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
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
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
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
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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  • Kevin G - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    Can you point me toward a 10 Gbit NIC than to only uses a single PCIe 3.0 lane? I won’t hold my breath as that doesn’t exist.

    Signs are pointing toward a 2022 release for PCIe 5.0 on the desktop.

    On the server side PCI3e 5.0 was due... this year with the IBM POWER10. That chip has been delayed to 2021 so who knows who will be fired in that segment as it looks like both Intel and AMD are gearing for PCIe 5.0 based servers next year.
  • Bp_968 - Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - link

    This. I notice most people seem to assume the next level of PCIe is only useful for its maximum bandwidth. I feel like they miss the potential cost savings on lane usage. If a CPU maker can halve the number of lanes they have on a CPU that will lower costs. If modern GPUs easily run on 4x PCIe5 lanes then 8 external lanes could end up being plenty for most systems (1 4x a 2x and 2 1x slots) though I expect SSDs to be eating 4 lanes of pcie4 for many systems in the next few years.
  • Quantumz0d - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link


    2017 Ryzen was a boon to the industry, they crushed the X99 HW-E lineup and brought down the prices of the HEDT CPUs. Ryzen performance was crap and had tons of issues with the BIOS and Windows Scheduler on top due to the NUMA design, and the TR was a big disaster which couldn't scale up, Zen+ was a significant upgrade but ended up a minor improvement this is where X470 was also neglected and lost many features vs Intel SKUs for Mobos due to lack of trust on the AMD by OEMs, the CCX design was the Achilles heel along with pathetic memory controller.

    Still the 2700X couldn't beat a 7700K in gaming and also productive loads but due to the Multi core design for cheap it heavily made the PC DIY market flourish that was a great thing which AMD did and still had the memory controller weakness.

    Ryzen perfected the processor design with the Zen2, which is where exactly AMD started exactly to put a dent into Intel, that was the key aspect fro AMD in my opinion and it came in 2019, and the TSMC 7nm which helped them to cram more tech and the biggest improvement was due to the removal of that CCX hops and the weak IMC, it improved on every single flaw and made it big, 3600 finally beat 7700K in gaming and every single workload and made the 8700K almost in reach, but the 3700 and up beat 8700K and yet the HW-E on the other hand scaled pretty well, along with 2600K too while the Ryzen 1000 and Ryzen 2000 are pretty much meh.TR 3000 kicked out X399 (shameless name copy) and made that platform EOL and users got abandoned, look at HW-E still it scales well in games, thanks to Ring Bus. X299 CSL also couldn't do anything to the mainstream SKUs but it could do great OC at the power expense and only for Enthusiasts tbh. While the TRX series was super expensive and very limited core lineup due to their 3950X at 16C (still cannot scale like Intel in gaming but everything else it's a beast) also to note the AM4 life, it's superb to think about the socket compatibility scaling so well but the unfortunate part is due to the VRM cheapness on X470 the Higher SKUs of Ryzen 3000 are crippled by many and eventually a new chipset based one was needed.

    Then now again Intel is adding 2 more cores to the same 2015 uArch and 2014 14nm node vs 2020 TSMC 7nm+ Ryzen 4000 expecting to still have that Gaming Performance crown at the expense of insane power, another final Ring Bus card.

    Next year Rocket Lake S is coming with 14nm++ again, there's no 10nm it's failed completely but it's a new uArch again, which no one knows about the Bus, if it's Mesh or Ring.
  • Kevin G - Monday, May 4, 2020 - link

    The ring bus on Haswell-E should actually be a limiter to performance vs. Sky Lake’s tile based topology. Simply put you need fewer hops to a cache location in Sky Lake, all other things being equal. The big asterisk for Sky Lake is that each core has less L3 cache that is barely bigger than the L2 cache. The L3 is now a victim cache where as previously the L3 would mirror the contents of the L2 in Haswell. The result is that often both the L2 and L3 caches has to be queried in Sky Lake to get data. This takes power. Had Intel used the same inclusive cache design with respect to L3 at a decent size (4 MB?), the tile based design would be seen in a far greater light as the benefits would be easier to spot.

    The presumption Intel was going to take the tile design was to use smaller tiles (3x3 with lots of cache?) made using 10 nm and just tie them together with EMIB. 14 nm would have still been used for the memory controller, PCIe controllers and UPI but on their own tiles. This is effectively the inside-out version of AMD’s current chiplet strategy. This never materialized on the CPU side but Intel did leverage EMIB like their do some FPGA designs they inherited from the Altera acquisition.
  • Galid - Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - link

    That was a pretty good amount of good info but I have something To add. Intel wins when you put the cpu on gaming workloads AND bound the cpu usage. Example: rtx 2080 ti in 1080p. And even then, lets take a 3600 non-x vs 9900k. You will gain 9% fps in 1080p, 3% fps in 1440p and .6% fps in 4k buying a 9900k instead of a 3600. Now, lets take steam hardware survey and take for a fact that 99% of the gamers dont need those small fps for 2.5x the price of that 3600. I do not consider that a win in my world.

    Or else, we could say: every car in the world loses because there's porsche 918 spyder that exists!! Well man, all I want to do is my everyday life, I do not belong to a race track(e-sports).

    Still I beleive that my honda accord is a winning design that outsells porsche 918 by.... inimaginable amount. And lets me do everything I need.
  • Deicidium369 - Saturday, May 2, 2020 - link

    LMAO... Do you write your own material or do you have a ghost writer - most people cannot be that funny.
  • Lord of the Bored - Monday, May 4, 2020 - link

    Pot, meet kettle.
  • Korguz - Monday, May 4, 2020 - link

    your one to talk Deicidium369, 90% of whar you type is fiction, personal anti amd bs, and no proof what so ever of that fiction, maybe you should become a writer of fiction books
  • twtech - Monday, May 11, 2020 - link

    The only thing Intel is currently winning at is top-end desktop gaming FPS if you're willing to pay a premium for it, and don't mind the power consumption. So if you want that, the 10900K is on top there.

    At everything else, AMD is winning, because they are ahead in performance per watt, number of cores, price/performance, etc. So laptops, value gaming, high-end productivity and workstations, servers, etc.
  • Middleman - Saturday, May 9, 2020 - link

    Intel Released SkyLake X in 2017, my 7820x 8 core still beats AMD 3700X that was released in 2019. 7820X cost $600 and the 10core was $1000 USD.

    In terms of value I've had a rocking CPU for 2.5 years and will get my money's worth when I upgrade to the next HEDT. AMD is garbage.

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