No, they are not wrong, it depends on the usage.
Let me give it a try to explain. I will compare the i7-7700K against i7-9700K
These processors share the same processor technology of 14nm. The differences are in the base clock speed (4.2 vs 3.6 !) and turbo clock speed (4.5 against 4.9) and the number of physical cores (4 vs 8) available. If HT is enabled in your BIOS each core is divided by 2 to be able to serve 2 threads (2 vCPU’s, in total 8 vs 16 vCPU).
Now these days (but I’m not 100% sure about this) most game are compiled to use at most 4 cores (or 8 vCPU’s), depends on their game development platform they use to build the game.
So I can conclude that for gaming the highest turbo clock speed available without using HT should deliver the best possible gaming performance. Now you need to check if HT is enabled or not.
In general developers who work with a lot of virtual machines and/or use certain rendering or video editing tools will like to enable HT, while gamers and normal desktop users are better off disabling it.
So if it is enabled on both machines, I would at least try to disable and run your tests again.