Should you buy a K or non-K Intel CPU? | Ask a PC expert

Should you buy a K or non-K Intel CPU? | Ask a PC expert


hey PC world fans Adam here with Gordon
and we get a lot of questions on our weekly podcast a full nerd you can send
in your questions to the full nerd at PC Worldcom and if we don’t answer them on
the show maybe we’ll answer them here in this
kind of little segment thingy one of the things I want to know for people who are
trying to buy Intel systems is is it worth it to pay the little extra premium
for that little K right next to the part number so my general advice is know
generally what you get with a K part 1 it’s unlocked
ok so that means you can overclock it yeah I can run at higher clock speeds
than it’s supposed to for people who are just getting into this that’s always a
plus right more performance the actual truth is very few people actually ever
overclock there are K parts I will say over the years Intel has said over and
over and over again we’re always surprised by the amount of people who
buy K parts because the K part has turned into the CPU that everyone once
has the best reputation it gets reviewed all the time those are the high
performance parts they can be overclocked that’s all the coolness will
you go to the store you want the exact same thing they’re talking about on the
forums on the YouTube yeah you buy the K part that machine never sees any
overclocks its entire lifetime so why pay the 40 to 50 bucks for it right so
generally I think you won’t miss it I think you can be fine without it the
other thing is if you buy a K part and you do intend to overclock you also have
to have a motherboard that supports overclocking true higher-end Intel
motherboard z series newer chipset supported a lot of the older ones don’t
support it lower end the lower one lower end ones are intentionally nerf to keep
you from overclocking probably fair fair to keep you from blowing the motherboard
up too but they also are locked so remember K part also means generally
price your motherboard in fact that’s probably what the salesperson is going
to talk to you into is like well you’re overclocking a this now you need this
big cooler that’s the other thing k parts don’t
come with coolers true so if you buy a non k part you’re gonna get the minimum
piece of flair Intel cooler it’ll run all day fine never you’ll never have a
problem with it now I say all that and I know that most people go well I do get
what do I get out of K parts well generally at the higher end anyway the
i7 i-9 well here’s no i9 non K well yours you
get higher clocks yeah so even if you never overclock you might get to maybe
300 higher clock speeds out of it sometimes on turbo they may also be you
know quote unquote better CPUs who knows but I will say most people cannot feel 2
to 300 megahertz hmm right you’d be pretty tough unless you play the game
benchmark to see the difference so I think again it’s fine to go with the non
K part interesting yeah and but again this all does come back to I say this
and then you will go to the store and you will talk yourself into the K part
because you go in years we’d rather have yeah maybe you want that option ap I
wanna you know put a custom water loop in there and overclock it so a lot of
people you know you’re sold on the performance nobody likes to
intentionally wall themselves wall themselves off from potential
performance upgrades yeah so maybe that 50 bucks is worth it in his up it’s more
than 50 because you got to buy heatsink 2 and other board might be cheaper you
might feel better yeah I mean that’s honestly what a lot of people who buy k
part are it’s just performance it’s just performance interesting cuz it looks
better okay well which which scenario would you rather do would you rather buy
the non k part save little money on the processor save a little money on the
motherboard and upgrade sooner or get that K part and then later down the road
overclock it to get yourself that little extra that little extra boost boy that’s
a tough one if you’re being very very pragmatic very very practical you’re
gonna go for save money now put it into other components get you more in the
longer run but your friend shows up they got a brand-new 99
okay you only have a 9900 he or she’s got two to three hundred more megahertz
than you that’s some people that’s really gonna burn them especially if
your friend is kind of gonna rub it in your face
Wow you know the K part I have the K part so yes if you want to avoid those
situations which is real that is a real situation that is not even made-up then
yes it’s worth it yeah and they are the K parts also are higher
performing parts if you’re gonna overclock them a little bit if you even
do the auto overclock by turning MCE on you can get a little more performance
out of it I were to argue for the average person you won’t see it but some
people who like to run the drag strip they want to they like to run the
quarter-mile they like to run those benchmarks then yes it is worth it hmm
okay well I want to hear from those and non K users out there please chime in in
the comments I know we got plenty of the K users out there so I’m excited to hear
from you tell us why you went to non K and maybe how much money you actually
ended up saving and if you have a question like I said you can email it
into the full nerd at PC world com if we don’t answer it on the show
maybe we’ll answer it in a little segment like this so thanks for taking
the time to answer the questions Gordon and we will see you later

86 thoughts to “Should you buy a K or non-K Intel CPU? | Ask a PC expert”

  1. i see ONLY 3 outcome:
    -get a K-part and OC over 5Ghz
    -skip the non-K and get a Ryzen 3000
    -get a non-K at full price and show the world how much you are dumb 😀

  2. I don't overclock shit unless there's like one game or app that I'm getting 57 instead of 60 FPS or something like that. Even the non-K chips use boost technology that is actually quite good. I'm running an overclockable Xeon at stock. Its turbo is good enough. Plus, the thing runs warm and overclocking would only make that worse. I also have an RX580 that I run stock. The factory OC is more than enough. I'll probably undervolt it, as it runs warm as well.

    If you find yourself NEEDING to overclock, just get the next tier up and save yourself some excess heat and wear and tear on your parts. That's my two cents.

  3. … intel is not relevant now! Maybe later, but not now! K or not!!! Stop the gaslighting, that the conversation is the one to have…

  4. Overclocking is not worth it based on my experience but K-parts have normally higher clock speed, so yes they are better than non-K parts

  5. I'm guilty of buying the K part and never overclocking (i7-7700K). For me it was the cachet. But honestly, for my use case, I should have saved the price difference.

  6. It comes down to if your going to overclock or not. I used to overclock my cpu,ram,gpu,and vram as high as I could . Just upgraded my two 7970's water cooled with a single rtx2070 . I haven't overclocked it yet. I didn't bother adding it to my loop. It boosts itself and I get all the performance I need and more. Also overclocking an rtx gpu seems alot different then what I'm used to. So I'm a little hesitant. In the future if it starts to let me down I will try to oc it just to get some more life out of it. Curious as to how long until I find something the 2070 cant handle.

  7. My I9900k runs 5.0 GHz all day long, very happy! My GPU is OC'd. too, I have issues. Can't wait to see the 3950s capabilities!

  8. I5 6500, Asus z170 e 2x4gb Ram, sapphire Rx 570 4gb and 40tb storage I'll be ok for a while. This me coming from 3rd gen and I can't tell the difference only in games if I run fraps I can tell, but I don't even turn on fraps anymore because I'm enjoying life.

  9. Buy the non K version. It's cheaper, runs cooler and therefore quieter, and costs less electric to run. The performance will be 99% the same in real benchmarks. But really don't buy Intel at this point, but Ryzen 3000 and buy the non X variant for the same reason.

  10. 2 years ago I was playing Mad Max with a Xeon 1245 v1 combined with a 1060 6 GB and was fine. Know I have a 8700k sometimes over clock to 5ghz with a 2080 SC and yes I can see the difference between new and old hardware but sometimes it feels like the little hiccups was software and not hardware performance.

  11. PCWorld needs to have a series on how to over clock. Maybe even how to up date the bios, overclocking the gpu and how to water cool.

  12. You dont need a K sku, My experiences is that pairing fast ram with the cpu is better than an OC. Even an 5000mhz oc (5.2ghz) 9900k will perform worse than a stock 9900k with 4400mhz, that is if you have a fast gpu. Z-boards are after all not that expensive but a K-cpu is not that much more expensive than a non k one.

  13. Got an i7-8700, running on a Z370 mobo with a Dark Rock 3 cooler. Saved about $60 by not getting the K part. Kicking myself every day for not getting the K part to the point of considering upgrading to a 9700K or even 9900K.

  14. That's a quite easy answer really..
    If you know about overclocking and want to tinker with your parts, then get a K (with the right mb and cooler), if you are afraid of overclocking or don't know how then get the non-K.
    I am still on my old and trusty [email protected],5ghz and it fast enough for what I NEED and run the games I want at 1080p fine with my rx570.
    All-core 3,3-3,5ghz vs 4,5ghz (or more) is a quite noticeable difference though..
    Bragging-rights and having the best to impress friends or people you don't know on forums or for best benchmark score is just childish and silly!
    Get what you need for what you do and don't compare to others, there is always something better out there that someone might have (not just concerning computer stuff)..
    Overclocking is becoming less of a thing lately, like with the new Ryzen.

  15. I have a Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H with an i5-3570K and I only began overclocking a couple weeks ago. It's now at 4.5Ghz stable on all 4 cores with a Hyper 212Evo. The difference is like going from a Ford Focus to a Lamborghini Aventador. I just upgraded the RAM from 8GB 1866Mhz to 16GB 2400Mhz and I'm satisfied with my computer and I'm no longer obsessed with looking for possible upgrades. I could wait another few years probably.

  16. When buying Intel I always go with a K CPU (or C for Broadwell). They might cost more but it worked out well for me since I always overclock them and in my case the unlocked CPUs held their value even 2-3 years later. Intel unlocked CPUs came with a cooler up to the 5000 series but I always upgraded the stock cooler so the lack of cooler nowadays doesn't really bother me.

  17. I suppose you could sorta file that under the it's better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it philosophy.

  18. When I purchased my Origin pc, I went with the 8700 non k part. I saved a good amount, and was able to put the savings toward new pc games. I was told that the processor is not as important as graphics cards, so I did not want to spend the extra for the minor improvement in game performance.

  19. Non K user as i play in 4k and dont care about overclocking cuz my bottleneck is my 1080ti and i saved about $300 NZD all up

  20. i dont see why people don't overclock. more people should. plenty of old intel xeons and k parts that can overclock to 4-5Ghz and are really affordable on ebay. ive got 8 cores at 4.6ghz quad channel mem x79 chipset. since prices are going down on AMD's previous gen, thats what id shoot for instead and youll run around the same or better than a 1680v2 overclocked.

    if your doing serious work, then always overclock. as long as the CPU has plenty of headroom or you can do an all core clock at boost speeds. reduce the time it takes to get your projects done.

  21. I bought a 9700 for $280 on ebay. Boosts all day at 4.4 on all cores. More than enough for the games I play. Paired with a 1080ti.

  22. Man I just wanted to build myself a gaming PC, having played on console for years and years, so B360mobo and i5-9400f and stock air cooler with a 1660ti and I am a gaming fool. Could care less about how fast my chip is running, as long as the game looks good and plays good then it's all good.

  23. I completely agree with Gordon, most people won't notice the difference in performance between the K and non-K part, but they will definitely notice the price difference.

  24. 1920×1080 @ 144 Hz: non-K 6C12T (CPU bottleneck doesn't matter as all mid-range/ high-end GPUs can push these frames)
    2560×1440 @ 144 Hz: overclocked K 6C12T (CPU bottleneck is a problem since most mid-range/ high-end GPUs alone cannot push these frames; both CPU + GPU need to be working hard)
    3440×1440 @ 100-144 Hz: non-K 6C12T CPU (CPU bottleneck doesn't matter as all GPUs will almost always be the bottleneck, including the 2080 Ti)
    3840×2160 @ 100-144 Hz: non-K 6C12T CPU (CPU bottleneck doesn't matter as all GPUs will almost always be the bottleneck, including the 2080 Ti)

    Minimum 6C12T these days as the frame times and frame time pacing of the i5s are really bad (more noticeable dips and less smoother performance). Also, modern consoles will be multi-threaded. So, things heading in this direction as Gamers Nexus have clearly pointed out.

    Also, upgrading from 2133-2400 MHz RAM to 2666-3200 MHz RAM gives like 15 fps XD

  25. This is why everybody buys NVIDIA too, because while all the tech reviewers and enthusiast know full well where the bargains are, they always have to throw that fastest 80Ti or Titan into every build they make and for every review they do for other components (you know, to 'eliminate bottlenecks') even when it is completely silly and unnecessary, but hey, they get them for free from the vendors for the reviews, so why not right? The problem is, they are unintentionally marketing for these particular companies/parts every time they do it, because if all you see/hear is how that super powerful NVIDIA card and Intel CPU are the best of the best and are necessary for 'eliminating bottlenecks', then that's all the viewers/readers will see and it will be in their minds when they go shopping for parts and systems.

  26. With that title NOT being specifically aimed for gamers but in general; why NO mention of integrated Intel graphics? Am I wrong it being only in the K ones??? There might be people getting a good GPU later on in the build or not at all because they don’t need it as much yet. If I’m right this should have been mentioned, no? PCWorld might be gamer oriented channel, what do I know? I plan to buy the GPU when I advance from Lightroom to Premiere.

  27. I always buy the K part. I want the option to overclock but to be honest I have never overclocked. I guess the only benefit is the slightly higher clock speed.

  28. i7 9700 (non-k) – low heating, no need for cooler because non-k comes with intel cooler, z370 mb can handle it.. Can save 150$ +

  29. I run a non-k i7 8700. I don't waste time overclocking. It was cheaper. And the best part? When all six cores are active it's the identical speed at 4.3 Ghz across all cores as the 8700k. So I get all the same performance for less cost. Winning.

  30. So for clarification, the only difference between the two is the K's are overclockable and have higher clock speeds and the non-K's aren't overclockable and have somewhat lower unnoticeable clock speeds.

    I was looking at purchasing the 9700k. I don't overclock and have no plans on doing so but looking at it price-wise (through the website CCL), the 9700k comes in at £30 cheaper (it is currently on sale) than the non-K version and even though the 9700F is around £50 cheaper (than the sale price), I feel like the 9700k is still the better option as it has integrated graphics (always nice to have a backup).

  31. Running a I7-9700 non k and a stupid nvidia RTX 2060. Waiting for the RTX 3000 series to come out before doing anything but my question is would I have any gain going with a K processor as long as my screen card is off the top self?

  32. Great vid I just bought a $2700 aud pc with 2080 and i7 9700 3 ghz base (4.7ghz boost) the next prebuilt pc was lot more expensive with a 9700k as needs better cooler and motherboard. The only thing I am curious about the 3 ghz base clock speed is this more than enough in general for a gaming pc? as it just boosts during games etc but I guess question is am I missing much or any noticable difference by having a base clock speed of 3 ghz instead of the 3.6 ghz and when it does boost is it pretty instant or is it a bit laggy/choppy while it's juicing up. Any info on this appreciated sorry I don't know much about computers.

  33. So I bought a liquid cooler and a processor non k intel, is it good if I use the cooler instead of the one that comes with the processor?

  34. Built a node 202
    With i9 9900 (non k)
    4.6Ghz on all cores
    Cooling Cryroig c7 graphite copper 125W

    Its cool and quet
    On sale to.

    This Cpu is really rare here in sweden tho

  35. I'm building my first PC in the New Year. Absolutely no interest in overclocking. I was planning on getting an i5 9500 but I can get an i5 9600K for the same price. I was getting an after market cooler anyway. Both have similar boost speeds (.2GHz difference). Is the K chip better value with a higher Base clock speed straight out of the box, or does the boost clock make that irrelevant? Or will the 65w vs 95w TDP make it costly in the long run? I'm getting an Aorus H370 gaming 3 wifi motherboard, great VRMs. I know the story of Z boards, overclocking etc.

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