Home TechTech Reviews The best bang for buck overclocking chip – Intel 9600K

The best bang for buck overclocking chip – Intel 9600K

by Jason Clarke

As much as gaming is often the end goal of having a super-powered PC with the latest and greatest hardware inside, for anyone with a little enthusiast streak in their blood, one of the most fun things you can do with your PC is tweak it. That can be adding additional fans, water cooling it, adding RGB lighting, or boosting performance with overclocking.

For those new to the idea, overclocking is the practice of forcing your PC hardware, typically your CPU, memory, or graphics card, to run at a faster rate than it does straight from the factory. It’s something we do here at Chillblast for any customer who wants it and it comes completely covered by our warranty.

But you need to have the right hardware for the job because not all components are created equally when it comes to overclocking. Some chips from Intel don’t support it at all and some are far better at it than others. Especially when it comes to getting the most value for money.

What works best?

Out of the current, ninth-generation of Intel CPUs, all the top-tier “K” processors can overclock well. But out of all of them, there’s one that offers the best bang for buck – especially when it comes to overclocking. The Intel Core i5-9600K.

We have a number of great systems sporting the 9600K alongside other powerful and high-potential hardware. There’s fantastic value to be had in the £1119 Fusion Hurricane PC. It’s designed with flight sims in mind, but if a PC can handle flight sims, there’s not much it can’t handle.

Image of the Chillblast Fusion Hurricane  Core Flight Sim PC

That system comes with the high-powered 9600K, 16GB of DDR4 memory, and an Nvidia GTX 1660 Super for some serious gaming power.

If you want something more capable than that, the Chillblast Fusion RTX 2070 Super gaming PC is an absolute killer, supplanting the 1660 Super for a super-powered Nvidia RTX 2070 Super. That’s one of the most powerful graphics cards in the world and when combined with the 9600K, it will handle any game you can throw at it, all the way up to 4K and it supports ray tracing.

It’s a little more expensive at £1,409, but you get what you pay for with such a system. It will last for years. Especially if you factor in some overclocking to not only boost the CPU for games of today but help keep it relevant for new games that are coming down the pipeline.

Image of the Chillblast Fusion RTX 2070 Super Custom Gaming PC

To 5GHz and beyond

Chillblast sells a number of high-end systems sporting more powerful CPUs out of the box, like Intel’s 9700K and its uber-high-end 9900K. But as much as we love those CPUs, we adore Intel’s Core i5-9600K. Its sheer versatility is incredible, especially when overclocked.

The big difference between a mid-range, Core i5 CPU like the 9600K and it’s more expensive cousins in the 9000-series, are cores and clock speed. There’s nothing you can do about cores, as those are baked into the hardware design itself. They’re also not strictly necessary for anything outside of productivity work or heavy multitasking, like streaming while gaming.

But clock speed can be changed with a deft hand and a 9600K can quickly be boosted well beyond its 4.6GHz single-core turbo clock. Indeed, there are many who have managed to push their 9600K chips to in excess of the magic 5GHz, some as high as 5.2GHz. That’s an impressive increase in performance and puts the 9600K on even footing with chips like the 9900K on single threaded tasks and not far off in terms of gaming performance too.

Keeping it cool

You’d want adequate cooling if you were opting for something like that, which is why all Chilblast systems come equipped with powerful (and crucially, quiet) coolers. We offer everything from our own-branded Centurion Direct Contact CPU cooler with copper heat pipes, to Noctua’s fantastic NH-U12S heatsink fan combination. We also offer powerful all-in-one water-cooled units for even quieter operation and greater overclocking headroom.

While a higher-powered cooler does come at a premium, Chillblast overclocking isn’t something you have to pay for the privilege for. If you want additional performance from your system we can offer you that right from the get go for precisely £0.00. While we can’t promise that every system will be quite as overclockable as every other — even on the same chips there can be some variation in overclocking ability — we pledge to offer anyone who wants it an up to 20 percent overclock on their CPU and it’s fully covered by our warranty.

Better yet, that can even act as the starting point for your own overclock if you want to take things further once you’ve received the system and enjoyed its benefits. A little extra overclocking can not only be a lot of fun to play with yourself, but it can help push back your next upgrade by a few months or give your system that boost it needs to play the latest game just how you want.

What do you need to overclock yourself?

Screenshot of the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility software for overclocking

Whether you’re a new or experienced overclocker, 2019 is a fantastic time to dip your toe into the practice because it’s easier than ever. In decades past, overclockers had to resort to literally drawing graphite lines onto their chips with a pencil and hoping that such an approximate modification didn’t lead to unforeseen issues.

Now it can be handled with a simple piece of software. Intel’s own Xtreme Tuning Utility is an excellent tool if you want to play around with overclocking your Intel chip.

We won’t go in-depth on overclocking advice here as that’s beyond the scope of this article and there are plenty more detailed videos and guides on how to do so out there. But Chillblast is always more than happy to get you started on your overclocking journey by setting you up with a solid, capable, and stable overclock right from our showroom.

Have fun, but don’t go crazy…

If you want to go further than that, we’d urge you to have fun with it, but be careful. It’s unlikely that you’ll damage your hardware (unless you increase the voltage by too much) but if you do, our warranty adjusts to protect only the rest of the system. If damaged via overclocking, your CPU would no longer be covered, even if the other components are.

If you want greater clarification or just a bit of advice, you can always give our dedicated support team a call and we’ll be more than happy to help you out.

Even if you’re careful, though, overclocking can lead to an increase in your system’s heat output, so if you do plan to overclock, you should customise your new system to be ready for it. We’d suggest a slightly more advanced cooling solution, whether that’s high-end air, or water cooling, to make sure your new 9600K-equipped PC stays cool and quiet, even when running at full tilt.

We also offer a number of different heat-paste options which can help make the most of your fancy cooler by ensuring any and all heat put out by your new CPU gets transferred to the chiller quickly. We’d recommend Arctic Silver 5, but if you want to go the whole hog, we also offer Prolimatech’s fantastic PK-3 nanoparticle thermal paste, which has some of the best thermal transfer properties we’ve ever seen.

Need more information? Give us a call

If any of what we’ve discussed here today has you interested in overclocking, the Intel 9600K, or any of our systems – 9600K-equipped or not – feel free to give us a call and we’ll be happy to give you any more information you might need. We can recommend parts, system suggestions, and even give you a few tips on overclocking if you need them.

We’re here to help as best we can and if your journey with a new PC includes a little overclocking, we’re just as excited as you are to see what your system can do!

More resources:

If you are on a tight budget, check out this article that takes a look at whether the AMD Ryzen 5 1600 CPU is the best gaming CPU for £200!

Or if you are planning a £1000 PC build, check out this article that examines whether an Intel or AMD CPU is better!

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