Intel Core i5 10600K and Core i9 10900K Review
Published: 20th May 2020 | Source: Intel | Price: £275 - £529 |
We've often mentioned how quickly the CPU designs advance, and the old Moore's Law that anyone with even a modicum of interest in hardware will know is still in full effect. For a long time, the main difference between Core i5 and Core i7 processors was hyperthreading. Typically, the Core i5 has been the model that gamers preferred for cost reasons, while those with more rounded computer usage tended towards the Core i7 and the benefits that hyperthreading brought to the table. Equally, a 5 GHz CPU was the stuff of LN2 overclocking until surprisingly recently. The 10th generation of Intel CPUs brings hyperthreading to the six (!) cores of the Core i5 while the Core i9-10900K makes a mockery of the 5 GHz barrier by comfortably smashing past it.
The results bear out this increase in performance too, particularly when you compare the pair to the last generation of Intel CPUs. The i5-1600K is a spectacular all-rounder, but the amount of times that the Core i9-10900K got close to the significantly more expensive and core heavy Core i9-10980XE makes us wonder what those extra eight cores were doing all this time. Sure at the time it was impressive, but either it makes the new Core i9 even more impressive, or will just piss off those who mortgaged their house to obtain the LGA2066 CPU, depending upon your outlook. However, if you just think about the concept of a processor that has 10 cores, 20 threads, and can comfortably break 5 GHz without doing anything, and get up around 5.5 GHz if you've got the cooling to handle it; and the time to overclock manually. Some people will just end up shaking your head in disbelief that such a thing exists on the platform Intel consider their "mass-market" one, rather than the enthusiast/workstation-grade LGA2066 socket.
Hi Nellie. Come in, take a seat. Now you're in the room we suppose we better talk about you. The Ryzen 3600X has the same core count as the Intel i5-10600K, although not quite the clock speed, but in our graphs, both processors were mostly found right beside each other. The Ryzen, of course, supports PCI Express 4.0, and can be installed in older AM4 motherboards as an upgrade. This is in huge contrast to Intel, who has demanded entirely new motherboards. The Core i9-10900K, on the other hand, fits so neatly in between the eight-core Ryzen 3800X and 12 core Ryzen 3900X that it's almost as if it was designed to do so. Yes, there are a couple of tests where there just isn't any replacement for the higher clock speeds that Intel's processor can provide, but if you still adhere to the old adage that AMD needs 50% more cores to obtain the same results as an equivalent Intel, you're wrong. If such a thing as a 10 core Ryzen 3850X existed, then the Intel would match it in most of our tests. We know that PCI Express 4.0 only really brings benefits to blazing-fast M.2 drives rather than GPUs. Still, it would be nice to see Intel utilising this element on their Z490s, particularly given the price tag of most of the desirable motherboards.
Intel processors have always been popular amongst the gaming community thanks to the higher available clock speeds than are usually found on their AMD counterparts, and that remains the case on these new Comet Lake and is clear in our Gaming graph. So if you're the type of user who does a lot of gaming, and some of the tasks that surround that particular hobby - streaming, uploading to Youtube, creating mods etc - then the Intel pairing is still a supremely attractive proposition. The six-core, hyperthreaded Core i5-10600K is like a Core i7-8700K on steroids. In contrast, the Intel i9-10900K is a serious processor with 10 cores and 20 threads that can rock along at 5.4 GHz all day long, making mincemeat of any task you throw at it and staking a claim as an i9-10980XE killer in all but the most calculation heavy tests.
We have to close with this though.... We just dont understand why they havnt used the old socket. Chipset update sure but not ANOTHER socket which is only going to alienate enthusiasts....