Core i9 11900K and Core i5 11600K: performance analysis

Flight Simulator 2020, Hitman 3, Total War Three Kingdoms.

Our benchmark results are presented a little differently to what you might be used to elsewhere on the web. On mobile, you'll get a basic overview, with metadata from the video capture of each GPU being translated into simple bar charts with average frame-rate and lowest one per cent measurements for easy comparisons.

On a desktop-class browser, you'll get the full-fat experience with embedded YouTube videos of each test scene and live performance metrics. Play the video, and you'll see exactly how each card handled the scene as it progresses; you can even choose exactly what GPUs at what resolutions you're interested in and it'll update in real time. Below the real-time stuff is a bar chart, which you can mouse over to see different measurements and click to switch between actual frame-rates and percentage differences. As always, all the data here is derived from video captured directly from each GPU, ensuring an accurate replay of real performance.

We'll start with three new additions to our CPU test suite, each designed to offer a stern test for even modern CPUs: Flight Simulator 2020, Hitman 3 and Total War Three Kingdoms.

Flight Simulator 2020

Flight Sim is up first, with a delightfully devilish flight path created by Alex Battaglia. The flight takes us from one London airport to another in a small plane, keeping close to the ground where the amount of data that needs to be streamed in and out is substantial. We're also flying at night, adding hundreds of pinpricks of light to the scene. The result in a test that is almost completely CPU-bottlenecked even on a high-end processor at 1440p, let alone 1080p.

The 11900K goes out to a strong lead here, outperforming the 10900K by a solid 24 per cent to record a largely playable 45fps result - well within the range of a G-Sync or FreeSync monitor to put right. The 11600K does well too, equally the 10900K at around 36fps. For Team AMD, the 5900X outperforms Intel's 10th-gen CPUs but falls behind the 11900K, with Intel's latest holding a 12 per cent lead over the 5900X. Things draw closer at 1440p, where the 11900K and 5900X are neck-and-neck, followed by the 5600X, 10900K and 11600K in that order.

Flight Simulator 2020: DX11, Ultra, TAA

  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X
  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X
  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X

Hitman 3

Hitman 3 comes next. We see the largest differences at 1080p, as expected, with the 'best' simulation quality separating the adults from the children. The 5900X takes the overall lead at 267fps, good for a seven per cent edge over the 11900K, and the 5600X is competitive in its class too with a 10 per cent lead over the 11600K. However, Intel's new 11th-gen processors are still a good improvement over what they had last year, with a healthy seven per cent margin for the 11900K over its predecessor.

Hitman 3: DX12, Low, Best Simulation Quality, TAA

  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X
  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X
  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X

Total War Three: Kingdoms

We're using the Battle benchmark in Total War: Three Kingdoms, as the campaign benchmark included in the game doesn't seem to run correctly on our test rig - it just begins a standard campaign mission. That means we expect to see smaller gen-on-gen improvements as we're in a less CPU-bound scenario, but we still get an eight per cent advantage for the 11900K compared to the 10900K. That's still enough for the 11900K to outperform the 5900X and 5600X by four per cent. Interestingly, the 11600K is marginally faster than the 10900K, a good result given the large price differential between Intel's current mid-range and former flagship parts.

Total War Three Kingdoms: DX11, Low

  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X
  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X
  • Core i9 11900K
  • Core i5 11600K
  • Core i9 10900K
  • Core i5 10600K
  • Ryzen 9 5900X
  • Ryzen 7 5800X
  • Ryzen 5 5600X

It's interesting stuff so far with some strong results for 11th-gen, so let's take a look at the next set of games - which include three popular competitive FPS titles, spanning from 2012 to 2020.

Intel Core i9 11900K and Core i5 11600K analysis

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About the author

Will Judd

Will Judd

Senior Staff Writer, Digital Foundry  |  wsjudd

A bizarre British-American hybrid, Will turns caffeine into technology articles through a little-known process called 'writing'. His favourite games are Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Fallout 2. Will also tweets the latest tech deals at @DealsFoundry.

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