The i5-9600K is Intel’s current mid-range gaming CPU offer. It is a solid 6-core/6-thread CPU that provides quite good gaming performance in every modern title. The CPU supports overclocking and it can reach about 5.2GHz with a high-end AIO cooling.
Overclocking adds about 10 percent in gaming performance, which isn’t so bad but bear in mind that not all chips can reach 5.2GHz. With a solid mid-range cooler, you should expect 4.9/5GHz which turns into about 6-8 percent of performance gain.
You need a Z390 board in order to overclock this CPU. Luckily, there are plenty of excellent boards out there that don’t cost too much. You can get a decent board that’s good enough to host even the Core i9 9900K or i7 9700K for about half the price you would pay for the CPU and a decent cooler.
Of course, high-end models that cost as much as the CPU+cooler combo or more are aplenty on the market. While we can recommend getting mid-range boards since they do offer some extra features, high-end choices are reasonable to get only if you plan on overclocking the CPU to its limits or upgrading to a more powerful processor later on.
Aside from budget, mid-range, and high-end ATX choices we also included one mATX and one Mini-ITX board, for those who want to build a compact gaming rig. Below you can check the best motherboards for the i5-9600K, in every price range.
Best Motherboards for i5-9600K – Our Picks
|Best Budget Motherboard for i5-9600K||Gigabyte Z390 UD|
|MSI Z390-A PRO|
|Best Mid-Range Motherboard for i5-9600K||ASUS Prime Z390-A|
|Gigabyte Z390 AORUS PRO|
|Best High-End Motherboard for i5-9600K||ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero|
|Gigabyte Z390 AORUS MASTER|
|Best Micro ATX Motherboard for i5-9600K||Gigabyte Z390 M Gaming|
|Best Mini ITX Motherboard for i5-9600K||ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/AC|
Best Budget Motherboard for i5-9600K
When it comes to budget motherboards for the i5-9600K, there are a lot of great choices. We picked two that feature a solid collection of features but also VRMs (voltage regulating module) good enough to host the i9-9900K: the Gigabyte Z390 UD and MSI Z390-A PRO. Just in case you plan on upgrading later.
No matter which of these two boards you pick, you won’t make a mistake. They both feature pretty good VRM that should be able to run the i9-9900K. Next, the MSI model supports DDR4 memory up to 4000MHz while the Gigabyte board can run memory up to 4266MHz. Design-wise, we like the Z390 UD more. All black design of the MSI board is nice, but black and grey coloring of the UD gives it more details.
Storage-wise, they’re the same. One M.2 slot in combination with six SATAIII connectors. The MSI Z390-A Pro does offer an additional M.2 slot that can host a Wi-Fi module, which could be a big plus for users who need wireless capability.
The main PCIe x16 slot on both boards works at maximum, x16 speed while the secondary works at x4. There are two secondary x16 PCIe slots on the Gigabyte model and one on the MSI board. The Z390 UD comes with 3 PCIe x1 slots while the MSI board comes with 4 PCIe x1 slots.
Realtek ALC892 Codec can be found on the MSI board and the Realtek ALC887 codec is powering the audio on the Gigabyte model. They are very similar in quality and both support 7.1 channel setups. Both boards have Gigabit LAN. Realtek on the Gigabyte and Intel on the MSI. Finally, the MSI Z390-A PRO comes with an HDMI, DVI-D, and DisplayPort on the back panel while the Gigabyte Z390 UD features only a single HDMI port.
|Memory||4 × DDR4 DIMM, max. 128 GB|
|Storage||1 × M.2, 6 × SATAIII|
|Multi GPU Support||AMD CrossFire|
|Expansion Slots||2 × PCIe 3.0 x16
4 × PCIe 3.0 x1
|Back Panel Ports||1 × PS/2
1 × DVI-D, 1 × VGA
1 × DisplayPort
1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
2 × USB 3.2 Gen 1
2 × USB 2.0
1 × LAN
6 × HD Audio Connectors
Best Mid-Range Motherboard for i5-9600K
|Memory||4× DDR4 DIMM, max. 64 GB|
|Storage||2× M.2, 6× SATAIII|
|Multi-GPU Support||Nvidia SLI, AMD CrossFire|
|Expansion Slots||3× PCIe 3.0 x16
3× PCIe 3.0 x1
|Back Panel Ports||1 × PS/2
1 × DisplayPort, 1 × HDMI
1 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
3 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
2 × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
2 × USB 2.0
1 × LAN
1 × Optical S/PDIF out
5 × Audio jack(s)
Again, these are very similar boards. Both can run the i9-9900K without issues. Design-wise, we like them both. Gigabyte has the signature orange and black combo that looks very nice while ASUS features slick white and gray design that’s also stunning.
ASUS board supports 4266MHz DDR4 memory while Aorus Pro can handle DDR4 up to 4133MHz. Both boards come with two M.2 slots and six SATAIII connectors. Both boards come with 3 PCIe x16 slots where one runs at x16, one at x8 (x8/x8 mode in Crossfire/SLI), and the third at x4 speed. There are also three PCIe x1 slots present on both boards.
Intel Gigabit LAN is present on both models. The audio is pretty similar. Realtek ALC S1220A codec powers the audio department on the ASUS board while the Gigabyte model features the Realtek ALC1220-VB codec. On the back panel, you can find both DisplayPort and HDMI on the ASUS board while the Aorus Pro features just one HDMI port.
Both boards come with support for various RGB effects and features and allow users to update BIOS directly from flash drives. The Aorus Pro also supports dual BIOS.
|Memory||4 x DIMM, DDR4, max. 128 GB|
|Storage||2 x M.2, 6 x SATA|
|Multi-GPU Support||2-Way SLI, 3-Way/2-Way CrossFire|
|Expansion Slots||3 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 3 x PCIe 3.0 x1|
|USB Ports||1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 5 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 8 x USB 2.0/1.1|
Best High-End Motherboard for i5-9600K
The best board for 9th gen Intel CPUs is the MSI Z390 MEG Godlike. The problem is that you can get two i5 9600K CPUs along with three solid coolers for the price of one Godlike. In other words, the board isn’t worth it for this CPU. Instead, we picked two superb boards that have all you need and sell for less than half the price of the MSI board.
The ROG Maximus XI Hero is a superb Z390 board. It can power the i9-9900K even on high OC clocks so running the 9600K won’t be a problem for it. The board looks very attractive. Black PCB with lots of dark heatsinks and a couple of RGB effects are minimalistic and very pleasant to the eye.
The board can run DDR4 memory at 4400MHz and it comes with two M.2 slots and six SATAIII ports. Graphics-wise you get three PCIe x16 ports. One works at x16, the second works at x8 mode (x8/x8 mode works in SLI and Crossfire configuration), and the third is an x4 port. There are also three PCIe x1 ports.
Intel Gigabit LAN is also present as well as a wireless module and a Bluetooth 5.0 module. ROG SupremeFX S1220 is responsible for the audio section. On the back panel, there’s one HDMI and one DisplayPort for multimonitor setup when using iGPU.
You get support for all kinds of RGB effects as well as other goodies such as installing BIOS from a flash drive, BIOS flashback, lots of diagnostic LEDs, and Clear CMOS and BIOS Flashback buttons on the back panel. Overall, this is an excellent board for the money with the only small downside being just two M.2 slots. A third one would be great.
|Memory||4 × DDR4 DIMM, max. 128 GB|
|Storage||3 × M.2, 6 × SATAIII|
|Multi GPU Support||Nvdia SLI, AMD CrossFire|
|Expansion Slots||3 × PCIe 3.0 x16
3 × PCIe 3.0 x1
|Back Panel Ports||1 × Power/Reset button
1 × Clear CMOS button
2 × SMA antenna connectors
1 × HDMI
1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
3 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
2 × USB 3.2 Gen 1
4 × USB 2.0/1.1
1 × LAN
1 × Optical S/PDIF Out
5 × Audio Connectors
The Gigabyte Z390 AORUS MASTER is in the same price bracket as the ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero. It features excellent VRM, powerful enough for serious i9 9900K overclock. It comes with three M.2 slots and six SATAIII connectors. If you need lots of M.2 slots, this is the board to buy.
DDR4 memory can work at 4400MHz and the board comes with three PCIe x16 ports. Out of those three one works at x16, one at x8 (x8/x8 mode is on when using SLI or Crossfire), and one at x4. There are also three PCIe x1 ports.
Intel chip is behind the Gigabit LAN and there are also a Wireless and a Bluetooth 5.0 modules. The board features the Realtek ALC1220-VB codec that runs the audio section along with the ESS SABRE 9118 DAC for hooking audiophile-grade headphones. The back panel hosts a single HDMI port so there’s no multimonitor support when running an iGPU setup.
The Aorus Master comes with Clear CMOS button on the back panel. The board supports dual BIOS, and it has Q-Flash support. If you need Thunderbolt 3 support, dual Gigabit LAN and are ready to live with two M.2 slots check out the GIGABYTE Z390 DESIGNARE.
Best Micro-ATX Board for i5-9600K
There aren’t many mATX Z390 boards. If you have money to burn, get the Asus ROG Maximus XI Gene. This is a superb board with lots of features but it also sports extremely high price. For most users, the Gigabyte Z390M Gaming should be more than enough.
The Gigabyte Z390 M Gaming is a quality board with VRM good enough to run the Core i9-9900K. Just make sure to run slower memory with that setup. Officially, the board supports DDR4 memory up to 4266MHz. It comes with two M.2 slots and 6 SATAIII connectors.
Graphics-wise you get one PCIe x16 slot running at x16 and one PCIe x16 slot running at x4. There are also 2 PCIe x1 slots and a third M.2 slot for Intel Wireless and Bluetooth CNVi module. You can run a multimonitor setup with iGPU since the board comes with an HDMI and DVI ports on the back panel.
The Realtek ALC892 codec is behind the audio department with an Intel chip powering the Gigabit LAN. Design-wise the board looks pretty good. Orange Aorus details are replaced with a couple of red lines and the rest of the board features the classic Gigabyte black and grey coloring. The board also features dual BIOS support as well as Q-Flash.
Best Mini-ITX Board for i5-9600K
When it comes to Mini-ITX boards, VRM is the most important piece of the puzzle. Quality VRM in a small package is needed in order to overclock K-series CPUs. And the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac has the best VRM out of all Z390 Mini-ITX boards. This is the best Mini-ITX board for the Core i5 9600K.
The 5 phases and 60A power stages on this board are enough for any 9th gen Intel CPU. Aside from the best VRM on the Mini-ITX market, the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac offers a slew of other features. Memory can run at 4500MHz and the board comes with two M.2 slots (always a plus on a Mini-ITX board) and four SATAIII connectors.
There’s only one PCIe x16 port running at x16 speed but that’s normal for a Mini-ITX board. Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec is powering the audio department. This is a pretty good audio setup that supports 7.1 channel setups.
The board also has one Thunderbolt 3 port on the back. The back also hosts one HDMI and one DisplayPort inputs for multimonitor support on iGPU systems. With the Thunderbolt 3, you can run three monitors with an integrated GPU, which is great for a Mini-ITX board.
Intel chip is powering Gigabit LAN and the board also comes with a Wi-FI and Bluetooth 5.0 modules. There’s also support for RGB LED strips, and installing BIOS from flash drives. The design of the board is solid. All-black coloring with lots of heatsinks. It looks nice but it’s nothing special.
Why Pick the i5-9600K?
If you use your PC exclusively for gaming and if you really like Intel as a brand, get the i5 9600K. It provides pretty solid performance in every modern game and should be usable even when the new consoles come out. It’s also good enough for 1080p and 1440p high refresh rate gaming.
But we can’t recommend this CPU when the Ryzen 5 3600 is on the market. The i5 comes without a cooler and has only a 7 percent advantage in gaming benchmarks compared to the Ryzen 5 3600.
In productivity tasks, the Ryzen 5 3600 blows the i5 9600K out of the water. Oh, and hyperthreading present on the Ryzen CPU will mean a lot when next-gen consoles arrive, and games get more and more optimized for a high number of cores and threads.
You can get the Ryzen 5 3600 along with a quality board capable of hosting even the Ryzen 9 3900X for just a couple of dozen bucks more than what you would pay for the Core i5 and a decent cooler. Yes, the Ryzen comes with a decent cooler and yes, you still have to pay for the board in case you go with the i5.
The i5 9600K is reserved for those who want an Intel CPU, who use their PC for gaming and gaming only, and for those who cannot see themselves owning an AMD CPU. Everyone else, get the Ryzen 5 3600.
i5-9600K Cooling Solutions
The i5-9600K isn’t as hot as the i7-9700K or the i9-9900K but it still demands a decent cooler since you don’t get any with the CPU. Our picks would be something like the Noctua NH-U12S or Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo. Both are excellent coolers at affordable price points.
If you want to OC, get tried and true solutions. The Noctua NH-D15, or be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4. Budget AIO solutions such as the EVGA CLC 280 or Fractal Design Celsius S24 are great for the Core i5-9600K. If you have the money, get the NZXT Kraken X62 or Corsair H150i pro. These are expensive AIO systems but they are quiet and provide great temperatures, even under heavy OC.