Although it launched all the way back in 2017 with the Coffee Lake line-up of CPUs, the i5-9600K is still relevant in 2022. With a 6C/6T configuration and a street price of around $200, it’s a tempting value-packed purchase for PC gamers and streamers.
Unlike most gaming CPUs, it does feature integrated graphics, which is a huge plus. However, you’ll be better off buying a dedicated GPU from Nvidia or AMD if you want to play games and live stream. In this article, I’ve made the buying decision easy for you by boiling it down to five of the best ones available.
i5-9600K Technical Specs
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of GPU options, let’s first brush up on the technical specs of the i5-9600K.
- Socket: LGA 1151
- Cores and Threads: 6C/6T
- Max. Memory Capacity: 128GB DDR4-2666
- Boost Clock: 4.6 GHz
- TDP Rating: 95W
- Cooler Included: No
Granted, it doesn’t come with a cooler in the box and requires a Z-series motherboard for overclocking, but the i5-9600K can still be a valuable addition to a gaming/streaming PC. If you want an in-depth breakdown of all the specs, check out this video by Proceu Tech. Now, let’s jump into the list…
Top 5 Best GPUs for Intel i5-9600K in 2022:
1. Sapphire Nitro+ AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT – Best Overall
- Memory: 12GB GDDR6
- Stream Processors: 2560
- Base Clock: Not Stated
- Boost Clock: 2.62 GHz
With 12GB of GDDR6 memory and 2560 stream processors, the RX 6700 XT is a pretty powerful GPU and can boldly take on any professional workload and handle 1440p or even 4K in most AAA titles.
Coming from Sapphire, you’d expect this unit to perform well, and it meets expectations in most aspects. Firstly, it comes with a factory overclock which improves the default boost clock of the card from 2.58 GHz to 2.62 GHz. Besides that, you also get a triple-fan setup, RGB lighting, and a backplate with a cool design.
Since you’ll most likely use this card for live streaming, AMD offers some extra features to help you in with that too, like AMD Radeon Anti-Lag and Radeon ReLive. Overall, the Sapphire Nitro+ RX 6700 XT is a good card to pair with the i5-9600K. If you want to upgrade your CPU down the line, it will also provide headroom for that and is fairly future-proof as well.
- Triple-fan configuration for low temps
- Vibrant external RGB lighting
- Features Radeon Boost technology
- Mediocre raytracing performance
2. PowerColor AMD Radeon RX 570 – Best on a Budget
- Memory: 4GB GDDR5
- Stream Processors: 2048
- Base Clock: Not Stated
- Boost Clock: 1.25 GHz
If you’ve already spent the majority of your budget on your CPU or other components, the RX 570 might be a good GPU to check out. For around $200, it’ll give you a decent bang for your buck.
One of the main questions most readers will have is how it performs in games. You can check out benchmarks here, but the short answer is that at 1080p, it’ll give you around 60-75 FPS in Medium or High settings in most AAA titles.
In terms of ports, you get three DP ports, one HDMI, and one DVI. At the end of the day, the RX 570 does feel like a GPU from 2017 (which it is) but its performance might still pleasantly surprise you.
- Includes PCI Express 3.0
- Dual fans
- Requires a minimum 450W capacity PSU
3. EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 SC Ultra – Best Value for Money
- Memory: 6GB GDDR5
- CUDA Cores: 1408
- Base Clock: 1.53 GHz
- Boost Clock: 1.83 GHz
If you’re willing to spend a bit more than the RX 570 and want better value for your money, the EVGA GTX 1660 SC Ultra is right up your alley. As noted in the Specs list, it has 6GB GDDR5, 1408 CUDA cores, and a boost clock of 1.83 GHz.
Don’t let these specs fool you. This card will handle almost any AAA titles at Max settings and most high-end workloads that you can throw at it. Although users have noted framerate drops at certain points in graphics-intensive games, it’s not enough to ruin the experience.
Granted, this card isn’t suitable for those planning to apply crazy overclocks or create an SLI setup, but it runs well and succeeds in most aspects. So, if it’s what you’re looking for, definitely put it on your list.
- Includes EVGA Precision x1 for tuning and monitoring performance
- Suitable for gaming, streaming, and other workloads
- Lightweight; doesn’t require support bracket
- Limited availability
4. MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3050 Aero ITX – Best for SFF Build
- Memory: 8GB GDDR6
- CUDA Cores: 2560
- Base Clock: 1.55 GHz
- Boost Clock: 1.78 GHz
Most gamers prefer their gaming rigs to get bigger and bulkier with each next-gen upgrade. They prefer their PCs to be the centerpiece of their setups: impressive, towering machines parked on their desks. However, if you prefer a compact and value-packed build, the MSI RTX 3050 Aero ITX is worth taking a look at.
Just launched earlier this year, the RTX 3050 provides decent value for money and a smooth 1080p-60FPS performance in most AAA titles. Overall, the MSI RTX 3050 Aero ITX is the right pick for anybody who’s looking for great performance in a small package.
- Extremely compact and space-efficient
- Capable of 8K resolution
- Ample output ports
- Limited to single fan
5. MSI GeForce RTX 2060 Super Ventus – Best Option from Nvidia
- Memory: 8GB GDDR6
- CUDA Cores: 2176
- Base Clock: 1.47 GHz
- Boost Clock: 1.66 GHz
Coming from the last generation of GPUs from Nvidia, the RTX 2060 Super still packs a punch in 2022. This unit from MSI, the Ventus GP OC, when paired with the i5-9600K can provide you a great gaming experience.
As you can see from the Specs list, it has 8GB GDDR6 memory, 2176 CUDA cores, and a boost clock of 1.66 GHz. In terms of display outputs, it has three DP V1. 4 ports and one HDMI 2.0 port. If you need more info on the temps or want to take a look at gaming benchmarks, check out this video by Bits Tribe.
To sum it up, the MSI GeForce RTX 2060 Super Ventus is a good GPU from Nvidia if you’re looking to create a solid gaming/streaming PC.
- Great build quality
- Low-noise operation
- Direct heat contact pipes for efficient cooling
- Lacks RGB lighting
Frequently Asked Questions
Is CPU Bottleneck an Issue with i5-9600K in Gaming?
Since the i5-9600K is an older processor, this is a query many users will raise when building a gaming/streaming PC with it. In a nutshell, a CPU bottleneck happens when your processor doesn’t let your PC perform at its best.
Let’s do an experiment. Take an RTX 2080 Ti and pair it with a Pentium G4560. The results won’t be pretty. Although the RTX 2080 Ti can deliver high FPS in most titles, the Pentium G4560 will have a hard time keeping up with real-time game actions, physics, and UI. And, voilà, you’ve got a CPU bottleneck. You can see the results here.
The most effective way to check for bottlenecks is by keeping an eye on GPU usage in tools like GPU-Z, MSI Afterburner, or HWiNFO. In the case of the i5-9600K, this generally won’t be an issue even with high-end cards, especially if you prefer to play in 1440p or 4K.
What is Radeon Boost in AMD GPUs?
In the review for the 6700XT, you probably noticed that I mentioned a feature called Radeon Boost. If you’re unaware, Radeon Boost is a handy resolution-altering tool that aims to increase GPU performance. It does this by lowering resolution and giving you a sweet FPS boost in gameplay moments when you’re unlikely to notice it. Keep in mind that only certain games support it, a few notable ones include Overwatch, PUBG, and Cyberpunk 2077. You can read more about it here.
A good CPU and GPU pairing is one of the most important things you need to get right when building a gaming/streaming PC. Whether you already own or are planning to buy an i5-9600K, I hope that I helped you move one step closer towards your ideal GPU with this article. Here’s a summary of all the products I covered.
- Sapphire Nitro+ AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT is Best Overall
- PowerColor AMD Radeon RX 570 is Best on a Budget
- EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 SC Ultra is Best Value for Money
- MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3050 Aero ITX is Best for SFF Build
- MSI GeForce RTX 2060 Super Ventus is Best Option from Nvidia
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