Categories: HardwareNews

Intel’s new i9-10900K—fast, yes; competitive, not so much

Intel’s desktops have always attracted attention and it has now launched its i9-10900k, which is way better than what was expected due to its lacklustre predecessor.

This 10900k is the follow-up to the 9900k nine generation CPUs. This i9-10900k version now has 10 cores and 20 threads which were 8 cores and 16 threads in the 9900k. This new flagship SKU of Intel’s desktop processor is also better than its predecessor 9900k as it has 125W TDP, which is well above than the 9900k’s 95W and it is also hitting the frequency clock higher than that of 9900k. So, we can easily say that although it was not expected from the Intel’s new addition due to its lacklustre performance market, but it hasn’t quite failed to impress.

But despite its better specifications than its predecessor, Intel’s competition is not itself, rather it has real competition with AMD and to be honest, Intel is hardly staying in the game.

Performance

The i9-10900K chews its way through Cinebench R20's rendering scene quickly. Its Cinebench score is almost exactly that of a Threadripper 1950x—hardly current, but still impressive for a relatively normal desktop CPU. Image: Jim Saltermore
Intel's Extreme Tuning Utility is all we had to play with—Intel Performance Maximizer isn't available for the i9-10900K yet. Image: Jim Salter
Passmark and Intel XTU both agree—the highest clockrate we've recorded out of this beast is 5.1GHz, not the promised 5.3GHz Shangri-La. Image: Jim Salter

This new flagship of Intel 10900k has proven to be way faster in speed than what was expected of it. But its AMD’s equivalent Ryzen 9 3950X has knocked it out of the game that was also expected.

The only thing that was not expected out of this flagship, due to its lacklustre performance market, was to be better than its predecessor 9900k. Although only 5.1GHz version was seen when “up to 5.3GHz” was promised, we see that a well 34% generation-to-generation improvement was observed by i9-10900k against the last year’s 9900k in the all-threaded Cinebench R-20 testing.

While we are talking about comparisons, this Intel i9-10900k has failed miserably against Ryzen 9 3950X in any multithreaded benchmark. However, on the single-threaded version of the Cinebech R20 workload, Intel has clinched a small win over the Ryzen 9 3950X.

i9-10900K gets whomped pretty heavily by its AMD competition (and last year's i9-10980XE) in the Cinebench R20 multi-threaded benchmark. Image: Jim Salter
i9-10900K gets whomped pretty heavily by its AMD competition (and last year's i9-10980XE) in the Cinebench R20 multi-threaded benchmark. Image: Jim Salter
The AMD beatdown is even worse on the more general-purpose Passmark CPU benchmark—but here, it slightly outpaces the i9-10980XE HEDT part. Image: Jim Salter

As far as single-threaded speed is concerned, Intel excels ahead of Ryzen 9 3950X and there isn’t any match to this 10900k version in the single-threaded Cinebench. This makes this model the best for single-threaded gaming experience. So, if you are out there trying to find out a processor for gaming, this i9-10900k is the one. There isn’t much clarity that when it has been crushed badly in the multi-threaded benchmark, how it could eke out a narrow win here in single thread.

Conclusion

It can be analysed that Intel has been successful in surprising us by improving so much from its last version. It has a significant upgrade with a larger all cores than a single-core performance increase.

As far as AMD is concerned, there is no comparison as Ryzen 9 3950X of AMD is far ahead in this Red competition. Ryzen 9 3950x consumes way less power and also outperforms Intel’s i9-10900k in multithread workloads. Even on single-threaded Cinebench, it is only 3 times slower. So it can be said that Ryzen 9 3950x easily stands up on the first stop.

As i9-10900k is not just a simple drop-in replacement of the previous versions, so you cannot save the money by simply fitting in the CPU in the previous versions’ rigs. But, you need to buy the whole new motherboard if you are to upgrade even from i9-9900k to this i9-10900k. Well, if you are going to spend money, you might also want to think about spending it on a new Ryzen 9 3950X.

The Good about i9-10900k

  • The best gaming Intel desktop out there, hands down
  • Although we never expected, but a strong year-on-year improvement
  • Even a 280mm radiator stays cool/ No problems of heating

The Bad about i9-10900k

  • Ryzen 9 3950X is 39 times better than 10900k on multithreaded benchmarks where 10900k is only 3 times faster than Ryzen in single-threaded Cinebench
  • If you’re looking to upgrade the older versions by clopping in the new CPU to the motherboard, sorry but you got to buy the whole new motherboard
  • Power consumption is way more than Ryzen and also generates more heat than Ryzen

The Ugly Side

If you are thinking what can be ugly, then think about Intel still going to stick with 14nm+++++++++++++++++ in 2021. Yes! That is very much probable, unfortunately.

Patricia Robinson

Patricia Robinson is a technical person with interest for the hardware & computing. When she out and about, she enjoys bowling, horse riding, driving, and playing sports.

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