Intel Core i5-10600K Processor Review

With Intel’s 10th generation Core “Comet Lake-S” processors one big change is being made for the Core i5 series, Intel is adding HyperThreading to the series! HyperThreading was originally reserved for top-tier parts (Core i9, Core i7), but now we are going to get it on Core i5 parts! The previous Core i5 processors gave you 6 cores and 6 threads, but now you are going to get 6 cores and 12 threads! This will definitely bolster performance, especially in multi-core workloads. Today we are taking a look at the Core i5-10600K, which sits as the flagship or highest-core Core i5 part in the 10-series. It has a base clock of 4.1 GHz and the ability to boost up to 4.8 GHz with a TDP of 125W. With a price of only $262 is this the ultimate mid-range gaming CPU? Read on as we find out!

Special thanks to Intel for providing us with the Core i5-10600K Processor to review.

All of the Core i5 parts in the 10th generation series are all 6-core, 12-thread with 12 MB of shared L3 cache. The Core i5-10600K is fully unlocked and does feature Intel UHD Graphics 630.

What is new?

Up to Three Different Boosting Algorithms: Intel has up to three different clock speed boosting algorithms deployed on various SKUs in the series:
– Turbo Boost 2.0: This is the most basic boosting technology, available across all 10th gen Core i9, Core i7, Core i5, and Core i3 SKUs
– Turbo Boost MAX 3.0: Carried over from the Core X HEDT processor family, Turbo Boost Max 3.0 is now available on 10th Gen Core i9 and Core i7 SKUs, enabling higher notches of clock speed than Turbo Boost 2.0, and it also adds “Favored Cores”. This makes the operating system aware the two physically-best cores, which can sustain higher boost frequencies better than the rest of the CPU. The goal is to have the OS scheduler prioritize running workloads on these cores, so they can run faster. Windows 10 has had Favored Core awareness since 1609, and Linux x64 kernels since January 2018 have supported it.
– Thermal Velocity Boost: Carried over from its 9th and 10th generation Core mobile processors, Thermal Velocity Boost is available to 10th generation Core i9 SKUs. The feature enables clock boost speeds even higher than Turbo Boost MAX 3.0, in short bursts, provided your processor’s cooling solution is able to consistently keep temperatures below a threshold, and provided a few power targets are met. We confirmed with Intel that for the 10th gen desktop chips, this threshold is set at 70 °C (for the mobile parts it is 65 °C).

New Core and Memory overclocking features, including:
– The ability to enable or disable HyperThreading for individual cores. Until now, you could disable or enable HTT only globally. This comes as a boon for gamers who want to set a few of their cores without HTT, and a few with HTT for streaming applications
– Enhanced, finer grained voltage/frequency curve controls. Intel is launching a major update to XTU alongside these processors, which lets you set the voltage at individual frequencies, for much finer control of overclocking parameters. This technique was pioneered by GPU vendors and helps reduce power in situations when the CPU is not running at highest frequency. Traditionally you could either program a voltage offset that shifts the whole V-F curve in one direction, or program an override voltage that runs the CPU at the same voltage all the time, wasting tons of energy in the process. Now you may change the shape of the curve, too: undervolt when idle or lightly loaded, but higher voltage when loaded, to reach higher overclocking? It’s possible now.
– The ability to overclock the PCI-Express 3.0 x16 graphics bus (PEG), and DMI chipset-bus. We’re not entirely sure how this is accomplished. Both are PCIe-based interfaces, which can only tolerate a few MHz clock variance for high-bandwidth devices such as GPUs. We asked Intel how this works, and they confirmed that “DMI and PCIe are linked. By overclocking one, you are overclocking the other”.

Physical, packaging improvements: Intel made some improvements to the processor package with an aim of improving heat transfer between the die and the cooling solution. Without changing the Z-height of the package, Intel found a way to thicken the copper IHS, by thinning the silicon die (from 800 µm down to 500 µm; and the fiberglass substrate. Soldered TIM (STIM) sits between the die and the IHS. This should improve heat transfer significantly, as silicon is a thermal insulator, whereas the copper IHS is highly conductive.

Native support for DDR4-2933 and higher memory clocks across the board: up to DDR4-4000 for two dual-rank modules, over DDR4-4800 for two single-rank modules, and beyond DDR4-5000 for one single-rank module.

Packaging

We did not receive the retail packaging for these new processors, instead Intel sent us a “reviewer kit” which came with two processors.

Intel Comet Lake Box Intel Comet Lake Box Intel Comet Lake Box Intel Comet Lake Box

Getting the Core i5-10600K out of the box we have a retail chip. The chip looks much like other Intel processors, here are a few shots of the front and back.

Intel Core i5-10600K Processor Intel Core i5-10600K Processor

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