The Core i5-9600K from Intel is more than one and a half years old but it still packs a solid gaming punch. This 6-core CPU without hyperthreading can still be used to play even the most demanding games and it looks like it’ll be enough to run any cross-gen title.
If you own the i5-9600K and looking to pair it up with a new graphics card, we’ve prepared lots of recommendations depending on what you play and at which resolution. We have the best GPUs for 1440p 60Hz performance, the best graphics cards for playing esports titles, the best cards for 1080p gaming, and more.
Before we begin, let’s just make one thing clear. This is an article with GPU recommendations for current owners of the 9600K. If you plan on getting this CPU and are looking for a GPU to pair it up with, don’t. The 9600K is a very bad buy at the moment.
You should get a 10600K or the Ryzen 7 3700X instead. They both offer better performance for the price and they both come with more cores and threads than this old-timer. And we have a very handy list of GPUs to get in case you have or plan on buying the 10600K. You’re welcome. Now, let’s see which graphics cards are the best for the Core i5-9600K.
1. EVGA RTX 2080 Super Black Gaming: Best overall graphics card
As you can see in this video, the 9600K offers a very similar performance to the 9700K and 9900K when paired with the RTX 2080Ti. But if you look at 1 percent lows and max framerate in CPU intensive titles (AC Odyssey, Shadow of the Tomb Raider) you’ll see they are noticeably lower when using the 9600K. And while max framerates tend to normalize at 1440p, the one percent lows are still below the other two CPUs.
This is why we wouldn’t recommend the RTX 2080Ti to be paired with the 9600K. Instead, get the 2080 Super. You’ll be able to use its full potential and save a lot of money. The EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Super Black Gaming can be used for zero compromises 1440p high refresh rate gaming as well as for 4K gaming with some (or more than some in certain games) compromises. And this card is powerful enough to run any future title at 1080p or 1440p, with max visual details.
2. Sapphire Pulse RX 5700 XT & MSI RTX 2070 Super Gaming X: Best 1440p 60fps gaming graphics card
1440p 60fps gaming can be done even with the GTX 1660 Super if you’re ready to turn off enough graphic options. But here, we’re talking about a 1440p 60fps AAA gaming experience with all visuals maxed out. For that kind of gaming experience, an RTX 2070 Super or the RX 5700 XT is recommended.
Both cards are more than enough for a 1440p 60fps gaming. You can run any AAA game at 60fps. In case you own a high refresh rate 1440p monitor, you’ll be able to play esports and fps games at a high refresh rate without any compromise. You’ll also be able to run AAA games at frames noticeably higher than 60, with all settings maxed out.
The RTX 2070 is the more powerful card of the two. It also supports ray-tracing effects. The RX 5700 XT, on the other hand, is almost as powerful but it costs noticeably less. It also doesn’t support RTX effects and doesn’t forget that AMD’s drivers are less stable than Nvidia’s.
If you want a 1440p 60fps experience without paying such as high price, you can get the RX 5600 XT. Lower some details and you’ll manage to achieve steady 60 frames per second in almost any title with esports games running like a charm at 100 frames or higher.
3. ASUS GTX 1660 Super OC: Best 1080p gaming graphics card
The GTX 1660 Super OC is the sweet spot for no-frills 1080p gaming. The card can run any AAA game at 60 frames with all settings cranked to the max without any issues. On top of all that, the card’s pretty silent and doesn’t create lots of heat, even during long gaming sessions. When it comes to esports titles, you can run them at high refresh rates at 1080p without issues.
Now, if you want something less expensive but still want to reach 60fps in AAA games, there are two picks. The first is the GTX 1650 Super and the second is the RX 580. The first card is quiet, cool, and widely available. The second is an old AMD card that uses lots of power and emits lots of heat. If you ask us, the GTX 1650 Super is a better deal right now. And if you need a card for 1080p high refresh gaming, check out the two recommendations below.
4. Sapphire Pulse RX 5700 XT: Best high refresh rate gaming graphics card At 1440p gaming
The 9600K can run any game at high refresh rates both 1080p and 1440p. For the best high refresh rate 1440p performance the RTX 2080 Super is the obvious choice but keeping in mind the price of the 9600K we would rather pick the RX 5700 XT. It has enough horsepower to run any multiplayer title and most FPS games at 100 frames and higher. Its performance with AAA titles is pretty solid. You can reach around 100 frames in most titles by lowering some graphical options.
The only alternative to the RX 5700 XT is the RTX 2070 Super. The card is a bit more powerful but also 20 percent more expensive. On the other hand, you get better drivers and RTX effects. But, you know, unless a game supports DLSS 2.0 turning on RTX effects means saying goodbye to high refresh rate performance.
5. Sapphire Pulse RX 5600 XT & EVGA RTX 2060 KO Gaming: Best high refresh rate gaming graphics card at 1080p gaming
If your main gaming interests lie in esports and multiplayer titles, with an occasional dip into AAA titles, you could get the GTX 1660 Super. For the money, you’ll get a card capable of running AAA games at 60 frames per second and esports titles at 100fps or higher.
6. Zotac Gaming RTX 2070 Super Mini: Best SFF builds graphics card
The Zotac RTX 2070 Super Mini is the best card for any SFF build. The card can fit into almost any Mini-ITX case, even some ultra-portable HTPC cases. And when it comes to performance, the card’s as powerful as the RTX 2070 Super reference card from Nvidia. That means perfect 1440p gaming performance with 60fps or more in AAA games and 100fps or higher in esports and multiplayer titles.
If your main (or the only) gaming interest is esports and multiplayer titles you don’t have to spend a lot for a quality graphics card. At 1080p even the GTX 1650 Super can be an excellent choice. It can run even the most demanding multiplayer titles, such as Battlefield 5 or Apex Legends at 60fps or higher with older titles such as Rainbow Six Siege running at 100fps or higher frames.
In other words, you can use the GTX 1650 Super for running esports and multiplayer titles at high refresh rates if you want. All it takes is to lower some visual settings. When it comes to AAA games, the GTX 1650 can run them at 60fps or a bit lower. Older AAA games will run flawlessly, at frames much higher than 60.
If you want something even cheaper for your multiplayer gaming sessions at 1080p check out older GPUs. Something like the RX 570 from AMD could be a great choice.
8. ASUS GTX 1660 Super OC: Best graphics card for playing eSports titles at 1440p
When it comes to 1440p esports gaming the best bang for the buck is the GTX 1660 Super OC. You should reach 60fps without issues in any esports title with most settings on max. AAA games will work decently. Don’t expect 60 frames per second in every title with max or high graphics. But if you’re ready to do some tweaking the 1660 Super can run AAA games at 60fps.
If you need something more affordable, get the GTX 1650 Super. While the card’s great for 1080p gaming, it can run esports and multiplayer titles at 1440p and 60 frames per second. You’ll need to adjust visuals in some cases but you should reach 60fps in every title without issues. AAA games will work, but forget playing at max or high settings. 1440p and 60fps in AAA games with the GTX 1650 Super means a mix between medium and low settings.