Intel has rolled out its 10th Gen chips to almost all of its laptop lineup at this point, and now, it’s time for desktops to get a turn. The company has announced its latest Comet Lake-S processors across its Core i9, i7, i5, and i3 lineups. Leading the range is the new Core i9-10900K, which offers 10 cores, 20 threads, a 125W TDP, boosted speeds up to 5.3GHz, and, according to Intel, it’s “the world’s fastest gaming processor.”
Despite the 10th Gen moniker, like Intel’s recent high-performance H-series laptop chips, the new desktop lineup still relies on Intel’s 14nm Skylake architecture, which it’s been using since 2015, not the 10nm process found in its Ice Lake chips.
But the fact that Intel is still using the older process isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the company has been able to continue to refine and build upon its earlier work, allowing for higher core and thread count and faster clock speeds compared to the 2018 9th Gen lineup. (For reference, the top 9th Gen chip was the i9-9900K, with eight cores, 16 threads, a base frequency of 3.6 GHz, and boosted speeds up to 5.0 GHz — all numbers that the i9-10900K has eclipsed.)
Along with the top-of-the-line $488 Core i9-10900K, Intel is announcing two more unlocked chips: the $374 Core-i7 10700K, with eight cores, 16 threads, a base clock speed of 3.8GHz, and boosted speeds up to 5.1GHz and the cheapest unlocked chip is the $262 Core i5-10600K, with six cores, 12 threads, a base clock speed of 4.1GHz and a boosted speed up to 4.8GHz.
The new chips reach those faster speeds thanks to new technologies offered on the high-end chips, including its Turbo Boost 3.0 technology and the “Thermal Velocity Boost” (which was introduced on the 10th Gen H-series laptop chips but limited to just the Core i9 chips here) that will increase clock speed when the processor is at a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius / 158 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, assuming there’s power available.
The new chips also support up to DDR4-2933 memory, support for up to 2.5 gigabit Ethernet, and, like the rest of the 10th Gen lineup, they feature integrated Wi-Fi 6 by default. One downside to the upgrade is that Intel is physically changing its socket configuration for the new lineup, so the new Comet Lake chips aren’t compatible with Coffee Lake motherboards — something to keep in mind if you’re looking to upgrade. The entire Core lineup also features Intel’s integrated UHD Graphics 630 (except the F-series variants, which don’t offer integrated graphics at all in exchange for a lower price).
Along with the more powerful 125W TDP unlocked lineup of processors (which can be found by looking for a “K” appended at the end of the model number), Intel is also debuting regular 65W 10th Gen chips across the i9, i7, i5, and i3 lineups, along with 35W T-series chips (which have a “T” at the end of their model numbers), which feature the same core and thread counts but lower clock speeds for less power-hungry builds.