9700k or 9900k with overclocking for Photoshop use?

Nov 4, 2018
I'm about to upgrade my desktop which has served me for well over 5 years (3770k), and am planning a system with the heaviest usage in Adobe Photoshop (usually less than 10 layers) for processing, merging and blending high-resolution photographs. No gaming, so I'm having more emphasis on the CPU.

I'm willing to pay more for better performance, but I understand some performance gains are very specific and may not apply to me at all. Happy to overclock with investment in cooling systems but not going into custom cooling.

My original plan
CPU: 9900k
MB: Asrock Z390 Taichi.
RAM: 2x16GB DDR4 Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
Cooling system: Not decided yet
Chasis: Not decided yet, depending on the cooling system I settle on I guess.
Boot drive: M.2 NVMe (maybe later, current SSDs still working well)
SATA devices: At least 2 HDD, 2 SSD
PSU: Already have EVGA G3 850W
GPU: Not decided, is it very important for my use?

I've read that there were issues containing the heat of the new CPUs when overclocking them, especially on the 9900k. Most of my work will depend on CPU performance, so is 9900k still the one to go for?

Thanks in advance for any inputs and suggestions!


With such high clock speeds now, Intel K-series CPUs don't necessarily need overclocking. But you still need adequate cooling given the high speeds.

Either CPU would work GREAT for Photoshop. You really can't go wrong with either unless your budget can't fit them. But obviously the i9 has more potential.

I'd go with an air cooler from Noctua (NH-U14S/D15/D15S, etc.) or a liquid AiO 280mm or 360mm for cooling especially if you want to overclock; but I really don't think it's necessary for what you are doing.

If you are certain your Adobe programs and usage cannot utilize a GPU, then I guess you don't need one.

Reading here, these features of Photoshop CAN use a GPU. https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/photoshop-cc-gpu-card-faq.html

I'd get at least a GTX 1050 Ti or GTX 1060 6GB if you think you may benefit from a GPU. AMD GPUs are also supported, so an RX 570 or 580 would also be an option.

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