Intel finally lifted the embargo on their 10th gen ‘Comet Lake’ desktop CPUs on 30th April. It is still based on the same 14nm architecture that has been refined for generations now. But, will the extra refinements and core count increments be enough to face off against AMD’s increasing pressure in the CPU market?
More Cores, More Power?
Led by the 10900K, the 10th gen Core i9 lineup is getting two extra cores compared to last gen. With a base clock of 3.7GHz, it can be boosted up to 5.1GHz. Intel also included other numbers such as Thermal Velocity Boost, which is the maximum possible single and all core boost clocks when the temperature is kept under 70°C.
The i7 lineup also gets two extra cores, up to 8 cores and 16 threads from 6 cores and 12 threads. There’s also support for DDR4-2933 memory. But higher speed memory will also be usable as well as Intel is quite flexible with memory speeds.
With the newly-added cores, the TDP for the unlocked i9-10900K/KF and i7-10700K/KF goes up to 125W, which is 95W up from last gen. This is because Intel is still using the same 14nm process for the new CPUs. By adding more cores, it will need more power to run them. This is also why the new Z490 motherboards are equipped with robust power delivery and thermal solutions – just to tame these power-hungry beasts.
Hyperthreading All The Way!
Finally, the i5 lineup is getting a long-overdue core-count boost! The whole i5 lineup now sports 6 cores and 12 threads. This is going head to head against AMD’s best-selling Ryzen 5 3000 series processors. While it might be priced a bit higher than AMD, only time will tell if Intel can fight back in this segment of the market.
For the first time, hyperthreading hits i3! The entire i3 lineup, which includes the i3-10100, i3-10300, and the i3-10320, is now fully hyperthreading-enabled. With 4 cores and 8 threads, it will be interesting to see how much it will sell compared to the Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X, which are also 4C/8T chips that are going on sale for cheaper.
In fact, the latest Pentiums will also support hyperthreading too! Seems like this time around, Intel has decided to open up hyperthreading to the entire lineup, except for the Celerons. Facing increasing pressure from AMD, is hyperthreading and more cores enough to convince users from going red?
Is The New Platform Worth It?
Intel revealed the new Z490, H470, and B460 chipsets based on LGA 1200 for the new 10th gen CPUs. While the CPU architecture is almost the same, Intel has added some features to the new chipsets. For the flagship Z490 chipset, 2.5GbE is supported through the Intel I225 Network Controller. This is why basically all Z490 motherboards released support 2.5GbE. The entire chipset family also supports integrated Wi-Fi 6, which is a great step to take as it slowly rolls out across the world.
But the new LGA 1200 chipsets means that it won’t be backwards compatible with previous generations of LGA 1151 processors. While it is a bummer, at least your existing coolers would still be compatible if you choose to upgrade.
But, is this enough to justify a platform upgrade to you? It seems like this is Intel’s current response to AMD’s amazing run with their Zen 2 chips so far. While there are core count increases to match AMD’s offerings, AMD still provides better value overall as well as better power consumption and thermals thanks to the 7nm architecture. Let us know if you think this is a good enough response from Intel or not!