Demand for personal computers aimed at gamers has been on the rise, and chip giant Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) has been capitalizing on that growth. In fact, interim CEO Bob Swan said on Intel's most recent earnings conference call that "consumer interest in gaming and our outright performance leadership are driving strength in the enthusiast segment, producing another outstanding quarter in gaming."

"These trends reflect the market's demand for our highest performance products, resulting in strong overall product mix in [Intel's Client Computing Group]," Swan added.

Intel executive Anand Srivatsa holding a desktop processor.

Image source: Intel.

The trend that Swan mentioned is corroborated by the company's most recent quarterly results. Intel reported that while overall unit shipments of its desktop platforms declined 9% from the year-ago quarter, it saw average selling prices rise 13%, which allowed the company's desktop platform revenue to grow about 6.4% year over year to $2.95 billion. Desktop platform revenue made up about 36.6% of the company's client computing group platform revenue.

Since Intel management was keen to highlight the strength of its gaming processor sales on the company's most recent earnings call, investors should certainly keep an eye on developments in that space. To that end, let's take a look at the key details of Intel's upcoming ninth-generation Core processors targeted at the gaming desktop market (a significant part of the overall gaming computer market) that recently leaked out.

More cores for gamers

Early in 2017, Intel released a processor family for gaming desktop computers called Kaby Lake. These were essentially refined versions of the company's Skylake processors that launched in the second half of 2015. Then, in the fall of 2017, Intel followed the Kaby Lake parts up with a processor family called Coffee Lake. These were sold under the company's eighth-generation Core brand and improved upon their predecessors through a combination of additional processor cores and higher frequencies.

It looks like with the new ninth-generation Core processors, Intel is bringing out processors with more cores, but the transition from eighth-generation to ninth-generation parts is less straightforward than the transition from seventh-generation to eighth-generation Core parts was. In the table below I've included the key specs of Intel's current enthusiast-oriented eighth-generation Core lineup:

Processor Model Number Base Clock Speed Maximum Single Core Turbo Frequency All Core Turbo Frequency  Cores/Threads Last-Level Cache Memory Size
i7-8700K 3.7 GHz 4.7 GHz 4.3 GHz  6/12 12 MB
i5-8600K 3.6 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.1 GHz  6/6 9 MB

Data sources: Intel; WikiChip for all-core turbo data.

Here's what Intel has planned for its ninth-generation Core enthusiast desktop processors:

Processor Model Number Base Clock Speed Maximum Single Core Turbo Frequency All Core Turbo Frequency  Cores/Threads Last-Level Cache Memory Size
i9-9900K 3.6 GHz 5.0 GHz 4.7 GHz 8/16 16 MB
i7-9700K 3.6 GHz 4.9 GHz 4.6 GHz 8/8 12 MB
i5-9600K 3.7 GHz 4.6 GHz 4.3 GHz 6/6 9 MB

Data source: Coolaler via ComputerBase.

Let's analyze this. The direct successor to the current-generation i5-8600K, known as the i5-9600K, has the same basic hardware (e.g., core/thread count, cache size) as its predecessor but is rated at higher frequencies, boosting performance. This differs from what Intel did in the move from the seventh-generation Core to eighth-generation Core parts which saw the Core i5 product enjoy 50% increase in core/thread count from 4/4 to 6/6, respectively, as illustrated below.

Processor Model Number Base Clock Speed Maximum Single Core Turbo Frequency All Core Turbo Frequency  Cores/Threads Last-Level Cache Memory Size
i5-8600K 3.6 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.1 GHz 6/6 9 MB
i5-7600K 3.8 GHz 4.2 GHz 4.0 GHz 4/4 6 MB

Data sources: Intel ARK for all data except all-core turbo, which comes from WikiChip.

On the i7 front, Intel is moving from a six-core chip with a technology called HyperThreading enabled on each core (a technology that Intel says "uses processor resources more efficiently, enabling multiple threads to run on each core") to an eight-core chip without HyperThreading enabled.

So, the hardware thread count in the new i7 is actually down on the prior-generation model, but Intel seems to be betting that more physical cores coupled with higher frequencies across those cores (all core turbo of the 8700K is 4.3 GHz; it's 4.6 GHz on the i7-9700K) will allow the i7-9700K to deliver performance commensurate with what consumers expect from a next-generation product.

Processor Model Number Base Clock Speed Maximum Single Core Turbo Frequency All Core Turbo Frequency  Cores/Threads Last-Level Cache Memory Size
i7-9700K 3.6 GHz 4.9 GHz 4.6 GHz 8/8 12 MB
i7-8700K 3.7 GHz 4.7 GHz 4.3 GHz 6/12 12 MB

Data sources: Intel ARK, WikiChip, and Coolaler via ComputerBase.

Arguably the most interesting product in the lineup, though, is the Core i9-9900K, which has no direct predecessor in the eighth-generation Core lineup (since that lineup topped out with a Core i7 part). This product has eight cores, each with HyperThreading enabled, and it runs at higher frequencies across the board than the i7-9700K does.

It's clear based on the branding, as well as the positioning of the product in other leaked Intel documents, that the 9900K will be priced higher than the i7-8700K is today. Intel also appears to have segmented its new product line in such a way that there are multiple obvious reasons for prospective buyers to pick the Core i9 over the Core i7 (e.g. HyperThreading technology, more cache memory, and higher frequencies).

Per website VideoCardz, these processors will arrive in October.

Ashraf Eassa has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.