you’d kind of hope it would. At the sort of high resolutions people spending out on both an eight-core CPU and a GTX 1080 Ti are going to be playing at, the frame rate delta is going to shrink even more.

Interestingly it’s not just the AMD results that have changed from the initial report to this latest updated report. It seems Principled Technologies has gone back and re-tested some of the Intel chips too, as quite a few of the benchmarks have been altered. In the case of Fortnite there’s a huge difference, with the performance of the i9 9900K going down by some 24%.

We don’t yet know why the Intel results have been changed, but we’ve reached out to Intel for a response.


Along with the actual results Principled Technologies has also provided more transparency on the actual testing methodology and platform setups of the different processors. Most importantly it has detailed exactly how the motherboards and memory has been set up, with one of the key concerns people had – the memory timings – being cleared up. On the Intel side it used the XMP configurations, and on the AMD it used the equivalent DOCP settings for provide optimal relative memory timings.

Of course these are still the results of a paid benchmarking session commissioned by Intel – and only the 1080p performance difference too – however it is in Principled Technologies’ interests to make the results as transparent and impartial as possible. It doesn’t want to burn any bridges with AMD, who it has also worked for in the past. Though whether it’s likely to find itself commissioned by the red team in the future is probably looking pretty unlikely right now.

We’ll have our own independent benchmark results when the review embargo lifts on October 19 next week.