Intel's $699 Core i9-14900KS turbos to 6.2GHz – assuming you can keep it cool

If you can live with a measely 6GHz the standard i9 is a $110 cheaper

If Intel's 6GHz Core i9-14900K was too pedestrian for your tastes, the x86 giant now has a special-edition processor up for grabs that it says will do 6.2GHz right out of the box.

Announced Thursday, the $699 i9-14900KS is essentially a better binned version of the bog standard i9 that we looked at last October. The KS SKU features the same 8 performance plus 16 efficiency CPU core layout, base clocks, cache configuration, memory support, and so on.

Like Intel's previous special-edition parts, all the extra $110 really gets you is a 200MHz higher boost clock on the chip's P-cores and a 100MHz bump on the E-cores, and that's only if you can keep it cool. While Intel was keen to highlight the microprocessor's base power of 150W, under load you can expect this chip to pull 253W, and if it's anything like its predecessor, potentially more than that.

Because of this, hitting the 14900KS's 6.2GHz turbo frequency may be tricky without some beefy cooling. According to Intel, the max boost clock is only possible during a phase called Thermal Velocity Boost, or TVB.

This opportunistic boost algorithm allows the chip to maintain higher clock speeds based on the amount of thermal headroom and power available. So, as long as you can keep the silicon cool and have a decent enough power supply, it'll keep turbo'ing up to its maximum rated speed. If you can't, the processor will start stepping down the clocks to keep it from overheating.

Unlike last year's 13900KS, Intel isn't making overclocking claims this time around. Launched in early 2023, that chip was supposedly capable of hitting 8GHz, albeit only under some rather exotic conditions. But considering just how similar Intel's 14th-gen desktop parts are to its 13th-gen ones, we imagine they'd perform pretty similarly when doused in liquid nitrogen.

In terms of compatibility, the 10nm (sorry, Intel 7) Raptor Lake 14900KS will slot into any Z790 or Z690 motherboard going back to late 2021 without issue. The same goes for memory with the microprocessor supporting both DDR5 and older DDR4, though you may end up bottle-necking your expensive new chip if you opt for the latter.

At $699 the 14900KS may not be cheap, but it's actually price competitive with AMD's 16-core flagship, the Ryzen 9 7950X-3D. That chip only manages a max boost clock of 5.7GHz, though the inclusion of a 64MB SRAM tile nestled atop one of the chip's core complex dies gives it massive L3 cache advantage compared to Intel's current lineup. Whether or not 128MB of L3 beats out 6.2GHz clock speeds is likely going to depend on your workload or game, though Intel has previously alleged an advantage in several titles.

The 14900KS is available today either as a standalone chip or in systems built by various manufacturers. ®

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