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Intel’s 10 Core Core i9-10900K Tested Once Again Against AMD’s 12 Core Ryzen 9 3900X – Announcement Expected On 30th April Along With Z490 Motherboards

Mar 27, 2020
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Intel's flagship 10th Gen Desktop CPU, the Core i9-10900K, has once again been tested and shows just what to expect from its next fastest chip for the mainstream segment. The Intel Core i9-10900K would be replacing the Core i9-9900K, offering more cores, more threads, and higher frequencies but will also feature higher power consumption and possibly higher temperatures too which could end up hurting its position against AMD's 7nm Ryzen 3000 Desktop CPUs.

Intel Core i9-10900K 10 Core Flagship Comet Lake CPU Tested Once Again - The Last 14nm Refresh of Skylake

The Intel Comet Lake-S or the 10th Generation Core Family is expected to be the last CPU lineup to reuse the 14nm Skylake architecture. The Skylake architecture has been with us since 2015 and Intel has yet to replace it for desktop consumers. The architecture has seen several optimizations and key refinements that have led to an increase from 4 cores and 8 threads to 10 cores and 20 threads. The same 14nm process has also been improved to the point that the flagship CPU speeds have seen a massive jump from 4.20 GHz boosts to 5.20 GHz boosts.

Intel’s 11th Gen Rocket Lake Desktop CPU Spotted Running A PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD – First Intel CPU Platform To Support PCIe Gen 4.0

But all of this hasn't come without issues, previous few generations of the 14nm process and the Skylake architecture have started to show why it can't be sustained for long. With higher temps and power consumption figures going off the roof while the competition continues its lead in efficiency, Intel has to look elsewhere and this requires a shift to either an entirely new process node, which definitely isn't possible by Intel due to 10nm yields or get a brand new architecture out as soon as it can and wait till its process technology matures to shift the new architecture over to it similar to how the Tick-Tock cycle was originally meant to function.

I will get back to more of this in a bit but first, let's talk about the Core i9-10900K's benchmarks that we have for today and even before I do that, let's recap what we know about the Core i9-10900K.

Intel Core i9-10900K 10 Core CPU Specifications

The Intel Core i9-10900K will be the flagship part of the 10th Generation Desktop CPU family. Intel has a few tricks up their sleeves to offer even better performance than the Core i9-9900KS. The i9-10900K features 10 cores, 20 threads a total cache of 20 MB and a 125W TDP. The chip has a base frequency of 3.7 GHz and a boost frequency of 5.1 GHz. However, using Intel's Turbo Boost Max 3.0 technology, the chip can boost up to 5.2 GHz on a single-core and what's even better is the 4.9 GHz all-core boost. Some of the features of this particular chip include:

Intel’s Next-Gen 10nm Ice Lake-SP CPU Tested, Dual 28 Cores & 56 Threads Chips Compared To A Single AMD EPYC 7742 64 Core CPU

  • Up to 4.8 GHz All-Core Turbo
  • Up to 5.3 / 4.9 GHz Thermal Velocity Boost Singe / All-core Turbo
  • Up to 5.2 GHz Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0
  • Up to 10C and 20T
  • Up to DDR4-2933 MHz dual-channel
  • Enhanced Core & Memory Overclocking
  • Active Core Group Tuning

Here's the interesting part, the chip would also get Thermal Velocity Boost, similar to the current flagship parts. CPUs that support this algorithm, like the Core i9-10900K, would feature even faster boost frequencies of 5.3 GHz (single-core) and 4.9 GHz (all-core). However, as the name suggests, only top-tier cooling solutions would be able to allow full utilization of the Thermal Velocity Boost feature. So unless you rock a high-end AIO liquid cooler or a closed-loop setup, don't expect a sustained velocity boost but rather short bursts until the threshold is hit. It will be interesting to know the full extent of the features that this function has to offer and what kind of cooling would the Core i9-10900K requires in general.

Intel's 10th Generation Comet Lake-S based Core i9-10900K 10 Core CPU has once again been tested on a Z490 motherboard. (Image Credits: TUM_APISAK)

Coming to the benchmarks reported by TUM_APISAK, we have Geekbench 5 where the Core i9-10900K is compared to the Core i9-9900KS and the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X. The following are the scores for these CPUs.

Geekbench 5 Single-Core CPU Tests:

  • Intel Core i9-10900K 10 Core / 20 Thread CPU (Single-Core) - 1437 Points
  • Intel Core i9-9900KS 8 Core / 16 Thread CPU (Single-Core) - 1412 Points
  • AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 16 Core / 32 Thread CPU (Single-Core) - 1308 Points
  • AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12 Core / 24 Thread CPU (Single-Core) - 1279 Points

Geekbench 5 Multi-Core CPU Tests:

  • AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 16 Core / 32 Thread CPU (Multi-Core) - 14313 Points
  • AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12 Core / 24 Thread CPU (Multi-Core) - 12134 Points
  • Intel Core i9-10900K 10 Core / 20 Thread CPU (Multi-Core) - 11390 Points
  • Intel Core i9-9900KS 8 Core / 16 Thread CPU (Multi-Core) - 9458 Points

While the single-core performance is definitely impressive here, the AMD Ryzen 4000 CPUs aren't that far behind and they get a huge lead in the multi-core tests. With that said, the single-core perf improvement of the new chip should be around 3-5% while the multi-core performance is said to be around 20-30% better for 25% extra cores and threads along with higher clock speeds. Intel also listed down the PL2 power states for each chip in a previously leaked slide, which showed the max TDP when all cores are hitting the turbo frequency. The Core i9-9900K is a 95W and 210W (PL2) chip while the i9-10900K is a 125W and 250W (PL2) chip. These figures put AMD's 7nm Ryzen chips a league ahead & we aren't even factoring in the stunning performance AMD's chip boasts with ECO mode applied.

Industry insiders and motherboard vendors themselves have stated that the Z490 boards are designed specifically for the higher power input of the Comet Lake-S lineup and they have noticed the chips breaking past the 300W barrier.

Several motherboard manufacturers revealed that the ten-core break the 300-watt mark at maximum load. Not surprisingly, the 9900KS already exceeded the 250-watt mark in scenarios of this kind. via Computebase

From the earlier benchmarks, one can conclude some pros for Intel's and AMD's current generation lineup which are listed below:

Intel's 10th Gen Core Desktop CPU Pros:

  • Higher single-threaded performance
  • Higher Clock Speeds
  • Better Overclocking Capabilities
  • Solid Memory Support

AMD's 3rd Gen Ryzen Desktop CPU Pros:

  • Higher multi-threaded performance
  • More cores/threads/cache
  • 7nm architecture (new features)
  • Impressive value out of the box
  • Single-threaded performance right on par with Intel
  • Run cooler and have a lower power consumption

Intel 10th Gen Core Comet Lake Desktop CPU Family:

CPU NameCores / ThreadsBase ClockSingle-Core Boost ClockTurbo Boost Max 3.0 (Single-Core)All Core Boost ClockCacheTDPPrice
Intel Core i9-10900K10/203.7 GHz5.1 GHz
5.3 GHz (Velocity)
5.2 GHz4.8 GHz
4.9 GHz (Velocity)
20 MB125W$488 US
Intel Core i9-10900KF10/203.7 GHz5.1 GHz
5.3 GHz (Velocity)
5.2 GHz4.8 GHz
4.9 GHz (Velocity)
20 MB125W$472 US
Intel Core i9-10850K10/203.6 GHz5.2 GHzN/A4.8 GHz20 MB125W~$450 US
Intel Core i9-1090010/202.8 GHz5.0 GHz
5.2 GHz (Velocity)
5.1 GHz4.5 GHz
4.6 GHz (Velocity)
20 MB65W$439 US
Intel Core i9-10900F10/202.8 GHz5.0 GHz
5.2 GHz (Velocity)
5.1 GHz4.5 GHz
4.6 GHz (Velocity)
20 MB65W$422 US
Intel Core i9-10900T10/201.9 GHz4.5 GHz4.6 GHz3.7 GHz20 MB35W$439 US
Intel Core i7-10700K8/163.8 GHz5.0 GHz5.1 GHz4.7 GHz16 MB125W$374 US
Intel Core i7-10700KF8/163.8 GHz5.0 GHz5.1 GHz4.7 GHz16 MB125W$349 US
Intel Core i7-107008/162.9 GHz4.7 GHz4.8 GHz4.6 GHz16 MB65W$323 US
Intel Core i7-10700F8/162.9 GHz4.7 GHz4.8 GHz4.6 GHz16 MB65W$298 US
Intel Core i7-10700T8/162.0 GHz4.4 GHz4.5 GHz3.7 GHz16 MB35W$325 US
Intel Core i5-10600K6/124.1 GHz4.8 GHzN/A4.5 GHz12 MB125W$262 US
Intel Core i5-10600KF6/124.1 GHz4.8 GHzN/A4.5 GHz12 MB125W$237 US
Intel Core i5-106006/123.3 GHz4.8 GHzN/A4.5 GHz12 MB65W$213 US
Intel Core i5-10600T6/122.4 GHz4.0 GHzN/A3.7 GHz12 MB35W$213 US
Intel Core i5-105006/123.1 GHz4.5 GHzN/A4.2 GHz12 MB65W$192 US
Intel Core i5-10500T6/122.3 GHz3.8 GHzN/A3.5 GHz12 MB35W$192 US
Intel Core i5-104006/122.9 GHz4.3 GHzN/A4.0 GHz12 MB65W$182 US
Intel Core i5-10400F6/122.9 GHz4.3 GHzN/A4.0 GHz12 MB65W$157 US
Intel Core i5-10400T6/122.0 GHz3.6 GHzN/A3.2 GHz12 MB35W$182 US
Intel Core i3-103204/83.8 GHz4.6 GHzN/A4.4 GHz8 MB65W$154 US
Intel Core i3-103004/83.7 GHz4.4 GHzN/A4.2 GHz8 MB65W$143 US
Intel Core i3-10300T4/83.0 GHz3.9 GHzN/A3.6 GHz8 MB35W$143 US
Intel Core i3-101004/83.6 GHz4.3 GHzN/A4.1 GHz8 MB65W$122 US
Intel Core i3-10100T4/83.0 GHz3.8 GHzN/A3.5 GHz8 MB35W$122 US
Intel Pentium G66002/44.2 GHzN/AN/AN/A4 MB58W$86 US
Intel Pentium G65002/44.1 GHzN/AN/AN/A4 MB58W$75 US
Intel Pentium G64002/43.8 GHzN/AN/AN/A4 MB58W$64 US
Intel Pentium G6400T2/43.4 GHzN/AN/AN/A4 MB58W$64 US
Intel Celeron G59252/23.6 GHzN/AN/AN/A4 MB58W~$60 US
Intel Celeron G59202/23.5 GHzN/AN/AN/A2 MB58W$52 US
Intel Celeron G59052/23.5 GHzN/AN/AN/A4 MB58W~$50 US
Intel Celeron G59002/23.2 GHzN/AN/AN/A2 MB58W$42 US
Intel Celeron G5905T2/23.3 GHzN/AN/AN/A4 MB35W~$40 US
Intel Celeron G5900T2/23.2 GHzN/AN/AN/A2 MB35W$42 US
Intel's NDA for its 10th Generation Comet Lake-S Desktop CPU lineup. (Image Credits: Uniko's hardware)

As far as the launch of these chips is concerned, it was previously reported that the 10th Gen CPU lineup is slated for launch between April and June but now it's reported by El Chapuzas Informatico (via Videocardz) that the announcement will be held on 30th April while sales would commence on a later date, most probably May 2020.

400-Series Platform and LGA 1200 Socket Support

It is now confirmed that Intel is indeed moving to a new socket with their 400-series boards that will be introduced next year too. While the LGA 1200 socket has the same dimensions as the LGA 1151 socket (37.5mm x 37.5mm), the socket keying has shifted to the left side and Comet Lake is no longer electrically or mechanically compatible with Coffee Lake motherboards. Some details of the new LGA 1200 package and socket for Comet Lake:

  • Comet Lake will transition to a higher pin-count package
  • Comet Lake LGA will not have backward compatibility with legacy platforms
  • No changes to ILM dimensions or thermal solution retention
  • Comet Lake LGA improves power delivery and support for future incremental I/O features
  • Pin 1 orientation remains the same, but socket keying has shifted left

Blueprints of the LGA 1200 socket (H5) have also been leaked by Momomo_Us, showing the design of the new socket itself and comparing it to the existing LGA 1151 socket (H4).

The pin and socket specific changes between the H5 LGA 1200 and the H4 LGA 1151 socket are detailed in the blueprints posted above. (Image Credits: Momomo_US)

The good thing is that your existing coolers would still be compatible with the LGA 1200 socket so that's one hardware change you shouldn't be worrying about. The Comet Lake-S family will retain support for DDR4-2666 memory UDIMM and support up to 32 GB capacity DIMMs per channel.

Intel plans to have several chipsets deployed in the 400-series family. There would obviously be Z490 which will target the 'K' unlocked SKUs I mentioned above, but aside from that, we are looking at the W480 (Entry Workstation), Q470 (Corporate with Intel vPro), and H410 (Value) chipsets. These would target more corporate and entry tier users. Also interesting to note is that H410 is not pin-compatible with W480 and Q470 chipsets, which reveals a very cut down design for the entry-level chip.

Following are some of the main platform features of the 10th Generation Comet Lake-S family:

  • Up To 10 processor cores for enhanced performance
  • Up To 30 PCH-H High-Speed I/O lanes for port flexibility
  • Up To 40 PCIe 3.0 Lanes (16 CPU, up to 24 PCH)
  • Media & Display features for premium 4K content support
  • Integrated + Discrete Intel Wireless-AC (Wi-Fi/BT CNVi) Support
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) Support
  • Enhanced Core and memory overclock
  • Integrated USB 3.2 Gen 2x1 (10 Gb/s) support
  • Intel Rapid Storage Technology (Intel RST)
  • Programmable (Open FW SDK) Quad-Core Audio DSP
  • C10 & S0ix Support for Modern Standby

Intel 400-Series Chipset Family:

Chipset NameIntel Z490Intel W480Intel Q470Intel H410
Total HSIO Lanes46 Lanes (16 CPU + 30 PCH)46 Lanes (16 CPU+ 30 PCH)46 Lanes (16 CPU+ 30 PCH)30 Lanes (16 CPU+ 14 PCH)
Total PCIe 3.0 Lanes (CPU + PCH)Up To 40 (16 CPU + Up To 40 (16 CPU + Up To 40 (16 CPU + 22(16 CPU + 6 PCIe 2.0)
Chipset PCIe 3.0 LanesUp To 24Up To 24Up To 246 (PCIe 2.0 Only)
SATA 3.0 PortsUp To 8Up To 8Up To 64
Maximum USB 3.2 Ports Gen 2 (10 Gb/s) / Gen 1 (5 Gb/s)8/108/106/100/4
Tota USB Ports (Maximum USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gb/s))14 (10)14 (10)14 (10)10 (4)
Intel RST Technology For PCIe 3.0 storage ports3 PCH3 PCH3 PCH0
eSPI2 Chip Select2 Chip Select2 Chip Select1 Chip Select
Overclocking SupportYesN/AN/AN/A
Processor PCIe Express 3.0 Lanes Configuration1x16 or 2x8 or 1x8 + 2x41x16 or 2x8 or 1x8 + 2x41x16 or 2x8 or 1x8 + 2x41x16
Display Support (Ports / Pipes)3/33/33/33/2
DMI 3.0 Lanes4444 (DMI 2.0 Only)
System Memory Channels / DPC2/2 (DDR4-2666)2/2 (DDR4-2666)2/2 (DDR4-2666)2/1 (DDR4-2666)

In terms of chipset features, W480 would be the most feature-rich of the three chipsets that are mentioned here. Z490 would be the most appealing for the enthusiast and gaming audience, but let's take a look at the mainstream chipsets. The W480 chipset would offer a  total of 46 high-speed IO lanes and a total of 40 PCIe Gen 3.0 lanes. The CPUs would retain 16 lanes with the chipset offering up to 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes.

There would be support for up to 8 SATA III ports, 8 USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports or 10 USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, 14 USB 3.2 Gen ports, and Intel RST. Neither of the three chipsets would feature overclock support since that is restricted to the Z490 chipset but we will get more information on overclocking later on from Intel themselves. There's a massive list of Z490 motherboards that we can expect with the 10th Gen family, most of which have already been leaked at atwiki.jp:

Intel Z490 'LGA 1200' Motherboards

Motherboard VendorASUSGigabyteMSIASRockSupermicro/NZXT/ECS
Z490ROG MAXIMUS XII APEX
ROG MAXIMUS XII EXTREME
ROG MAXIMUS XII FORMULA
ROG MAXIMUS XII HERO (WI-FI)
ROG STRIX Z490-A GAMING
ROG STRIX Z490-E GAMING
ROG STRIX Z490-F GAMING
ROG STRIX Z490-
GIX 490 -H GAMING
ROG STRIX Z490-I GAMING
TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS (WI-FI)
TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS
PRIME Z490-A
PRIME Z490-P
PRIME Z490M-PLUS
Z490 AORUS XTREME WATERFORCE
Z490 AORUS XTREME
Z490 AORUS MASTER WATERFORCE
Z490 AORUS MASTER
Z490 AORUS ULTRA
Z490 AORUS ULTRA-GU
Z490 AORUS PRO AX
Z490 AORUS PRO
Z490 AORUS ELITE AC
Z490 AORUS ELITE
Z490I AORUS ULTRA
Z490 DESIGNARE
Z490 GAMING X
Z490M GAMING X
Z490 WHITE
Z490 VISION D
Z490 VISION G
Z490 UD AC
Z490 UD
Z490 D
Z490M DS3H
Z490M
MEG Z490 GODLIKE
MEG Z490 ACE
MEG Z490 UNIFY
MEG Z490I UNIFY
MPG Z490 GAMING CARBON WIFI
MPG Z490 GAMING EDGE WIFI
MPG Z490M GAMING EDGE WIFI
MPG Z490 GAMING PLUS
MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK
Z490-A PRO
Z490 AQUA
Z490 Taichi
Z490 PG Velocita
Z490 Phantom Gaming 6
Z490 Phantom Gaming 4 / 2.5G
Z490 Phantom Gaming 4 / Ac
Z490 Phantom Gaming 4
Z490 Phantom Gaming 4SR
Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX / TB3
Z490 Steel Legend
Z490 Extreme4
Z490 Pro4
Z490M Pro4
-ITX Z490M / ac
NZXT N7-Z49XT
Supermicro C9Z490-PGW

Intel Desktop CPU Generations Comparison:

Intel CPU FamilyProcessor ProcessProcessors Cores (Max)TDPsPlatform ChipsetPlatformMemory SupportPCIe SupportLaunch
Sandy Bridge32nm4/835-95W6-SeriesLGA 1155DDR3PCIe Gen 2.02011
Ivy Bridge22nm4/835-77W7-SeriesLGA 1155DDR3PCIe Gen 3.02012
Haswell22nm4/835-84W8-SeriesLGA 1150DDR3PCIe Gen 3.02013-2014
Broadwell14nm4/865-65W9-SeriesLGA 1150DDR3PCIe Gen 3.02015
Skylake14nm4/835-91W100-SeriesLGA 1151DDR4/DDR3LPCIe Gen 3.02015
Kaby Lake14nm4/835-91W200-SeriesLGA 1151DDR4/DDR3LPCIe Gen 3.02017
Coffee Lake14nm6/1235-95W300-SeriesLGA 1151DDR4PCIe Gen 3.02017
Coffee Lake14nm8/1635-95W300-SeriesLGA 1151DDR4PCIe Gen 3.02018
Comet Lake14nm10/2035-125W400-SeriesLGA 1200DDR4PCIe Gen 3.02020
Rocket Lake14nm8/16?TBA400/500-Series?LGA 1200DDR4PCIe Gen 4.02020?
Alder Lake10nm?16/32?TBATBALGA 1700DDR5?PCIe Gen 4.0?2021?
Meteor Lake7nm?TBATBATBATBADDR5?PCIe Gen 4.0?2022?

Intel is definitely taking its time to release the 10th Gen Comet Lake-S desktop CPU family but things could get a little too hard for Intel as not only 3rd Gen Ryzen CPUs are getting insane deals over at major retail outlets, but AMD reaffirmed that Zen 3 based Ryzen 4000 desktop processors would be arriving by the end of 2020. This gives Intel just two-quarters worth of head-room before AMD comes in full guns blazing with its brand new architecture based CPU family, but it looks like Intel themselves want Comet Lake-S to be a generic refresh before Rocket Lake arrives later this year which is expected to be a much more impressive desktop outing from Intel in many years.

Which 10th Gen Comet Lake desktop CPUs are you looking forward to the most?

Products mentioned in this post

Intel Core i9-9900KS
Intel Core i9-9900KS
USD 1965
Ryzen 9 3900X
Ryzen 9 3900X
USD 413
Ryzen 9 3950x
Ryzen 9 3950x
USD 697

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