It’s easy to look at a single metric like core count and just write off Intel’s 11th gen Core i9-11900K as a pointless backstep, but, you would be missing out on a lot of good things. CPU core aside, the entire platform is a welcome jump forward. The most obvious is PCIe 4.0 support which is something consumers have only enjoyed on the red platform the last couple of years. While honestly, it doesn’t make much difference for things like GPUs, it very much does make a noticeable difference with PCIe-based storage with PCIe 4.0 drives currently able to hit upwards of 7GB/s in sequential transfers, and yes, that is the big ‘B’ for Bytes.
On top of this, Intel doubles the bandwidth between the CPU and the chipset from DMI 3.0 x4 to x8 and adds an additional 4 lanes of CPU-derived 4.0 lanes for a dedicated storage device of your choosing. Connectivity in general jumps radically with baked-in support for things like Thunderbolt 4 (and by Proxy, USB4 support), USB 3.2×2 20Gbps, and the latest 2.5Gbps wired networking and WiFi6e support for crazy speeds without wires. Most of this is going to depend on what your motherboard manufacturer decided to support on that given board model, but just know it’s there if they want it.
We’ll cut right to the chase, If you are already running an Intel Core i9-10900K, and are happy with your connectivity, it’s probably not worth your time to upgrade. If you are on an older platform, Intel makes a very compelling case to upgrade. While productivity-oriented users may favor a higher core count, most users will enjoy a very powerful system that is adept at almost everything.
Great job Intel!