Intel‘s 10900K vs 11900K CPUs: An Enthusiast‘s Comparison for Gaming and Creative Workstations

As an experienced builder and avid gamer, you likely know that at the high-end, Intel‘s Core i9 CPUs deliver unmatched single-threaded and gaming performance. However, with the arrival of Intel‘s 11th generation Rocket Lake architecture headlined by the new i9-11900K, a key question emerges – how much faster is this new flagship, and should you consider upgrading?

In this guide, we’ll dive into all the specs, benchmarks, and real-world differences between the 10900K and 11900K to detail whether the new 11900K is worth it for gaming and professional usage. Let‘s start with a quick rundown of how the two compare on paper.

CPU Specifications Face-off: 10900K vs 11900K

While core counts have actually dropped with the 11900K down to 8 cores from 10, architectural improvements make up for this change. Let‘s see how everything from memory support to cache capacity stacks up:

ComponentCore i9-10900KCore i9-11900K
Base Clock3.7 GHz3.5 GHz
Peak Boost5.3 GHz5.3 GHz
L3 Cache20 MB16 MB
Memory SupportDDR4-2933DDR4-3200
PCIe VersionPCIe 3.0PCIe 4.0
iGPUUHD Graphics 630UHD Graphics 750
Launch MSRP$488$539

Despite losing cores, peak clocks remain just as fast while memory and cache still stay at respectable levels – truly a testament to 14nm process maturity. However, the PCIe 4.0 support baked into Rocket Lake is a game changer, as we’ll explore shortly.

Benchmark Performance: 11900K Edges Ahead in Esports Titles

Thanks to architecture advances like an enhanced reorder buffer, Intel’s Cypress Cove cores prove quicker in many games, plus stronger in single threaded workloads. Benchmarks from reliable publications like AnandTech reveal up to 11% faster 1080p gaming performance:

1080p Gaming AVG FPS Benchmarks

Gears Tactics296329
Horizon Zero Dawn156166
F1 2020215237

These architecture improvements around feeding CPU cores faster ultimately provide snappier response in esports/competitive titles. Even notoriously thread-starved games like CS:GO show marked gains. Compute performance does remain stronger in the 10900K for multi-threaded work though, as the Cinebench charts later will demonstrate.

Overclocking Headroom and Thermals

Thanks to Intel‘s Thermal Velocity Boost, the 11900K further stretches its gaming performance muscles by opportunistically hitting 5.3GHz if cooled adequately. Even manually overclocking to all-core frequencies of 5.1+ GHz proves more reliable on the 11900K – great news for enthusiasts.

CPUPeak OC FrequencyOC VoltageOC Cooler Requirement
10900K~5.1 GHzup to 1.32VHigh end (Noctua NH-D15)
11900K~5.3 GHzup to 1.42VPremium (360mm AIO)

The 11900K does need some serious cooling once overclocked though – an AIO cooler becomes essential. Delidding also seems popular to further tame thermals when pushing past the 5.1GHz threshold.

PCIe 4.0 Support: Primed for Blazing Fast SSDs

As you likely know already, PCI Express 4.0 support means much higher interface bandwidth available between components. For gaming and professional workstations, this enables new high-speed connectivity such as:

  • PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs: Blazing sequential speeds beyond 7,000 MB/s now possible reducing game/app load times
  • Higher bandwidth GPU connectivity: Gamestreaming boxes like the Razer Core X gain more bandwidth for max graphics throughput. Up to x16 PCIe 4.0 lanes connect compared to just x8 PCIe 3.0 previously.

So while gaming itself may still be largely graphics card bound, the associated storage and connectivity breakthroughs unlocked by PCIe 4.0 give the 11900K a significant future-proofing advantage.

Workstation Performance: 10900K Wins for Production Tasks

While the 11900K proves faster for gaming, the extra cores in the 10900K better handle intensive creative and computational workloads. multicore benchmarks clearly demonstrate this advantage:

Cinebench R23 Multi-Core


28% Faster

Similarly, video production benchmarks in DaVinci Resolve show this core count advantage carrying through. Complex timelines with many effects see sizable export time savings on the 10900K.

So for your animation, video editing, 3D rendering, programming and modeling needs, the 10900K certainly hasn’t aged at all. The 11900K definitely still pulls its weight here too, but the extra 2000+ multi-core score you have at your disposal with the 10900K very directly translates to faster production.

So Which CPU Should You Get?

For those building a new top-tier gaming PC, the Core i9-11900K makes great sense. Its architecture unlocks faster 1080p esports gaming via stronger single threaded throughput. PCIe 4.0 support also makes it uniquely future-proof. Plan for strong cooling though, especially if overclocking.

However, if upgrading from say a 9th gen system primarily for creative work and gaming is your goal, the Core i9-10900K still shines. Its extra cores drive such huge advantages in video editing/effects/encoding that it makes this CPU still near the top of benchmarks. Pair it with a good Z490 motherboard for a great combo.

Either way, with Intel‘s existing LGA1200 socket and 14nm process sustaining blazing clock speeds, you have an abundance of strong options to build an enthusiast-grade powerhouse. Let us know if you have any other questions!

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