Today we get the full range of its Intel’s 10th Generation processors for desktops. These chips, which fall under the banner of ‘Comet Lake’, will now go up to 10 cores and offer turbo speeds up to 5.3 GHz. Comet Lake is the fifth iteration of Intel’s very profitable Skylake microarchitecture, built on Intel’s 14++nm process, at a time when the competition is on 7nm with sixteen cores. The crux, according to Intel, is that it will offer the best gaming experience in this market.

Users wanting the 10-core 5.3 GHz will need to purchase the new top Core i9-10900K processor, which has a unit price of $488, and keep it under 70 ºC to enable Intel’s new Thermal Velocity Boost. Not only that, despite the 125 W TDP listed on the box, Intel states that the turbo power recommendation is 250 W – the motherboard manufacturers we’ve spoken to have prepared for 320-350 W from their own testing, in order to maintain that top turbo for as long as possible.

The range of 32 (!) new processors from Intel will vary from two core Celeron parts at 35 W all the way up to ten-core Core i9 hardware rated for 125 W, with per-unit pricing from $42 to $488. The standard rated TDP is 65 W, with the overclocked models at 125 W, the low-power T models at 35 W, and Pentium/Celeron at 58 W. All of the Core i3, i5, i7, and i9 processors will have HyperThreading, making the product stack a lot easier to understand. Certain models will also have F variants without integrated graphics, which will have a slightly lower per-unit cost.

Intel 10th Gen Comet Lake
Core i9 and Core i7
AnandTech Cores Base
Freq
TB2
1C
TB2
nT
TB3
1C
TVB
1C
TVB
nT
TDP IGP Price
Core i9
i9-10900K 10C/20T 3.7 5.1 4.8 5.2 5.3 4.9 125 630 $488
i9-10900KF 10C/20T 3.7 5.1 4.8 5.2 5.3 4.9 125 - $472
i9-10900 10C/20T 2.8 5.0 4.5 5.1 5.2 4.6 65 630 $439
i9-10900F 10C/20T 2.8 5.0 4.5 5.1 5.2 4.6 65 - $422
i9-10900T 10C/20T 1.9 4.5 3.7 4.6 - - 35 630 $439
Core i7
i7-10700K 8C/16T 3.8 5.0 4.7 5.1 - - 125 630 $374
i7-10700KF 8C/16T 3.8 5.0 4.7 5.1 - - 125 - $349
i7-10700 8C/16T 2.9 4.7 4.6 4.8 - - 65 630 $323
i7-10700F 8C/16T 2.9 4.7 4.6 4.8 - - 65 - $298
i7-10700T 8C/16T 2.0 4.4 3.7 4.5 - - 35 630 $325

Users looking for 8 cores and up will be in the $300 bracket. All of these processors support dual channel DDR4-2933, while others lower in the stack only support DDR4-2666 officially. Intel has increased the amount of features on the chips with respect to how turbo performs. As a rough guide here:

  • Base Frequency: The guaranteed frequency when not at thermal limits
  • Turbo: A frequency noted when below turbo power limits and turbo power time
  • All-Core Turbo: The frequency the processor should run when all cores are loaded during the specified turbo time and limits
  • Turbo Boost 2.0: The frequency every core can reach when run with a full load in isolation during turbo time
  • Turbo Boost Max 3.0: The frequency a favored core can reach when run with a full load in isolation during turbo time
  • Thermal Velocity Boost: The frequency a favored core can reach when run with a full load in isolation and is below the specified temperature (70ºC for CML-S) during turbo time
  • Intel TVB All-Core: The frequency the processor should run when all cores are loaded during the specified turbo time and limits and is below the specified temperature (70ºC for CML-S) during turbo time

In this case, Intel’s Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB) limits for the i9-10900K are 5.3 GHz single core, 4.9 GHz all-core, and after the turbo budget is used, the CPU will operate somewhere above the base clock of 3.7 GHz. If the processor is above 70ºC, then TVB is disabled, and users will get 5.2 GHz on two favored cores (or 5.1 GHz for other cores), leading to 4.8 GHz all-core, until the turbo budget is used and then back to somewhere above the base clock of 3.7 GHz.

With all these qualifiers, it gets very complicated to understand exactly what frequency you might get from a processor. In order to get every last MHz out of the silicon, these additional qualifiers mean that users will have to pay more attention to the thermal demands of the system, airflow, but also the motherboard.

As explained in many of our other articles, motherboard manufacturers have the option to disregard Intel’s turbo limit recommendations. With an appropriately built motherboard, a manufacturer might enforce an all-core 5.3 GHz scenario, regardless of the temperature, for an unlimited time – if the user can cool it sufficiently. This is why we mentioned the 320-350 W turbo power early on in the article, because some of the motherboard manufacturers we’ve talked to have said they will try to do this. Choosing a motherboard just got more complex if a user wants the best out of their new Comet Lake processor.

Beyond that, it’s worth pointing out the low power processors, such as the Core i9-10900T. This processor has a TDP of 35 W, and a base frequency of 1.9 GHz, but can turbo all cores up to 3.7 GHz. Here’s a reminder that the power consumed while in turbo mode can go above the TDP, into the turbo power state, which can be 250 W to 350 W. I’ve asked Intel for a sample of the processor, as this is going to be a key question for the chips that have the strikingly low TDP.

It’s worth noting that only the Core i9 parts have Intel Thermal Velocity Boost. The Core i7 hardware and below only have Turbo Max 3.0 ‘favored core’ arrangements. We’ve clarified with Intel that the favored core drivers have been a part of Windows 10 since 1609, and have been mainlined into the Linux kernel since January 2017.

With the F processors, the ones without integrated graphics, the price saving seems to be lower for Core i9 than for any other of Intel’s segments. The cost difference per-unit between the 10900K and 10900KF is only $16, whereas the 10700 and 10700F is $25.

Intel 10th Gen Comet Lake
Core i5 and Core i3
AnandTech Cores Base
Freq
TB2
1C
TB2
nT
TB3
1C
TVB
1C
TVB
nT
TDP IGP Price
Core i5
i5-10600K 6/12 4.1 4.8 4.5 - - - 125 630 $262
i5-10600KF 6/12 4.1 4.8 4.5 - - - 125 - $237
i5-10600 6/12 3.3 4.8 4.4 - - - 65 630 $213
i5-10600T 6/12 2.4 4.0 3.7 - - - 35 630 $213
i5-10500 6/12 3.1 4.5 4.2 - - - 65 630 $192
i5-10500T 6/12 2.3 3.8 3.5 - - - 35 630 $192
i5-10400 6/12 2.9 4.3 4.0 - - - 65 630 $182
i5-10400F 6/12 2.9 4.3 4.0 - - - 65 - $157
i5-10400T 6/12 2.0 3.6 3.2 - - - 35 630 $182
Core i3
i3-10320 4/8 3.8 4.6 4.4 - - - 65 630 $154
i3-10300 4/8 3.7 4.4 4.2 - - - 65 630 $143
i3-10300T 4/8 3.0 3.9 3.6 - - - 35 630 $143
i3-10100 4/8 3.6 4.3 4.1 - - - 65 630 $122
i3-10100T 4/8 3.0 3.8 3.5 - - - 35 630 $122

None of the Core i5 or Core i3 processors have the favored core support, with only Turbo Boost 2.0. We’re also reduced down to DDR4-2666, as Intel applies more segmentation to its product lines. Most of these processors have integrated graphics, perhaps suggesting that the markets for these processors might not always have access to a discrete graphics card.

Intel’s cheapest quad-core, the i3-10100, will be on sale for $122. This is still a way away from AMD’s cheapest quadcore, the 3200G, which retails for $99. With AMD also announcing the Ryzen 3 3100 at $99 with Zen 2 cores inside, up to 3.9 GHz, it’s going to be an interesting battle to see if Intel can justify the $23+ cost differential here.

Intel 10th Gen Comet Lake
Pentium Gold and Celeron
AnandTech Cores Base
Freq
TB2
1C
TB2
nT
TB3
1C
TVB
1C
TVB
nT
TDP IGP Price
Pentium Gold
G6600 2/4 4.2 - - - - - 58 630 $86
G6500 2/4 4.1 - - - - - 58 630 $75
G6500T 2/4 3.5 - - - - - 35 630 $75
G6400 2/4 4.0 - - - - - 58 610 $64
G6400T 2/4 3.4 - - - - - 35 610 $64
Celeron
G5920 2/2 3.5 - - - - - 58 610 $52
G5900 2/2 3.4 - - - - - 58 610 $42
G5900T 2/2 3.2 - - - - - 35 610 $42

Previously the names of Intel’s most powerful hardware, the Pentium and Celeron lines bring up the rear. The Pentiums and Celerons are all dual core parts, with the Celerons lacking hyperthreading. It will be interesting to see the retail pricing structure of these, as recently Intel’s low-end hardware has been quite expensive, with the company spending more of its manufacturing time fulfilling demand for higher core count hardware. This has left the traditional Pentium/Celeron market on low supply, driving up costs.

Box Designs

Intel has again chanced the box designs for this generation. Previously the Core i9-9900K/KS came in a hexagonal presentation box – this time around we get a window into the processor.

There will be minor variations for the unlocked versions, and the F processors will have ‘Discrete Graphics Required’ on the front of the box as well.

Socket, Silicon, Security, Overclocking, Motherboards
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  • Lord of the Bored - Monday, May 4, 2020 - link

    Pentium 4. How's that for broken?

    I could name more, but why? You don't care.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Monday, May 4, 2020 - link

    "UNBROKEN" - except for FDIV, the defective 1.13Ghz Coppermine PIII, the first Wilamette P4 that required costly RDRAM to provide lower performance at a higher price than the Tualatin PIII, the gloriously overpriced Emergency Editions, the Pentium D "dual-core" CPUs that communicated over an ageing FSB for lower performance at higher power than the Athlon X2, the busted Cougar Point chipset Sandy Bridge shipped with, and the total failure to deliver Cannon Lake on time and in quality with even remotely functional hardware (which they're now pretending never happened). Oh and those little Spectre and Meltdown doodads, but those were NBD right? I know I'm missing a few in there too.

    AMD have had extremely competitive products for *three years* now. You're an idiot.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Monday, May 4, 2020 - link

    *in quantity, not in quality; although technically the quality of the Cannon Lake hardware was shockingly poor too. If your partners have to bring in a bottom-run AMD GPU just to make a functional system out of your latest *dual-core no-turbo* product so that you can pretend to shareholders that you are "definitely shipping" to "select partners", you're just about hitting rock bottom. Reply
  • alufan - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    explain athlon 64 then please ? or the fact AMD was the first to 1ghz or the fact all modern intel CPUs have massive issues with security because they were designed almost 10 years ago (hence 10th gen name) so yes inlet are consistently bad or poor value AMD just went the wrong way with a chip called Bulldozer but the theory behind it was good as is seen from the modern Ryzen multithreads and the Intel copies released since Reply
  • Korguz - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    alufan, he cant and wont, and wont post any proof to his BS personal option anti amd claims. when you provide him with any facts and proof, he runs away with his tail between his legs, and either doesnt reply, or resorts to insults, condescending remarks or name calling, the guy cant get his own facts straight, let alone anything else Reply
  • Santoval - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    "But from now on Intel has no other moves, regarding 14nm and Skylake architecture."

    The key word above is "and". Rocket Lake-S will *still* be fabbed at 14nm+++++ but it will (finally) sport a brand new μarch. So it's one out of the two above (an "or"). It is yet unknown how well it will clock though, since this first kind of "backporting" Intel will try. Sunny/Willow Cove are a bit wider designs, so they might not be able to break past 5 GHz. In any case though the power efficiency of Rocket Lake-S is going to be atrocious. Intel cannot beat the laws of physics, and this is why the estimated all-turbo TDPs of their high end parts are more than double than those of AMD.

    Those who want both efficiency and performance (i.e. the sane people), and still want to stick with Intel, might find Tiger Lake more appropriate for them. I hear Intel will release Tiger Lake parts up to the -H series and up to 8 cores (earlier I heard Tiger Lake-H would top at 6 cores, but later on the max cores turned to 8). Tiger Lake will also sport the much faster Xe iGPUs, and the -H series should have decent clocks for both the cores and the iGPU (or not).

    Those who are not satisfied with anything less than -S series for desktop, and still want to stick with Intel, will need to wait for Alder Lake-S. That ... might take a while. I don't think it will be released before 2H 2021, more likely Q4 2021. Therefore it will be targeted against ... Zen 4. You know, the one that will be fabbed at TSMC's 5nm, will have twice the L2 cache (1 MB), even more L3 cache, DDR5, possibly PCIe 5.0 *and* AVX-512 (Intel's last bastion).
    Reply
  • Santoval - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    p.s. Alder Lake will sport Golden Cove cores and will probably be the last 10nm CPU series of Intel. Its successor is (tentatively) called Meteor Lake and will sport the long awaited Ocean Cove cores Jim Keller and his team have long been working on. This should also be Intel's first 7nm μarch and CPU series, and should also be the first real threat against AMD in terms of both efficiency and performance - unless Intel screw up their 7nm node again. I predict a Q1 2023 (Q4 2022 if all the gods bless Intel with good luck) release, so it should be targeted against Zen 5. Reply
  • Deicidium369 - Saturday, May 2, 2020 - link

    I am expecting Rocket Lake S to be 4-4.5GHz - at least initially.

    Tiger Lake will not be a socketed desktop part - NUC11 will be Tiger Lake

    There will be ZERO desktop parts with PCIe5. None.
    Reply
  • Kevin G - Sunday, May 3, 2020 - link

    Actually PCIe 5.0 will be wanted for one thing one desktops: single lane controllers for 10 Gbit NICs.

    In a few years it does look like NVMe controllers will begin to saturate a PCIe 4.0 M.2 connector so the move to PCI3 5.0 will happen at the right time.

    It’ll happen, just a matter of when.
    Reply
  • Deicidium369 - Monday, May 4, 2020 - link

    No. PCIe3 and 4 are already capable... Yeah maybe 2027 PCIe5 on desktops. Reply

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