Intel Core i9 10900KF - Review

Intel Core i9 10900KF - Review

Intel Comet Lake is still an attractive processor, but at the end of its life cycle because the release of a new generation of 11th generation Intel Core processors is being prepared in a few days. Maybe it's the right time, if you are a fan of the Intel platform, to start purchasing this processor and a new board due to the price correction. However, how good it is and how it copes with the growing AMD Ryzen competition. This is the right time to answer this question.

Intel Core i9 10900KF - Features

This processor is distinctive in many ways because it brought a model with 10 physical and 20 Hyper-Threading Technology (HTT) operating cores to the Intel desktop CPU solutions category for the first time. Undoubtedly, the AMD Ryzen 3000 series put pressure on Intel so the answer was expected - performance in "multithreading" situations had to be seriously improved for Intel Core to match the performance of the AMD Ryzen model. 

However, one thing is to be desired, and the other is to be achieved with the still older but improved 14nm transistor manufacturing process. Maintaining high turbo frequencies is a big challenge for engineers - due to energy consumption and high operating temperature.
 
The Intel Core i9 10900KF runs at a base frequency of 3.7 GHz, while with the help of Intel Turbo technology, individual cores accelerate to a maximum of 5.3 GHz. This processor also uses the Turbo Velocity function, which in the presence of a better cooling system, when the maximum value of the operating temperature is lower than expected, the processor feels the ability to accelerate multiple cores, not just a single, to 5.3 GHz.

 

Intel Core i9 10900KF Review CPU-z 1

Intel Core i9 10900KF Review CPU-z 2

Intel Core i9 10900KF Review CPU-z 3

 

The processor uses a total of 20 MB of Smart Cache memory and has a declared consumption of an average of 125W. It also has the possibility of a configurable TDP factor, so with the settings in the BIOS of the board, you can practically make an economical version of the CPU from it, which, according to the manufacturer, has an average consumption of 95W at a frequency of 3.3 GHz. 

So, the choice is yours - lower temperatures, lower consumption, and still the ability to perform 20 threads simultaneously at a frequency of just over 3 GHz or brutal performance with trips up to 5.3 GHz, when consumption and heating significantly increase and assume the installation of a top cooler.
 
Comet Lake in the Core i9 10900KF version, like other processors in this series, uses a dual-channel memory controller to work with DDR4 memories with a nominal operating frequency of 2933 MHz. It can be faster, but in "overclocking" mode. It is capable of addressing a total of 128 GB of RAM and, according to our measurements, delivers 35 GB / s data transfer under a Windows 10 system environment.

Intel Core i9 10900KF Review PCIE-3

The system controller in the processor has support for working with the PCIe 3.0 standard and has support for the operation of 16 communication paths, which are mostly used to work with the graphics card. It also supports the ability to work with multiple graphics cards and redistribute PCIe paths with the support of an adequate motherboard (1x16, 2x8, 1x8 + 2x4).
 
The processor comes in an LGA1200 package and can be used in combination with motherboards based around the Intel 400-series chipsets, as well as the latest based on the Intel 500 series intended for the 11th Intel Core generation processors. In a word, a board generation that supports a processor compatible with the LGA1200 socket. 

The maximum allowed operating temperature limit is 100 degrees, after which the processor activates the "throttling" security mechanism and lowers the operating frequency, protecting it from overheating and damage.

The Intel Core i9 10900KF does not have an integrated graphics core, which is why it has the added suffix "F" in the model designation. This means that you will need to use a separate graphics card in the process of configuring a PC system based on this processor. 

It also has support for accelerated execution of SSE4.1, SSE4.2, and Intel AVX2 instruction sets, which in scenarios of intensive calculations can significantly speed up work and shorten the execution time of individual tasks. 

Also, certain security mechanisms are supported, such as AES instructions for data encryption, Secure Key, and Software Guard Extensions technologies that help the software to create a more secure environment for executing specific programs and protecting data.

Intel Core i9 10900KF - Performance

MB: Gigabyte Z590 Aorus Master
CPU: Intel Core i9 10900KF
RAM: HyperX Predator 4266 CL19 2x8 GB
VGA: AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 8G GDDR6
SSD

  • ADATA Ultimate SU800 1TB
  • ADATA Gammix S11 Pro 240GB M.2, NVMe x4

Cooler: CM MasterLiquid Pro 240
PSU: Cooler Master MWE 650 Gold
Driver:

  • Intel Chipset 1909.12.0.1236
  • Adrenaline 21.2.2

OS: Windows 10 64-bit ver. 20H2

Intel Core i9 10900KF Assassin Creed Origins test

Intel Core i9 10900KF Division 2 test

Intel Core i9 10900KF Dota 2 test

Intel Core i9 10900KF Far Cry 5 test

Intel Core i9 10900KF Gears 5 test

In terms of performance, when it comes to working in demanding applications such as rendering, 3D modeling, CAD / CAM, Adobe applications for a photo, video, music conversion, and similar jobs that require intensive calculations, Intel Core i9 10900K is despite its The 10C / 20T core did not celebrate indirect power metering with a competing Ryzen 9 5900X processor. The backlog almost does not fall below 30% and goes over 40% in some situations.

However, if you compare current prices, the direct competitor to the Core i9 10900KF model, when it comes to the new AMD Ryzen 5000 series is the 8-core Ryzen 7 5800X. Looking at the achieved results, they are, as in the example of their price, almost completely equal.

Intel Core i9 10900KF Arnold Renderer test

Intel Core i9 10900KF Adobe Premiere test

Intel Core i9 10900KF Cinema 4d test

The situation is similar in games where the difference is reduced to 1-5% depending on the title. Some realistic conclusion is that the competitors are quite "aligned" in this area of computer work as well.

In terms of performance, this processor requires a slightly better AiO water cooling system to "develop" maximum performance. With one CM MasterLiquid Pro 240 mm system, we have achieved a fully stable 4.8 GHz on all currently engaged cores under a load of 100% Comet Lake resource utilization. Consumption ranged up to a maximum of 200-215W, while the temperature of individual cores ranged from 70-85 degrees.

Intel Core i9 10900KF Temperature

It is interesting that with weaker coolers, the processor automatically adjusts the more economical mode when it consumes 65-95W, but also significantly reduces the frequency, so in situations where all cores are employed, the frequency does not exceed 3.7 GHz or 4.1 GHz. So, good cooling is implied if you want maximum performance from the Core i9 10900KF heavyweight.

Intel Core i9 10900KF - Conclusion


The latest price correction has made the Intel Core i9 10900K more affordable than it has been in some past times. Still, you can see how much 14nm architecture is behind AMD Ryzen 3 technology. Mentioning the strongest Core i9 series automatically puts it in the rank of the strongest Ryzen 9 models, and obviously, that does not correspond to reality - neither in terms of price nor performance.

Today, the reality is different compared to a few years ago. Who would say that the strongest Intel Core models of the i9 series, did not live up to the Ryzen 9, but the class lower-ranking Ryzen 7 models. When you look at it correctly and put them in the right place, it turns out that the Core i9 10900KF is not such a bad processor. 

However, the lack of some new technologies such as support for the PCIe 4.0 standard and the smaller number of fast PCIe paths under the direct control of the CPU system controller is certainly a handicap of the Intel Core processor.
 
Add to that significantly higher power consumption, as well as a sudden jump in temperature when trying to reach the "promised" 5.3 GHz are aggravating circumstances that put this processor in an inferior position compared to AMD Ryzen competition. Let's not forget the lack of support for the system controller, the operation of ultra-fast USB 3.2 Gen2 10 Gbps ports.

For:

  • High Frequency Turbo Steps
  • 10 cores, 20 "threads"
  • Good gaming performance

Against:

  • Heating and consumption at high frequencies
  • No PCIe Gen4 support
  • Requires expensive OC boards
  • No USB 3.2 Gen2 support


Intel Core i9-10900KF Desktop Processor 10 Cores up to 5.3 GHz Unlocked Without Processor Graphics LGA1200 (Intel 400 Series chipset) 125W
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