Custom PC

Intel announces 10th-gen desktop processors

By Ben Hardwidge. Posted

Intel has lifted the lid on its new lineup of mainstream desktop CPUs, which now feature up to ten cores. Unlike its 9th-gen CPUs, every single one of the new Core-branded chips also features Hyper-Threading technology, including Core i3 and Core i5 models, which should enable them to offer stronger competition against AMD’s SMT-equipped 3rd-gen Ryzen processors.

At the top of the range is the Core i9-10900K, which has ten cores and the ability to execute 20 concurrent threads via Hyper-Threading. Thanks to Turbo Max 3, you will also have per-core Hyper-Threading control, enabling you to disable Hyper-Threading on whichever cores you like, which could potentially be handy for overclocking.

Intel has enabled Hyper-Threading on the Core i7, Core i5 and Core i3 chips, as well as the top-end COre i9 models
Intel has enabled Hyper-Threading on the Core i7, Core i5 and Core i3 chips, as well as the top-end Core i9 models

In the case of the Core i9-10900K, the stock base clock sits at 3.7GHz with a single-core turbo speed of up to 5.2GHz using Turbo Boost Max 3.

However, Intel says that its new Thermal Velocity Boost tech, which is exclusively available on the Core i9 chips in the range, can also enable an ‘opportunistic and automatic boost across single-core and multicore workloads,’ quoting potential all-core boost clocks of up to 4.9GHz, and single-core boost clocks of up to 5.3GHz.

Intel describes the Core i9-10900K as the ‘world’s fastest gaming processor’, and it has the same (USD 1K) price of $488 as its predecessor, the Core i9-9900K, despite having two more cores. The 10900K also has a thermal design power (TDP) of 125W.

While AMD’s latest CPUs feature a 7nm chiplet design (with a 14nm I/O die), Intel’s new CPUs are still fabricated on a 14nm process. However, the company has refined it a bit, slimming down the dies to just 0.8mm thick. In order to maintain compatibility with existing coolers, Intel has also increased the thickness of the heatspreader by 0.3mm, so the CPUs sit at the same height as previous ones.

10th-gen Intel die
The new ten-core dies are still fabricated on a 14nm process, although the dies are now thinner than before

Speaking of which, while these CPUs are the same height as previous chips, they do require a motherboard based on Intel’s new LGA1200 socket, and many motherboard makers have announced new designs based on the Z470 chipset. Among the new features offered by the platform are Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), as well as 2.5G Ethernet and Thunderbolt 3 support.

There are many new models in the 10th-gen lineup, with other options including the eight-core (16 thread) Core i7-10700K, with a 3.8GHz base clock and 5.1GHz Turbo Boost Max 3 frequency, which has a 125W TDP. Meanwhile, the six-core (12 thread) Core i5-10600K has a 4.1GHz base clock, a single-core turbo frequency of up to 4.8GHz and a 125W TDP.

Intel’s 10th-gen CPUs and Z470 motherboards are expected to be available to buy later in May. Look out for full reviews in Issue 203 of Custom PC magazine.

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