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[PC Gamer] i9-10900k review - "Comet Lake is here...."

Nov 5, 2016
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One Big Room, Full Of Bad Bitches

Review from Dave James of PC Gamer



The i9 10900K is the flagship CPU of the Comet Lake lineup and the fastest gaming CPU... but is that enough?

FOR
  • Fastest gaming performance
  • Overclocking potential
AGAINST
  • GPU has far greater impact on fps
  • Top performance requires power

But that 125W figure is only part of the story. Thanks to all Intel's Boost-y shenanigans there are multiple different power limits, of which 125W is only the first. When it was being really pushed in my test system the 10900K was drawing almost 200W into the package itself. For short term turbo performance the chip can draw up to 250W of power in order to hit its peak frequencies.







Verdict -

Whether through brute force, industrial design, or liberal power management, it has created a CPU that can blaze past anything AMD can offer in terms of pure clock speed

But, as with the 9900K, does having the fastest gaming processor really matter? With the graphics card doing most of the heavy lifting, at the sort of higher resolutions enthusiast gamers are going to be playing at, beyond a certain level the impact of the processor is pretty negligible.

Which all means you're only going to prioritise the 10900K as your CPU of choice as a gamer if you can't stand in good conscience buying a slice of silicon that isn't objectively the fastest, even if in reality it makes next to no difference. That's for the discerning DIY builder anyways,

With the AMD Zen 3 Ryzen 4000 CPUs set to arrive before the end of the year, the Ryzen 3000 chips are seeing some hefty discounts, and that means you can bag a 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X for $410 right now. If you're looking at the potential multi-threaded performance a 10-core Intel chip can offer, a 12-core processor that's some $120 cheaper will surely be turning your head.

Compared with an old $989 Skylake 14nm 10-core chip, the Core i9 7900X, the difference is stark. At stock settings the 10900K absolutely smashes it on all counts and even clock-for-clock, with both running at 4GHz, the Comet Lake CPU is quicker, runs at half the temperature, and consumes 60W less juice at peak.


Three years after the 7900X topped the Intel CPU lists it has released a faster processor, on a new mainstream platform, for half price.
 
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Jigsaah

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I'm going AMD next the next Ryzen comes out. Quick question, will the motherboard be likely supported in their next releases?
 
Mar 23, 2018
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The logic of this site is something else


1) They showcase multicore performance, while if you want multicore performance u will go for a ryzen 3950x or whatever that 16 core is called.

2) Then they come with blazing fast 5,3ghz on a single core which is utterly useless, but if all cores are boosted its 4,9ghz which falls short of 9900ks or a ocing 9900k at 5ghz.

3) CPU performance doesn't matter, this guy honestly should play games like anno 1800 / ac odyssey ultra / they are billions and come and call back on how insanely fast a 9900k is, thing gets dumpstered in there.

rofl
 

eNT1TY

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I too shall possibly go AMD next time around, perhaps look into their 2021 line-up. I knew what i was getting into when jumping into a z390 system regarding future socket support but it still sucks knowing that i can't upgrade beyond my 9900k in any meaningful way. Hope AMD doesn't start imitating that aspect of intel for future socket compatibility going forward, they have been great in that regard thus far. So impressed with what AMD has been releasing that comet lake barely excites me.
 

J3nga

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I'm going AMD next the next Ryzen comes out. Quick question, will the motherboard be likely supported in their next releases?
Like how next? B450/X470/X570/B550 will support Ryzen 4000, but it'll be the last gen on a AM4 socket then we'll get DDR5 rams and the socket will have to be changed.
 
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llien

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Single core performance is still a big deal for many applications.

1) Quote is about clock speed specifically. This is Prescott levels of retarded.
3) There isn't a single meaningful discipline where Intel "blazes past AMD", although there is a number of cases of the opposite
 

Jigsaah

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Like how next? B450/X470/X570/B550 will support Ryzen 4000, but it'll be the last gen on a AM4 socket then we'll get DDR5 rams and the socket will have to be changed.
Oh ok thanks for the info on that. Ryzen 4000 was what I was looking at. With an x570
 

thelastword

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Someone is trying to sell those Intel chips. It makes no sense to buy 10900k now when Ryzen 4000 looms with a crush load of performance in gaming and a stretching of its lead in productivity software.
 
Nov 5, 2016
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Someone is trying to sell those Intel chips. It makes no sense to buy 10900k now when Ryzen 4000 looms with a crush load of performance in gaming and a stretching of its lead in productivity software.

I just bought a x570 MOBO and waiting to either get a 3900x or a 4000 series chip depending on how that shakes out. Seems hard to beat the AMD CPUs for overall value/performance right now
 
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RespawnX

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Like how next? B450/X470/X570/B550 will support Ryzen 4000, but it'll be the last gen on a AM4 socket then we'll get DDR5 rams and the socket will have to be changed.

Are you sure? As far as I remember DDR5 is off the table for the next year consumer market. DDR5 should arrive with PCIe 5.0 2022 on consumer market. So we are talking about Zen 3+ (?) with Ryzen 5000.
DDR5 2021 yes, but only for high performance/server products.
 
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Alexios

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New intel CPU estimated to be $500+, getting creamed in all but the most singlest core tasks (in an age where both rival companies invest in more and more cores and threads mind you) by the 3900X, a $400 CPU (and not the highest end from AMD).

Pretty sad news for Intel because despite it winning the single core point, it's only winning by like 5%, while the AMD chip is killing it with like 20% better scores when it is scoring higher.

The 10900K is solid for Photoshop though, by a wide margin. It fucking loves power though. You'll need 300W for that chip. The AMD 3950X is at 240 for productivity tasks.

For gaming the Intel chip is quite the winner until you get to the GPU limit. From 1440p and upwards they are basically identical but it is the world's fastest gaming CPU.

So, basically, expect Leonidas to make another "Intel still the gaming king" thread when this thing launches, lol. If you only game and you want to eek out 15 more fps at 1080p (so 240 fps instead of 225) the Intel is your place to be.

Though the Intel has a few fps over the AMD at 1440p still we're talking like 5 fps and it'll vary by game, with Ryzen popularity there won't be a big gap in optimization for them any more.

Edit: I'm paraphrasing a discord conversation with a game developer (programmer who has worked with a variety of engines the last couple decades) friend of mine, in case the usual trolls - with no arguments - try to claim anyone who says this is just talking ignorant shit, lol.

As if I have a stake in either company unlike the likes of Leo & Ken, I've never even bought an AMD CPU but obviously things will change by next year as I'm due a system overhaul if Intel keeps being shit like this.
 
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RespawnX

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Oct 25, 2018
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New intel CPU estimated to be $500+, getting creamed in all but the most singlest core tasks (in an age where both rival companies invest in more and more cores and threads mind you) by the 3900X, a $400 CPU.

Pretty sad news for Intel because despite it winning the single core point, it's only winning by like 5%, while the AMD chip is killing it with like 20% better scores when it is scoring higher.

The 10900K is solid for Photoshop though, by a wide margin. It fucking loves power though. You'll need 300W for that chip. The AMD 3950X is at 240 for productivity tasks.

For gaming the Intel chip is quite the winner until you get to the GPU limit. From 1440p and upwards they are basically identical but it is the world's fastest gaming CPU.

So, basically, expect Leonidas to make another "Intel still the gaming king" thread when this thing launches, lol. If you only game and you want to eek out 15 more fps at 1080p (so 240 fps instead of 225) the Intel is your place to be.

Though the Intel has a few fps over the AMD at 1440p still we're talking like 5 fps and it'll vary by game, with Ryzen popularity there won't be a big gap in optimization for them any more.

Can't find anything sexy on this CPU but Intel seems to be self-confident. They need 10% more clock speed and 30% more energy to get 3-6% single core advantage (on old game engines). You can get another 5% per overclock, with massive power consumption and heat problems. As you said, we don't even need to talk multi task applications. Mainboard prices high so the CPU prices. Additionally you have to pay the higher energy consumption and you need a better and more expensive cooling solution. World is moving towards 1440p and 4k, so you can't even see the "small advantage" in real world. Lowest rumor for Ryzen 4000 IPC gain is around 7-10%. So at the moment there are little reasons to stick with Intel. In a few months there are no reasons. Only reason at the moment to buy this thing, if you go for 1080p and high fps. Even there you should save the additionally $150-200 for this Intel generation, get an AMD and a (far) better GPU for your saved money. This difference will be really measurable.
 

GHG

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New intel CPU estimated to be $500+, getting creamed in all but the most singlest core tasks (in an age where both rival companies invest in more and more cores and threads mind you) by the 3900X, a $400 CPU (and not the highest end from AMD).

Pretty sad news for Intel because despite it winning the single core point, it's only winning by like 5%, while the AMD chip is killing it with like 20% better scores when it is scoring higher.

The 10900K is solid for Photoshop though, by a wide margin. It fucking loves power though. You'll need 300W for that chip. The AMD 3950X is at 240 for productivity tasks.

For gaming the Intel chip is quite the winner until you get to the GPU limit. From 1440p and upwards they are basically identical but it is the world's fastest gaming CPU.

So, basically, expect Leonidas to make another "Intel still the gaming king" thread when this thing launches, lol. If you only game and you want to eek out 15 more fps at 1080p (so 240 fps instead of 225) the Intel is your place to be.

Though the Intel has a few fps over the AMD at 1440p still we're talking like 5 fps and it'll vary by game, with Ryzen popularity there won't be a big gap in optimization for them any more.

This is the thing, if you still game at 1080p and you only game then you can make a case for the i9 but surely most PC gamers are looking to make the jump to 1440p by now if they haven't already?

Even still, if it's just for gaming, the i5 is the better buy on the Intel side of things but even that's hard to recommend in light of the current 3700x pricing.
 

J3nga

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Are you sure? As far as I remember DDR5 is off the table for the next year consumer market. DDR5 should arrive with PCIe 5.0 2022 on consumer market. So we are talking about Zen 3+ (?) with Ryzen 5000.
DDR5 2021 yes, but only for high performance/server products.
I might be wrong, but DDR5 ain't too far away. But then again, ryzen 4000 series is the last gen AM4 socket, if DDR5 for consumers only in 2022? What's it gonna be in 2021? Make a gap I would guess, because releasing something would leave us with no upgrade path.
 

llien

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Imagine thinking these cpu's are only useful for 200+fps 1080p gaming.

No, not just 200+fps 1080p, but for gaming at that resolution with $1.3k GPU.

There practically is no use case for this abomination, bar "I want to stick with this company".

And even with this "gaming champion" in newer games one risks seeing this (XCOM: Chimera Squad)

 
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Mar 23, 2018
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No, not just 200+fps 1080p, but for gaming at that resolution with $1.3k GPU.

There practically is no use case for this abomination, bar "I want to stick with this company".

And even with this "gaming champion" in newer games one risks seeing this (XCOM: Chimera Squad)


What is gaming champion even supposed to mean, because the game barely taxes CPU's at all.

Now lets look at that benchmark.

9900k performing like a 2600 ryzen yea seems totally legit and about right, what did they even do with that 9900k? did they underclock it or something? because there is no way in hell that 9900k is losing out on a 3600.

Here's another one from the same game.



Oh now it makes sense. maybe that bencher should recheck his 9900k system, its probably burned down or something. Obviously critical thinking lacks with AMD fanboy n1 illien because you know even looking for 2 seconds at that benchmark would tell you something is up.

Oh and that's base clock by the way. imagine ocing that thing to 5ghz on all cores.

Anyway this game barely taxes CPU's it seems tho, 200 fps is kinda weak sauce taxation. Go play anno 1800 or ac odyssey and see your fps sit around the 60/30 fps minimums even at 720p with ultra settings on a 9900k, higher resolutions aren't going to change any of this or any gpu for that matter other than lower then that performance.

This is why resolution arguments are laughable at best because GPU's get faster and replaced more often then CPU's at the end which will make that difference even more noticable the longer u have the CPU in your system.


It's ok, Leonidas Leonidas will hug you to sleep.

Dat moment when u can't come with arguments but needs to shout random shit in order to validate your garbage. It's a typical intel/amd thread where amd fanboys endlessly shit up reality because it doesn't favor there mentally invested stocks they got in AMD there company.

They try to spin reality in such way everything is shit when it comes to intel but god its amazing when AMD does it and its great. By posting all kinds of bullshit charts, useless benchmarks done with useless metrics. Have a good one i won't be reacting to your troll posts anymore that's for sure, and i would appreciate it if you would stop quoting me in the future also.
 
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Arun1910

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I was going to pick this up as an upgrade to my poor i7700 but I'm starting to think waiting for the Ryzen 4000 series would be better.
 

Armorian

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I was going to pick this up as an upgrade to my poor i7700 but I'm starting to think waiting for the Ryzen 4000 series would be better.

Of course it will be, avoid anything they make in 14nm, so "next generation" (RL) too. Oh and I don't know why they even made this series when Rocket Lake is coming in few months with some new core architecture finally and PCIE 4.0 support. With IPC improvments and higher clocks (than Z2) Ryzen 4xxx will just destroy current Intel offerings (as they are for the most part right now).
 
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llien

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9900k performing like a 2600 ryzen yea seems totally legit and about right

Try to read this slowly: even first gen Zen we had multi-threading heavy benchmarks beating Intel CPUs with THE SAME NUMBER OF CORES .

As for "ComputerBase doesn't know how to test CPUs", uh, give me a break.

Last, but not least, newer games performing much better even on first gen Zens, shows how nonsensical "futurepoofing" $1.3k GPU @ 1080p tests are.


I was going to pick this up as an upgrade to my poor i7700 but I'm starting to think waiting for the Ryzen 4000 series would be better.
Yeah, in any case, as they are expected at around September and are rumored to have 2 digit IPC bump.
 
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GHG

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What is gaming champion even supposed to mean, because the game barely taxes CPU's at all.

Now lets look at that benchmark.

9900k performing like a 2600 ryzen yea seems totally legit and about right, what did they even do with that 9900k? did they underclock it or something? because there is no way in hell that 9900k is losing out on a 3600.

Here's another one from the same game.



Oh now it makes sense. maybe that bencher should recheck his 9900k system, its probably burned down or something. Obviously critical thinking lacks with AMD fanboy n1 illien because you know even looking for 2 seconds at that benchmark would tell you something is up.

Oh and that's base clock by the way. imagine ocing that thing to 5ghz on all cores.

Anyway this game barely taxes CPU's it seems tho, 200 fps is kinda weak sauce taxation. Go play anno 1800 or ac odyssey and see your fps sit around the 60/30 fps minimums even at 720p with ultra settings on a 9900k, higher resolutions aren't going to change any of this or any gpu for that matter other than lower then that performance.

This is why resolution arguments are laughable at best because GPU's get faster and replaced more often then CPU's at the end which will make that difference even more noticable the longer u have the CPU in your system.




Dat moment when u can't come with arguments but needs to shout random shit in order to validate your garbage. It's a typical intel/amd thread where amd fanboys endlessly shit up reality because it doesn't favor there mentally invested stocks they got in AMD there company.

They try to spin reality in such way everything is shit when it comes to intel but god its amazing when AMD does it and its great. By posting all kinds of bullshit charts, useless benchmarks done with useless metrics. Have a good one i won't be reacting to your troll posts anymore that's for sure, and i would appreciate it if you would stop quoting me in the future also.

Dat moment where you have to chop off the context surrounding a graph in order to validate your continued support and purchases of Intel products.

Do you play games between 720-1080p or something? Do you spend all that money to have the "best" hardware only to play at super low resolutions in order to feel the "superior" gaming performance that Intel provides?
 
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iHaunter

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Intel is embarrassing themselves. I still regret getting an i9 9900K.... How can they possibly not have the foresight to released PCIe 4.0 support? These speeds are atrocious.
 

LordOfChaos

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Chasing clock speeds to counter AMD. Ah, takes me back to the Netburst days. Good times...Ish.
 

Dane

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10-15% at best, this is a refresh for me and they still force a new motherboard and a much higher consumption. The good thing here is that they added more cores on all CPU.

Just a tip, both 3700x and 3900X are being sold at 290 and 410 respectively at Amazon.
 
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Rikkori

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I think you could legitimately make arguments for the 9900K at the time, but for me the 10900k is much more in doubt because we are that much closer to the next-gen. You WANT PCI-e 4.0 for the SSD at least, and there's also a real question in terms of how much will the better decompression results for Ryzen 3000 actually end up mattering? (eg in UE5 for Nanite) Because for now the game development paradigm hasn't changed, so the simple ST advantage the 10900k has is enough to win many fights in various games, but will it hold going forward? It's important to know, especially as it will likely be overpriced due to limited supply. And that's ofc ignoring Ryzen 4000 which are coming and no doubt will be near parity (if not better) in ST and all.

I dunno, it looks like a paper launch from Intel so that they at least seem alive still, but it doesn't look like a serious attempt at fighting back. Personally, I wouldn't buy one atm. Too many ?s and outside of Optane support I'm kinda meh on Intel.
 
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Insane Metal

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What is gaming champion even supposed to mean, because the game barely taxes CPU's at all.

Now lets look at that benchmark.

9900k performing like a 2600 ryzen yea seems totally legit and about right, what did they even do with that 9900k? did they underclock it or something? because there is no way in hell that 9900k is losing out on a 3600.

Here's another one from the same game.



Oh now it makes sense. maybe that bencher should recheck his 9900k system, its probably burned down or something. Obviously critical thinking lacks with AMD fanboy n1 illien because you know even looking for 2 seconds at that benchmark would tell you something is up.

Oh and that's base clock by the way. imagine ocing that thing to 5ghz on all cores.

Anyway this game barely taxes CPU's it seems tho, 200 fps is kinda weak sauce taxation. Go play anno 1800 or ac odyssey and see your fps sit around the 60/30 fps minimums even at 720p with ultra settings on a 9900k, higher resolutions aren't going to change any of this or any gpu for that matter other than lower then that performance.

This is why resolution arguments are laughable at best because GPU's get faster and replaced more often then CPU's at the end which will make that difference even more noticable the longer u have the CPU in your system.




Dat moment when u can't come with arguments but needs to shout random shit in order to validate your garbage. It's a typical intel/amd thread where amd fanboys endlessly shit up reality because it doesn't favor there mentally invested stocks they got in AMD there company.

They try to spin reality in such way everything is shit when it comes to intel but god its amazing when AMD does it and its great. By posting all kinds of bullshit charts, useless benchmarks done with useless metrics. Have a good one i won't be reacting to your troll posts anymore that's for sure, and i would appreciate it if you would stop quoting me in the future also.
Why are the AMD CPUs with 248 and 250 coming behind Intel's 240 in that graph?

Edit: nevermind, lower minimum fps I guess
 
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GHG

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Why are the AMD CPUs with 248 and 250 coming behind Intel's 240 in that graph?

Edit: nevermind, lower minimum fps I guess

Yeh it's ranked based on minimum FPS. But even then its disingenuous to post that graph considering all the minimum framerates for the CPU's being discussed are well above the maximum most monitors are able to output.
 
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GreatnessRD

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I just bought a x570 MOBO and waiting to either get a 3900x or a 4000 series chip depending on how that shakes out. Seems hard to beat the AMD CPUs for overall value/performance right now

The 3900x just got another price drop from AMD. They really make shit hard in life, lol. But I'll keep my spartan reserve and burn this 2600 up until AM5.