Overall and Final Verdict
While I would be lying if I said that Intel still building off of Skylake and the 14nm is disappointed. But the i9-10900K is impressive in just how far Intel has been able to push things. They now have 10 cores and 20 threads in the same sized CPU as the original Core CPUs. Even more impressive to me is that they have edged out more clock speed than the i9-9900K while also adding two more cores. You can get out of the box up to 4.8 GHz across all of the cores on turbo and 5.1 GHz single-core clock speeds. Using Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0 you can see 5.2 and up to 5.3Ghz with Intel’s Thermal Velocity boost on single-core and 4.9 across all cores. The high clock speeds translate to the i9-10900K being the fastest CPU tested in any of the single-core tests as well as most games. Even when compared to the 9900K which was fast, the 10900K stands out. I was especially impressed with how fast it was in Blender where the high clock speeds and 10 cores helped it really stand out. The 3900X from AMD does still have the lead in most situations which can take advantage of the two additional cores that the 3900X has to offer, however.
The i5-10600K is similar with it also having clock speeds which surprising for an i5. You have a base clock of up to 4.1 GHz and single-core turbo clocks up to 4.8 GHz and up to 4.5 all core turbo boost. The 10600K also has the same 6 core and 12 thread combination that the flagship Intel CPUs has just two years ago with the 8700K and the 8086K. With that, the 10600K ends up performing extremely well in gaming with just the highest-end CPUs outperforming it, and being a K processor it is unlocked and overclocking is a possibility. I do wish that Intel would open up overclocking across more of the product line like AMD has, however.
The i9-10900K, while extremely fast does pull an extreme amount of power when put under load. Combining that with the small size of intel’s mainstream CPUs, cooling was an issue right away. Our traditional thermal testing which is done using a 120mm cooler wasn’t enough at all and I had to switch to a Corsair H100i 240mm AIO and even with that, it ran hot. While overclocking is still possible, delidding and more extreme cooling solutions are going to have to be used to push the 10900K. I also have not including a cooler as a con, because the 3900X which I consider to be a close competitor to the 10900K does come with one. I don’t think Intel has any cooler options available that are close to being able to handle the 10900K as well.
The i5-10600K didn’t have any huge downsides like the 10900K did. It does also not come with a cooler which I wish Intel had something comparable to AMDs wraith coolers that they could include. But its main downside is when you get to pricing. On the surface, running with the 8700K and 8086K for half the price is amazing. It is only once you look at what AMD has going on that things get a little more complicated. The i5-10600K has an MSRP of $262 and AMDs 3600X can be found for $205 right now (and had an MSRP of $250 at launch). The 3600X was faster in a lot of our tests with the exception of gaming, comes with a cooler, and is almost $60 less right now. That said, Intel does have a non-K i5-10600 that comes in at $213 which is a great deal if you don’t want to overclock. The i9-10900K has an MSRP of $488 which isn’t bad compared to the regular price of the 3900X but the 3900X is down to $409 right now.
In the end, with the pricing in mind the i9-10900K ends up in a similar position as Intel was with the i9-9900K which it is still the fastest gaming CPU you can go with. The additional cores also open up more on performance on multi-core applications as well. But it’s value stays with the gaming and raw clock speed. It isn’t the best value overall, AMD still has that, but it is impressive that Intel has massaged this much out of Skylake. Just keep in mind that you are going to need a motherboard capable of handling the power this thing needs and a cooling system capable of keeping it cool as well. In other words, if you are building a money is no object gaming PC this is the i9-10900K is the CPU to go with. As for the i5-10600K, it has potential for gaming as is, and if the price comes closer to the 3600X’s current price it could be the perfect sweet spot CPU for those mid-range builds.
Live Pricing: HERE
Live Pricing: HERE