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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  • WaltC - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    Ladies & Gentlemen, step right up and take a gander at Intel's brand new iteration of yesterday's warmed over pea soup! Re-warmed with new herbs and spices to make it more palatable! Pitiful. You know, since the prospective pea-soup buyers have to ditch the old motherboard to get to the new pea soup--it simply makes no sense to do anything but go all AMD instead! Talk about non-competitive and underwhelming--whew! Reply
  • Spunjji - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    Yeah, this is the bit that gets me most. Intel fans will justify their purchase into a dead architecture that somehow requires a new motherboard with "I replace the board anyway", not ever seeming to notice how that means they could have just as easily moved to a more cost-effective and future proof platform with AMD. Reply
  • A5 - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    AM4 doesn't have much runway left at this point (probably the same lifespan as LGA1200). Let's not pretend any different.

    AM5 will probably be a better buy if you're one of the like 2% of people who actually replace a CPU instead of doing a system rebuild though.
    Reply
  • wilsonkf - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    If you buy AM4 now, you can upgrade to 16+ core Ryzen 4 or 5 two to three years later, and the system could last till 2027.

    LGA1200 will not support the next CPU arch. Maybe Intel could push Rocket Lake-S to 5.5Ghz+ to edge out Zen2+, but the heat ... It is like AM3+. Yea you could upgrade to FX9590...
    Reply
  • alufan - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    aww cmon lets not talk out of our rear to make it look like they are making a decent offer AM4 has been able to take all the Ryzen chips so far and will take the next chip as well, show me where Intel has ever done that and offered the new features and performance with a new chip including this room heater, this is 2014/5 tech stuff with a new motherboard take your blinkers off nothing has changed apart from AMD forcing intels hand Reply
  • WaltC - Sunday, May 3, 2020 - link

    Zen 3 will likely sit on the AM4 bus--enabling users with the ability to upgrade their CPU to Zen 3, should the upgrade in their opinion be warranted. With Intel in this case, what's notable, but not really in a positive way, is that these CPUs are barely a step up from Intel's last gen--more like a sideways step--so who wants to buy into a new mobo just to run yesterday's CPUs? It's not the question of replacing the mobo so much as it is having nothing much to put into the new mobo after you buy it, imo. Reply
  • Spunjji - Monday, May 4, 2020 - link

    It's how many different things about A5's comment that were just plain daft. They didn't say much, and yet squeezed in so much disinformation... Reply
  • Spunjji - Monday, May 4, 2020 - link

    Who's "pretending any different"? There's at least one more CPU line to come on AM4, which is one more than you get on 90% of Intel platforms.

    In point of fact, Intel hasn't offered a platform with even remotely similar longevity to AM4 since the 440BX, and even then a lot of its useful life was via unsupported mods and certainly wasn't intentional.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Monday, May 4, 2020 - link

    Citing stats that are the result of a decision as proof of the worth of the decision is always a dodgy proposition too... I think many more people would upgrade their CPU *if they could*. But they don't expect to, because they can't, so they don't.

    Regardless, this is a site for enthusiasts, after all, not 90% of the market. Dumb argument is dumb.
    Reply
  • BenSkywalker - Saturday, May 2, 2020 - link

    AMD needs quite a bit more work on their platform to be as smooth as Intel. One downside to all the Ryzen hype is non apologists buying the platform.

    Boot times are comically slow without diving into the UEFI, even with a good NVME drive default boot was *significantly* slower than an ancient Pentium G with SSD and under no circumstances can I get it to boot faster then a very old 4570k system.

    Can't read RAM properly, no matter the setting can't get the RAM to run its rated and supported speed by default. 3200 running at 2133 using every setting except manual which resultsin a 10%-15% performance penalty.... Do we need to bring dip switches back for AMD? Reading RAM and setting it properly too much to ask from a high end chipset in 2020?
    Reply

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