Compared to Intel’s previous line of processors, codenamed Coffee Lake, the new Comet Lake CPUs, Intel Core i5-10600K included, keep the same number of cores, but ramp up both the base and the turbo frequencies. That can only mean good news for users and should bring Intel’s i5 mid-range processors up to par with AMD’s. Is all that true, and how does the Intel Core i5-10600K measure against the competition? Read this review and find out more about the latest Core i5-10600K processor from Intel:
Intel Core i5-10600K: Who is it good for?
The Intel Core i5-10600K is the processor you should get if you:
- Are a gamer and want one of the best Intel desktop processors for gaming
- Need an excellent processor for work and productivity apps
- Want to upgrade to Intel’s latest generation of processors and motherboards
Pros and cons
After we finished reviewing the Intel Core i5-10600K, here’s what we like about it:
- Outstanding performance in gaming
- Excellent for productivity and business use
- Cool temperatures at all times
- It’s unlocked, so you can overclock it if you want
- It has a reasonable price
- Integrated graphics chip
On the not-so-great side of things, the Intel Core i5-10600K:
- Offers no support for PCI Express 4.0
- Has a high TDP
- Uses the LGA 1200 socket, so you need a new motherboard for it
- Doesn’t bundle a CPU cooler, like Ryzen 5 processors do
The Intel Core i5-10600K is a great desktop processor for productivity tasks and an outstanding choice for gaming. It offers serious performance, both single-core and multi-core, and it proves that Intel can finally compete with AMD’s Zen 2 processors. Intel is behind AMD when it comes to their manufacturing process, and this means that all its processors, including the Core i5-10600K use more power than AMD Zen 2 processors. Another downside is that they don’t provide support for PCI Express 4.0, which represents the future for fast video cards and SSD drives. Leaving these downsides aside, if you want a great processor, that works well with today’s games and other computing-intensive apps, the Intel Core i5-10600K is an excellent choice.
The Intel Core i5-10600K desktop processor was launched in the second quarter of 2020, and its recommended price is about 260 USD. It’s a CPU built on Intel’s 14 nm manufacturing process and comes with 6 physical cores and 12 threads. Its base frequency is 4.10 GHz, and it can reach an impressive maximum turbo frequency of 4.8 GHz. Both the base and the turbo boost clocks are faster than what the previous generation Intel Core i5-9600K offered (3.7 GHz and 4.6 GHz).
Regarding cache memory, the Intel Core i5-10600K gets 12 MB, which is more than the previous Intel Core i5-9600K had: 9 MB. However, it’s a lesser amount than what an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X offers for a fairly similar price, or an AMD Ryzen 5 3600X, which is cheaper, but close to the Core i5-10600K in terms of performance.
One thing that differentiates the Intel Core i5-10600K is the fact that it also comes with an integrated graphics chip. It’s an Intel UHD Graphics 630 with a base frequency of 350 MHz and a maximum of 1.20 GHz that supports 4K resolution at 60 Hz. It also features support for DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.5 and can use up to 64 GB of the system’s RAM.
The default TDP (Thermal Design Power) of the Intel Core i5-10600K is 125 Watts. That’s quite a lot, much more than what we saw on the Intel Core i5-9600K and also much more than AMD’s similar processors. Unfortunately, this means that we’re looking at a CPU that probably needs a lot of power to run. It’s a consequence of both the fact that its frequencies are high and that Intel is still using the 14 nm lithography.
Intel’s Core i5-10600K supports DDR4 RAM running at 2666 MHz in dual-channel mode and can only use PCI Express 3.0. Although these specs are OK in the present, they are behind AMD’s Zen 2 processors, which support faster memory and also PCI Express 4.0.
The Intel Core i5-10600K processor uses Intel’s latest LGA socket, which, at the moment, is available only on the premium and costly motherboards that use the Z490 chipset. More affordable motherboards based on H470 or B460 chipsets that support this range of processors should come in the near future. However, right now, if you’re longing for an Intel Core i5-10600K, you should be prepared to also spend quite a bit of money on a Z490 mainboard. These motherboards can cost anywhere from 150 USD to 800 USD or more.
The Intel Core i5-10600K appears to be an excellent mid-range desktop processor. Its six cores should deliver more than enough performance for any kind of regular activity, and its high base and turbo boost frequencies should make it an outstanding choice for high-end gaming.
Performance in benchmarks and games
We tested the Intel Core i5-10600K processor on a PC with the following hardware and software:
- Motherboard: ASUS TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS (WI-FI)
- Cooler: ASUS ROG Ryuo 240 all-in-one liquid CPU cooler
- Memory: ADATA DDR4 RAM (2 x 8GB, 2666MHz)
- Graphics Card: ASUS TUF RTX 2060 GAMING OC
- Storage: ADATA XPG GAMMIX S11 240GB SSD
- Power Supply Unit: ASUS ROG Thor 850W Platinum
- Operating System: Windows 10 Pro x64 with May 2020 Update
To get a better idea about the performance offered by the Intel Core i5-10600K, we compared it with an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X processor because their prices are similar, and we already had the 3700X mounted in one of our computers. Except for the motherboard we used for the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X (ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero Wi-Fi), all the other hardware components were identical on both computers.
First, we benchmarked the Intel Core i5-10600K using CPU-Z. In the Single Thread test, it got an excellent score of 516 points. It means top-notch single-core performance, which is great for gaming. The Intel Core i5-10600K is only 0.58% slower than the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X.
In CPU-Z’s Multi-Thread test, Intel Core i5-10600K achieved a score of 4056 points. It’s less than what the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X can do. Still, it’s an excellent result considering that the 3700X has two physical cores more than the Intel Core i5-10600K.
We witnessed the same difference in performance in Cinebench R20, which evaluates the processor performance at rendering. This benchmark’s multi-thread test uses all the processor cores, and the Intel Core i5-10600K managed 3482 points. It is an outstanding result for a six-core CPU. Obviously, AMD Ryzen 7 3700X’s eight cores lead to a better result in this test.
In the Blender Benchmark, we chose to render two scenes: bmw27 and classroom. In these tests, the faster the processor, the less time needed to finalize the scenes. The Intel Core i5-10600K was slower than the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X, due to its fewer cores. However, the Core i5-10600K still managed a great result: 16 minutes to render both scenes.
Next, we ran PCMark 10, a benchmark app that evaluates the performance of the processor in regular daily activities. That means web browsing, video conferencing, app start-up times, productivity, and digital content creation. In these tests, Intel Core i5-10600K had a score that was similar to that of the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X. Although it has six cores, not eight like the 3700X, the Core i5-10600K was only 2.15% slower.
7-Zip is a file compression app that’s great for checking how fast your processor is. Using its benchmark, we found that the Intel Core i5-10600K can deliver a steady data compression speed of about 40 MB/s, which is just 9.1% less than what you get from an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X.
The decompression speed that we measured using the Intel Core i5-10600K in 7-Zip was 667 MB/s. It’s 6.85% less than on an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X, but hey, don’t forget that it has two fewer physical cores.
The Intel Core i5-10600K should be an excellent choice for gaming, so that’s why our next tests were about that. To avoid bottlenecks, we configured the games we tested to run in 1080p resolution and with the lowest graphics quality settings.
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Intel Core i5-10600K got a CPU Render score of 265 frames per second, which is just 2.93% less than what we got on the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X. That’s really impressive! This CPU can run any game at maxed visuals if the graphics card can handle the burden too.
In Metro Exodus, one of the most taxing games we’ve seen, the Intel Core i5-10600K rendered an average of 139 frames per second. Once again, that’s a bit better than what the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X could manage: 1.46% more fps.
In World War Z, a game that’s optimized for multi-core processors, the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X was faster than the Intel Core i5-10600K: 225 vs. 200 fps. That means that the Intel Core i5-10600K is 12.5% slower than the Ryzen 3700X. Still, it is an outstanding result regardless of how you put it!
Finally, we also tested Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, another title that features impressive visuals and a very demanding game in terms of hardware power. The Intel Core i5-10600K proved to be slightly faster than the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X, although by an insignificant margin: 1.89% more fps rendered. The conclusion: Intel Core i5-10600K is not just good for gaming, it’s a fantastic processor that can run any game at maximum graphics quality!
To test the temperatures reached by the Intel Core i5-10600K, we stressed it with Prime95 while keeping an eye on it with Open Hardware Monitor. To cool the processor, we used an ASUS ROG Ryuo 240 AIO cooler and Arctic MX-4 thermal paste. As you can see in the chart below, the processor didn’t get hotter than 68 degrees Celsius, which is an excellent result.
On the other hand, the power consumption of the Intel Core i5-10600K proved to be quite high. It required up to 137 Watts, which is a lot more than the 90 Watts required by an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X.
The Intel Core i5-10600K proves to be a powerful contender in the world of desktop computer processors. With its six cores and fast single-core frequency, it delivers outstanding performance in work and productivity, and it shines when it comes to gaming. The only thing that’s not great is power consumption, which is higher than what the competition offers.
What is your opinion about the Intel Core i5-10600K?
Now you know why we like the Intel Core i5-10600K processor, and you also got to hear about its weaknesses. We’re happy to see Intel finally getting back in business and that it manages to compete with AMD’s Zen 2 processors. The heated competition between Intel and AMD can only be great for us, consumers. What’s your opinion on the matter? Let us know in the comments below whether you like the Intel Core i5-10600K and your reasons for that.