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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  • Tchamber - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    "14nm again?"
    I was thinking the same thing. I wonder if it's Intel that labels it 14++ or the media. They should have labeled it 14+++++ if it's the 5th iteration.
    Reply
  • Fataliity - Saturday, May 2, 2020 - link

    :Each plus is a refinement to the 14nm node. Not every 14nm generation from Intel had an improvement to 14nm (They only started this around when Ryzen came into focus and 10nm failed). That's why there are less ++'s than generations of 14nm. Reply
  • Deicidium369 - Saturday, May 2, 2020 - link

    or used the TSMC method like 16nm, 16nm+ = 14nm, 16nm++ = 12nm

    If you think the latest Intel 14nm is still 14nm you are a bit dense... probably closer to 12 or 11nm
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Monday, May 4, 2020 - link

    The latest 14nm variants are *less dense* than the originals in order to reach higher clocks. They're objectively superior in performance to the old versions of the node, but your comparison is asinine from anything other than a cheerleading perspective. Reply
  • Haawser - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    Expensive new motherboard + 14nm nuclear reactor ? Meh, no thanks. The advantages over Coffee lake or Ryzen 3000 are minimal at best, and simply not worth the heat, noise, power and cost. Reply
  • Deicidium369 - Saturday, May 2, 2020 - link

    I can see nothing in Comet Lake to abandon core i9 9900K - zero reason to move to CML Reply
  • 137ben - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    I think the article overlooks one key area in which these new Intel processors outdo current Ryzen offerings: more cores with integrated graphics. There are applications that are heavy on CPU/memory usage but don't get much benefit from GPU. For those use cases, having integrated graphics to run the operating system's UI is a cost-saver.

    The current top-of-the-line AMD APUs come with 4 cores/8 threads (AFAIK?). The newly announced i5-1050 0 comes with 6C/12T and for more money you can get an 10C/20T i9-10900 without needing to buy an extra graphics card.

    Of course, if you are doing any graphics-heavy tasks like AAA gaming, then it doesn't matter because you'll have to buy a discrete GPU anyways. But for the niche of CPU-bounded computing paired with integrated graphics, Intel appears to be back on top, at least until AMD starts rolling out Zen 2 APUs.
    Reply
  • willis936 - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    You can get a cheap dGPU with comparable performance to an iGPU for the cost of a CPU cooler that could keep one of these puppies from throttling.

    What matters is price and performance. They're redlining their engine to keep up with performance (consumer die lapping???) and are having to charge an almost sane price for the first time in a decade. It won't save them if they can't keep up with the process node though.
    Reply
  • Deicidium369 - Saturday, May 2, 2020 - link

    And OEMs don't want to add yet another product to the BoM - and OEM customers don't want another component to support and deal with - most businesses are perfectly fine with the iGPUs in Intel - no additional component to support. Reply
  • Spunjji - Monday, May 4, 2020 - link

    Which is worse - BoM for a passively-cooled dGPU from a company that actually provides reliable drivers, or BoM for the up-rated CPU cooler, additional system fans and beefier PSU required to support Intel's latest at anything like its rated speeds?

    Of course OEMs will probably make the decision you're suggesting they'll make, because they're incentivized not to switch vendors. They'll more than likely just supply the CPUs in systems that are utterly incapable of reaching their rated boost speeds for longer than a few milliseconds, just like they've been doing in notebooks ever since Kaby Lake R came out.
    Reply

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