Today Intel has launched its 10th Generation of Core Desktop Processors to the market. The new 10th gen Comet Lake processors succeed the 9th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs. The new 10th Gen CPUs comprises of a large family of processors, from Core i3’s to Core i5’s, Core i7’s, and Core i9’s culminating in the flagship Intel Core i9-10900K. Check out our review of the Intel Core i9-10900K here and our overview of the Z490 chipset here. This article today has been our Intel Core i5-10600K review.
In this review today we have reviewed the Intel Core i5-10600K, which sits at the top of the Intel Core i5 family product stack. This is the fastest i5 you can get, with an RCP pricing of $262. What sets this CPU apart (actually all 10th Gen CPUs apart) from the last generation is the inclusion of Intel Hyperthreading up and down the line. This doubles the threads available on each CPU. Finally, we have affordable 6c/12t and 8c/16t and even 10c/20t CPUs from Intel on the desktop without having to pay Xtreme prices.
In order to make this happen, it is no shock to anyone that Intel has had to push the limits of 14nm to the extreme. On one hand, this shows Intel is listening, they hear the cry of enthusiasts and see the impact that AMD has made. On the other hand, they are pushing CPUs, requiring new motherboard chipsets and sockets, and VRMs to the extremes that they themselves probably wish they didn’t have to.
But let’s face it, AMD is hitting home runs lately. It is putting a lot of pressure on Intel, and Intel is starting to feel the sting. Like a little mosquito nipping at their nose. So, let’s talk about the Intel Core i5-10600K.
Performance vs. 9600K
The Intel Core i5-10600K is a huge improvement over the Intel Core i5-9600K, huge, in every which way. It has 6c/12t versus 6c/6t and this immediately helps in every multi-threaded application and workload. We found that workloads that benefit from multi-threading like 3D rendering, encoding, and even just simple office applications benefit from this. It’s almost like AMD knew what it was doing when it developed the Ryzen series with multi-threads per core.
Then, when you combine the clock speed boost the Intel Core i5-10600K has it is able to accel at single-threaded applications and tasks as well. Just all around it is a big improvement over the previous generation. We consistently experienced this. Even in gaming, there were a few situations where it offered faster performance, not a ton, but a little bit was there.
Performance vs. 3600X
Now we come to the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X. This is where the waters get muddy. You see, each CPU seems to do well at their own specific thing. Most of our benchmarks had the performance flopping around between them. In some, the 3600X was on top, and in others, the 10600K was on top. It seems they are overall very close in competition, but certain workloads can set them off in either direction.
What we get the feeling for most, is that when it comes to multi-threaded applications the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X still performs the “best” overall. There are exceptions, but on average, it pulls ahead in highly multi-threaded applications, even though both have the same core and thread count. This could come down to many factors. We saw the Ryzen 5 3600X do very well in 3D rendering like Cinebench, and in Blender and V-Ray. We saw it do well in HandBrake, but not as well in Adobe Premiere Elements. It seems when it comes to encoding or encrypting or 3D rendering and floating-point the Ryzen 3 3600X is a great option.
On the other hand, we saw the Intel Core i5-10600K do very well in integer-based applications or applications that focus on lesser cores or even single-core performance. The Intel Core i5-10600K seems to handle office desktop applications and Microsoft Office just a bit faster. For those in office environments, the 10600K may be the greater option. Yet, in some applications, it did better still, like Adobe Premiere Elements. Some rendering engines like Adobe may just be more optimized for Intel. There might be other applications that just specifically do better on the Intel option.
Performance in Gaming
Then we come to gaming, and honestly, we were surprised by how much of a difference existed. Most people would expect Intel CPUs to be just a bit faster in gaming still, and it seems our results here today point toward that conclusion. The differences can be small to noticeably significant. We tested at 1080p, but with the highest in-game settings on each game with a GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER.
In every game, the Intel Core i5-10600K resulted in the highest framerates. It had the most advantage over the Ryzen 5 3600X in gaming, even the 9600K beat the Ryzen 5 3600X. It seems the Ryzen 5 3600X was on the bottom of the performance in each graph. Not that the performance was bad of course, over 100FPS cannot be called bad.
However, the technical savvy here reading this article wants the minutia, the small details, and look for these small differences sometimes to make buying decisions. At the end of the day, we can’t deny the Intel Core i5-10600K had the highest framerates. We saw a couple of games that had a 10% and 11% difference. That’s not much at over 100FPS, but if the results were a lot lower that would make a big difference. Yet, we did see some games that were a lot less significant.
I think most people would agree the difference in the game performance comes down to the higher clock speeds of the Intel CPUs. That assumption makes sense. Therefore, overclocking the AMD CPUs could make up that difference. But then, of course, you can also overclock the Intel CPUs and that difference is lost once again. At the end of the day, it seems rather clear, AMD needs to work on higher frequencies if it wants to beat Intel at the gaming, game. Now that Intel has Hyperthreading on this line of CPUs, they are extremely viable gaming/streaming/do everything CPUs.
The need for more MHz is there, and Intel has eeked out as much as they can from the aging 14nm, and honestly, it’s a lot more than AMD is doing at 7nm. AMD needs to kick it up a notch. These Intel CPUs still have overclocking headroom, being able to hit up to 5GHz on all-core is amazing.