Ryzen 9 vs Intel Core i9 – Which CPU is Better For You?

The battle between the Ryzen 9 and the Core i9 is a battle between AMD’s best consumer model CPU and Intel’s best consumer model CPU.

These CPUs both have fantastic performance and can do just about everything. For this reason, it can be very hard to determine which is better and that’s why I did a bunch of research to create this article.

Comparing the AMD Ryzen 9 to the Intel Core i9
Comparing the Intel i9 to the Ryzen 9

Comparing Ryzen 9 and Intel Core i9

SpecificationsIntel Core i9AMD Ryzen 9
Cores8-1012 – 16
Threads16-2024 – 32
Base Clock Speed3.6 – 3.7 GHz3.5 – 3.9 GHz
Boost Clock Speed5.0 – 5.3 GHz4.2 – 4.9 GHz
L3 Cache16 MB – 20 MB32 – 64 MB
Integrated GraphicsIntel UHD GraphicsNone for Most Models
Power Consumption (TDP)95W – 125W105W – 140W
Price Range (USD)$400 – $700$500 – $800

Above is a chart that shows the general comparison between Intel Core i9 and AMD Ryzen 9 CPU models.

As you can see in some of the sections I provided you with a range because the specs vary within each series depending on the specific CPU model. It’s recommended to compare the specific Core i9 and Ryzen 9 models you’re considering for the most accurate comparison.

We will be going through:

  • Clock Speed
  • Core Count
  • Thread Count
  • Cache

Let’s get into it!

Clock Speed

When it comes to your processor’s performance its clock speed is one of the most important factors.

When you look at a CPU’s clock speed there are actually two different clock speeds you want to look at.

  • The Base Clock’s Speed
  • The Boost Clock Speed

The base clock speed is how fast your CPU will be right out of the box, and the boost clock speed is how fast your CPU can potentially be when you overclock it.

Both clock speeds are measured in GHz.

CPU ModelBase Clock SpeedBoost Clock Speed
Ryzen 9
Ryzen 9 3900X3.8 GHz4.6 GHz
Ryzen 9 3900XT3.8 GHz4.7 GHz
Ryzen 9 3950X3.5 GHz4.7 GHz
Ryzen 9 5900X3.7 GHz4.8 GHz
Ryzen 9 5950X3.4 GHz4.9 GHz
Intel Core i9
Core i9-9900K3.6 GHz5.0 GHz
Core i9-9900KS4.0 GHz5.0 GHz
Core i9-10900K3.7 GHz5.3 GHz
Core i9-10980XE3.0 GHz4.6 GHz
Core i9-11900K3.5 GHz5.3 GHz

When comparing the clock speeds of the Ryzen 9 processors and Core i9 processors you can see that the majority of the Ryzen 9 models have a faster base clock speed than the Core i9 CPU, with the exception of the Core i9-9900KS.

This changes once we dive into the CPU overclocking potential, and the faster processors become the Intel Core i9s.

What does this mean?

If you are looking to buy a reliable CPU and not looking to overclock or customize your computer then a Ryzen 9 CPU will be your best option because it has the highest base clock speeds.

Most people buying a processor of this caliber will most likely want to overclock their CPU. For this reason, Core i9 will benefit you the most. However, if you decide to purchase a Core i9 CPU you need to make sure the CPU is unlocked.

If you do not purchase an unlocked CPU the overclocking ability of the processor will be disabled. This also gives the Ryzen 9 an advantage because there is no Ryzen CPU that is not unlocked. Every Ryzen CPU has the ability to be overclocked, just some models have more potential than others.

You should also read: What is AMD Ryzen

Now that you know the speeds of these processors it is also very important to understand why the speed and GHz of your CPU are important, and for that reason, you should read what GHz is and how it affects performance.


Core count is important for many things other than gaming performance. If you are looking for a high-end workstation or server computer, then in general you want to look for a CPU with a high-core count over a higher clock speed.

A high core count CPU is something that AMD is known for, as their consumer CPUs tend to have a higher core count than their competitors.

On top of that they are able to make CPUs not only with a high core count but also a fast clock speed which makes them a great overall CPU.

Depending on which Ryzen 9 model you choose you can expect to have between 12 and 16 cores. For a mainstream gaming computer, this is more than enough cores to benefit when gaming. This is also around the ideal amount of cores you need to run a mainstream workstation pc.

With the Intel Core i9 on the other hand, there is a pretty big change between CPU to CPU.

The Core i9 will have a minimum of 8 cores, which is much less than a Ryzen 9 CPU, but on the other end of the spectrum with the Core i9-10980XE, you will have up to 18 cores. 10 more cores than the lower i9 model, and 2 more cores than the best Ryzen 9 model.

Now, for the majority of people having an 18-core CPU is overkill, but can be a tremendous benefit for specific computing tasks that most people don’t need.


Threads are virtual cores that help your CPU core split the tasks it’s performing into two. Modern CPUs tend to have 2 threads for every core they have.

That means if you have a Ryzen 9 with 16 cores, then it will also have 32 threads. Threads and cores work hand in hand.


Cache is very important to performance especially when gaming. Cache stores temporary data and events that might happen. That’s why having more cache in your CPU is very important.

The more cache you have the more chances that your CPU will have the outcome planned out. If you have a low amount of cache and your CPU isn’t able to store this data, then it will slow down the overall performance of your computer to catch up to whatever application it is working on.

When comparing the Ryzen 9 to the Core i9 there is a big jump from the amount of cache these two can store.

Intel Core i9 models can store anywhere from 16-20 MB of L3 cache whereas Ryzen 9 models can store around 32-64 MB of L3 cache (Which is a pretty big jump.)

of course, there is also L1 and L2 cache to consider, but it is the same pattern in those as well.

If you want to learn more about this I have an article on Why CPU Cache is Important.

Overall Performance

From this comparison, you can see that there are both pros and cons to buying a Ryzen 9 vs buying a Core i9 processor.

When we look at overall performance for gaming the Core i9 models take the top, but if you are looking to use your computer for more than just gaming Ryzen 9 steals the seat as a better all-around processor.

The reason for this is that Intel focuses on having high clock speeds and very fast core speeds, which will benefit you a lot when gaming, but they ignore all the other important factors that create a good CPU.

With the Ryzen 9, yes you do have a slower single clock speed, but your CPU most of the time will have a higher core count, and more cache, making it great for a workstation CPU. On top of that the speeds that these Ryzen 9 models can reach will still allow you to get great performance when gaming.

If you are still not sure what CPU is right for you, then you should check out “Choosing the Right Processor Guide.”

Lucas Coulson

I first got into building my own computer when I was around 12 or 13. The first computer I had ever built didn't work. So I kept researching to figure what I did wrong. I really enjoyed researching, learning, and building computers, so I decided to turn it into an online business, and here I am.

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