Intel I5-10600k Review

Intel 10th Generation gave us the extreme heat i9-10900k, a powerhouse of a CPU, but at nearly $500 it may be out of reach for many users. Intel’s i5 10600k comes into play at $263.00—bringing 6 cores and 12 threads with a base frequency of 4.10GHz and Turbo Frequency of 4.8GHz to the z490 Chipset, offering 12MB of Intels Smart Cache with a Max memory of 128 GBs @ 2666MHz. The i5 sounds like it could be the perfect medium to high range CPU for users wanting a fantastic price to performance processor. So, let’s dig right into what makes this processor amazing.

Intel Z490 Chipset

The 10th Gen series CPUs supports up to 10 Total USB 3.2 Ports (Up to 6 USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 and up to 10 USB 3.2 Gen 1×1) and 14 USB 2.0 Ports, so connectivity will never be a problem. It also introduces Intels Wi-Fi 6(GIG+) which offers up to 3x faster Wi-Fi on Intel based Wi-Fi 6 routers, offering up more responsive gaming, uninterrupted video conferencing and improved protection from wireless hacking.

Getting into specs we’ll be comparing the i5-10600k to the i5-9600k.

 

Essentials

9th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processors10th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processors
Vertical SegmentDesktopDesktop
Processor Numberi5-9600Ki5-10600K
StatusLaunchedLaunched
Launch DateQ4’18Q2’20
Lithography14 nm14 nm
Included ItemsPlease note: The boxed product does not include a fan or heat sink
Use ConditionsPC/Client/TabletPC/Client/Tablet
Bus Speed
TDP
Supports Overclocking
Recommended Customer Price$262.00 – $263.00$262.00 – $263.00

 

Intel stays with 14nm Lithography for the i5-10600k. The main drawback of this card is the Thermal wattage or the heat this mid-range card makes. With 7nm Lithography out from AMD, we only wonder what has kept Intel from joining in the 7nm process. At $263.00, the price point is perfect and effectively gives you a top tier processor anyone can buy.

 

Performance

9th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processors 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processors 
# of Cores66
# of Threads612
Processor Base Frequency3.70 GHz4.10 GHz
Max Turbo Frequency4.60 GHz4.80 GHz
Cache9 MB Intel® Smart Cache12 MB Intel® Smart Cache
Bus Speed8 GT/s8 GT/s
TDP95 W125 W
Configurable TDP-down Frequency3.80 GHz
Configurable TDP-down95 W
Intel® Thermal Velocity Boost Frequency
Intel® Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 Frequency ‡

 

The i5-10600k will be the replacement for Intels i5-9600k, with Hyper-Threading enabled to have 12 threads, putting it up against even the i9 9900k in specific applications. This upgrade is significant as it shows Intel’s willingness to listen to its consumers who deserve a powerful midrange card capable of handling multiple workloads. With AMD’s midrange CPUs offering Hyper-Threading, Intel also had to come back with their own to stay competitive. For core clocks, the i5-10600k sees a boost in base frequency at 4.10GHz with a turbo to an astounding 4.80GHz and, I’m sure with proper cooling, it might even hit 5.0GHz. To support those extra workloads, Intel adds 3MB Smart Cache to the 10600k. At 12MB, frequently used applications will load blazingly fast, improving overall workflow for even the most demanding user. Unfortunately, Intel opted not to include Turbo Boost Technology 3.0, taking 2.0 instead. While they still do offer substantial boost clocks, I believe that if Intel had chosen to use 3.0, eaching core clocks of 5.0GHz would have easily been attained. However, Intel has reserved 3.0 and Intel Thermal Velocity Boost for the flagship i9-10900k. One thing that also stands out is the TDP, sharing the same 125W TDP as the i9-10900k, this boost in thermals would mean a look at your current cooling situation. Your budget cooler may be able to keep temps in the high 60s, but once you start overclocking and putting workloads on the cores, temperatures will rise to the high 70s low 80s in no time, which will essentially  thermal throttle your CPU and waste precious performance.

 

Memory

9th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processors 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processors 
Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type)128 GB128 GB
Memory TypesDDR4-2666DDR4-2666
Max # of Memory Channels22
Max Memory Bandwidth41.6 GB/s41.6 GB/s
ECC Memory Supported ‡NoNo

 

The i5 stays the same in the memory category. A max of 128GB @ 2666 with a 41.6GB/s creates less worry among users in regards to extreme memory speeds in a balanced position. Intel most likely kept this spec to keep the price within an affordable range. You can get Corsairs Vengeance LPX [email protected] for about $80 on Amazon. With XMP enabled the i5 quickly hits 3000MHz showing the capabilities over improved memory control in the i5-10600k.

Processor Graphics

9th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processors  10th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processors  
Processor Graphics ‡Intel® UHD Graphics 630Intel® UHD Graphics 630
Graphics Base Frequency350 MHz350 MHz
Graphics Max Dynamic Frequency1.15 GHz1.20 GHz
Graphics Video Max Memory64 GB64 GB
4K SupportYes, at 60HzYes, at 60Hz
Max Resolution (HDMI 1.4)‡4096×[email protected]4096×[email protected]
Max Resolution (DP)‡4096×[email protected]4096×[email protected]
Max Resolution (eDP – Integrated Flat Panel)‡4096×[email protected]4096×[email protected]
DirectX* Support1212
OpenGL* Support4.54.5
Intel® Quick Sync VideoYesYes
Intel® InTru™ 3D TechnologyYesYes
Intel® Clear Video HD TechnologyYesYes
Intel® Clear Video TechnologyYesYes
# of Displays Supported ‡33
Device ID0x3E980x9BC5

 

Graphic Performance

Intel didn’t change much in the integrated GPU part of the 10th Gen for i5. Same Intel UHD 630, holding 350MHz base clock, with a dynamic clock of 1.2GHz, shared Memory of 64GBs with 4k support at 60Hz. One thing that did change was the max resolution of HDMI 1.4 with the 10th Gen support 4096×[email protected] 30Hz vs. 9th Gens 4096×[email protected] Intel stuck to the same specs with DirectX and Intels Graphics Suite, though most CPU users will likely have a dedicated GPU already warmed up. Some motherboard manufacturers like ASUS have even opted not to have an output display on some of their flagship motherboards I/O, helping the performance of LN2 and water-cooled benchmarks, and opening the door to the possibility of a non-IGPU version of the 10600k.

 

Expansion Options

Scalability1S Only1S Only
PCI Express Revision33
PCI Express Configurations ‡Up to 1×16, 2×8, 1×8+2×4Up to 1×16, 2×8, 1×8+2×4
Max # of PCI Express Lanes1616

 

Expansion

10th Gen provides a max 16 PCIe lanes from the CPU, letting you having configurations up to 1×16, 2×8, and 1×8+2×4. M.2 SSDs share bandwidth with the z490 Chipset(PCH) letting you have up to 1×16 +4(PCH). Some users may find this problematic for multiple m.2 and multi GPU or PCIe cards, as you will have to pick between onboard m.2 storage or PCIe storage, or you may need an m.2 SSD in x2 rather than x4, which limits performance.

 

Socket Support

Sockets SupportedFCLGA1151FCLGA1200
Max CPU Configuration11
Thermal Solution SpecificationPCG 2015DPCG 2015D
TJUNCTION100°C100°C
Package Size37.5mm x 37.5mm37.5mm x 37.5mm

 

Intel introduces a new socket, the LGA12000. It uses a modified design of LGA 1151, with 49 more pins on it, improving power delivery and offering support for future features. Pin 1 has shifted socket keying to the left making it incompatible with 115x and under platforms.


Jumping Into Testing

For testing, Intel provided ASUS Maximus XII Extreme W/latest BIOS and their Intel i9-10900k and i5-10600k. This review and testing will be solely on the performance of the i5-10600k. For the graphics card, we’ll use the king Nvidia 2080ti Aorus Xtreme 11G (Asus Maximus XII Extreme does not come with video outputs on the I/O), Corsairs Vengeance LPX @3000 Mhz, EVGA 1300 watt PSU (Overkill I know, or is it?), and WD_Black 1TB M.2, and Windows 10.0.18363. For cooling this extreme CPU, we went with EKs supremacy Block and 360mm Rad w/EK-Furious Vardar EVOs-120MMfans.

 

Overclocking in CinabenchR20

Intel i5-10600k has a boost clock of 4.8GHz. To test stability at 4.8GHz, I used Intel Extreme Tuning Utility, which gives me advanced controls over each core and power ratio. Using CinabenchR20, we first ran a multi-core test.

Two test runs set at the same speed gave a Cinabench score of 3,578 in Multicore benchmark, placing it just above AMD Ryzens 1700x. Running a single core netted a score of 484, putting the i5 in its well-deserved place just behind the i9-10900k. Temperatures weren’t dangerously high and measured in at about 72C as stated on the package.

Not wanting to back down from a good run, I decided to step it up a notch to 4.9GHz and run Cinabench another time. This resulted in an increased score of 3,600.

Still not backing down from the challenge, I set the clock ratio to 5.0Ghz and tried to run Cinabench…

Cinabench was about halfway complete before this crash occurred, resulting in the blue screen, and each test after that resulted in the same crash in the same place. A more in-depth test, and possibly better cooling, could help troubleshoot precisely where and why the PC might crash when attempting a 5Ghz overclock. I was able to snag a quick screenshot though, before the crash.

The initial testing looked promising and just shortly after taking this screenshot, temps spiked to 75C capping at 135W draw, and held for couple of seconds before the inevitable blue screen of death appeared.

 

CPU-Z

CPU-Z is a standard in collecting benchmark data on your entire system, with active tables showing exact core speed and the multiplier it’s running at. Through CPU-Z, we can run and single thread, and multithread and then compare the reference CPU speed to our own.

CPU-Z gave the Intel i5-10600k a score of 527/single thread and 3,972 in multithread. Comparing to 9th Gen i5-9600k, the 10600k was unable to beat out its older brother in the CPU-z multithread benchmark. I found this interesting, knowing Intels multithreaded CPUs generally aren’t the “show light” AMDs are known for. Because of Intel’s higher clocks on single-core ratios, performance for multithreaded applications usually suffers. We see it compares with the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 CPU being neck and neck with it, which puts the i5 in the mid-range category for applications requiring medium workloads. It’s also an excellent budget gamer CPU ensuring high and stable fps.

In CPU-Z’s single-core benchmark at stock speed, the 10600k comes steering in above some of AMDs top CPUs and coming close to Intels i9-9900k. I’m sure a pure overclock will get us above the 9900k.

Now that’s better! At 4902.4MHz we’re able to beat the i9-9900k in single-core, achieving a score of 578, and gaining 51 points! In the multi-core, we jumped ahead of the AMD Ryzen 5 3600x by over 200 points, putting the i5-10600k in first place of 12 threaded CPUs.

 

FutureMark Suite

FutureMark, the company behind 3DMark, PCMark, and VRMark, is an industry leader in benchmarks. FutureMark offers a wealth of testing tools, system configurations and an easy to use interface that automatically uploads to FutureMarks website for easy comparisons around the world.

We’ll start with 3DMark, which evaluates CPU and GPU performance in a gaming environment. And for the game we’ll start with TimeSpy, the lead benchmark from 3DMark.

The results were better than high-end gaming PCs, which is alright. We achieved a score of 12899 @4.9Ghz. CPU test scored 29fps. So for massive AI games, turn-times and response times may become slower as more densely populated objects appear on the screen.

 

TimeSpy Extreme

We took things to a new level and tested its 4k abilities.

 

Port Royal

This benchmark test shows how the CPU and GPU communicate in an RTX partnership, testing fps with DLSS on/off.

Although, if you have something like an RTX 2080ti, you’ll most likely have the i5’s bigger brother, the i9. The power ratio of the i9 will certainly help to increase performance. A score of 8,576 places you in a good position if you choose to go this route. However, we did note a bottleneck at 1440p, as 39.70 is hardly playable in intense action games.

 

VRMark – Blue Room

The Blue Room benchmark uses future VR technology to test GPUs and CPUs.

The 2080ti, of course, tears through the VR benchmark with the i5 barely making a peep making it fully capable of handling future titles. A score of 4,579 puts it high above VRMarks “high-end PC” and will keep even those in the RTX2070 happily playing at a higher fps.

 

PCMark10 and PCMark Express

This benchmark tests everyday productivity and primary responsiveness between the CPU and cache using video conferencing, excel, and web-browsing tools.

As expected, the i5-10600k has reached a new ghost rank. In PCMark Express, we get a score of 6028, and in PCMark10 we get a score of 7,676. It’s no doubt that all upcoming 10th generation CPUs will achieve a score around this level. Higher clocks mean better performance.

 

Gaming!

Civilization VI

This is a very AI-driven game with huge maps and endless strategic possibilities. During late game matches, the screen could be filled up with towns, ships, and just about anything else. And of course, adding more resources only increases the power demands from your CPU. We tested the Latest Civ 6 DLC “Gathering Storm”, a game that adds weather elements to the using precious amounts of PC power. Nonetheless, the i5-10600k handled the Civ 6 benchmark without a peep.

Compared to i9-10900k, which scored a 29.29 for turn times, the i5-10600k isn’t too far behind. Although, I did happen to notice the extra 2 second delay time. So, players of Civ 6 and games alike might notice a difference in AI times if they are used to an individual “mental clock” on turn times.

 

COD: Warzone

This is a graphically intense game, and even my 2080ti struggled to reach my monitors adjusted Hz of 82. At 4k, COD: Warzone is certainly playable at 30fps and up to 55fps, but I did have slight stutters in speed, especially during this screenshot when smoke effects come into play. Looking at the graph, the 10600k reached 56c @4.9Ghz. Any higher than this, the system would certainly encounter bluescreen. CPU frame times were a little higher than the i5s bigger brother the i9-10900k. Also, 30ms times for the 2080ti shows a bottleneck from the CPU, as the 2080ti is a power hungry GPU, demanding top tier CPUs to help drive them.

 

Popular Games/1080p – 1440p

With 1080p still being the go-to monitor for newcomers to the PC world, users of this CPU will be excited to see high frames all around from the i5-10600k(Yellow) with 9th gens i7-9700k coming in close in all games.

1440p is on the rise too with more pixels on the screen, adding to the emersion factor. Many users of the i5-10600k will notice higher than 60fps gaming sessions. With Assassin’s Creed being the primary stress tester at 70fps, users hardly notice a dive when there’s tons of action on the screen. The i7-8700k stayed firmly behind, and in Assassins creed pushed ahead of the i5. With it ranging so closely to a past i7 CPU, it is safe to say the i5-10600k has come a long way in processing power and core counts. It has gained new ground in 6th Intel CPUs, and is now considered the replacement for 7th and 8th Gen i7-CPUs. I would imagine Intels 10th Gen i7s would be the middle of the road product for those that want to experience some of the power but not all of the cost associated with such CPUs. Although the i5-10600k is perfect for 1440p gaming, any higher CPU would be just gaining fps, which would only amount to maybe 5-8 extra frames. To test this, we’ll be making a more in-depth comparison between the frame rates of 10th Gen CPUs in a later review. Keep an eye out for that!

The i5-10600k is a fantastic CPU, built for gamers playing at 1080p to 1440p, or for creatives just getting into doing their first big project. With the rest of the Intels i5s line coming soon, the real test will be on how competitively priced and what features are brought out. There is no doubt Intel will make its non -K version, which is rumored to be at 65watts. It could compete very well with the K version in-office task and gaming, making it a better choice from the i5 family. So, the question you are probably asking is, “Should I buy the i5-10600k”? The answer here is yes and no. If you are new to the CPU world, or have a 7th Gen or older CPU, I recommend upgrading to the i5, hands down. However, if you are still rocking an 8th Gen CPU, I’d hold off, unless the extra cores are needed. The only significant gain from the i5-10600k is the ability to hyper thread all 6 cores and a boost in core clocks. At $239, it certainly seems like a lucrative deal, but I suggest holding out until the rest of Intel’s 10th Gen line comes out.

 

 

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