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Intel Core i9-10900K Review - Part 1

Gouhan

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It's finally here, or rather the NDA has lifted on the Intel 10th generation Core desktop CPUs. Above is the first part of thew review. stay tuned for part 2 when the magazine drops at the end of the month. With only 7 only 8 days of formal testing and with BIOS updates coming in even as recent as this morning, there's no way to give a reliable assessment on the platform. However, this is what it's looking like at the moment.

Peace!
 

Valheru

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So now that I have some other reviews and read some more on everyone else's impressions, here goes.

Should I upgrade? No.
In case of loss, is this a viable replacement? Very much yes.
Why Intel? This looks like the new best / fantastic all-rounder, whether it be play or work.
What about AMD? The value proposition of this platform vs a 3950X is borderline, the board+CPU pricing would currently favour the Intel part. Any aggressive price reduction from AMD would erode sales from Intel.
"But this is a new platform bro": Most of us would need a new platform anyway, and would likely skip the one hereafter, so whatever we upgrade to would be obsolete after the skipped generation.

Your move AMD.....
 

Gouhan

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So now that I have some other reviews and read some more on everyone else's impressions, here goes.

Should I upgrade? No.
In case of loss, is this a viable replacement? Very much yes.
Why Intel? This looks like the new best / fantastic all-rounder, whether it be play or work.
What about AMD? The value proposition of this platform vs a 3950X is borderline, the board+CPU pricing would currently favour the Intel part. Any aggressive price reduction from AMD would erode sales from Intel.
"But this is a new platform bro": Most of us would need a new platform anyway, and would likely skip the one hereafter, so whatever we upgrade to would be obsolete after the skipped generation.

Your move AMD.....
Perhaps now wasn't the best time to release a new platform. Intel has 11th Gen Core coming more than likely by Dec this year or CES 2021, meaning this is a short lived CPU generation. The boards are great and of course ready for rocket-lake with their flaunting of pcie 4.0 compliance.
11th gen Rocket-Lake has already shown up on ORB - Good thing is we can keep the Z490 boards as those are really awesome.

Overall, for gaming I'm a fan of the 10600K, less so the other SKUs.
 

Gouhan

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Rocket Lake still on 14nm?
Yes. Was originally meant to be on the 10nm process, but obviously that didn't materialize.
That said, being on 14nm isn't a problem as much as the increased IPC from architectural overhaul means, performance that needed 5GHz ends up needing 4.2 ~ 4.4GHz.
That lower frequency needs lower voltage. With all things equal (this is not how CPUs work at all but serves to illustrate the point) ,if 5GHz 8 core needs 1.3v and 4.4GHz only needs 1.05v. That 250mv savings along with the 600MHz reduction in frequency means lower power consumption for the same performance.

Same as right now, if you reduce your CPU operating frequency from the default 1.3v for example to say 1.2v. Performance is the same, but power consumption less, so you've increased your per/watt but same 14nm CPU.
 

HNO3

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all of us that own 9900k series etc, no need to upgrade, the cost vs performance isnt worth it at all. SO Im happy where i am for the next 3 to 5 years I reckon.

Agree?
 

Gouhan

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all of us that own 9900k series etc, no need to upgrade, the cost vs performance isnt worth it at all. SO Im happy where i am for the next 3 to 5 years I reckon.

Agree?
I can't imagine the need to upgrade anytime soon if you already have an 8 core 16T CPU.
Unless if by some miracle PCIe 3.0 bottlenecks the GPUs coming this year, but I doubt it.
9900K or even 8700K should be a good for a while
 

AinsleyHarriott

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Yeah, but they have made improvements on the die to keep thermals reasonable. I am just sad that they are pushing such an outdated technology. What exactly is holding them back?
 

Gouhan

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Yeah, but they have made improvements on the die to keep thermals reasonable. I am just sad that they are pushing such an outdated technology. What exactly is holding them back?
Changing architecture isn't as straight forward as it seems to us on the outside. A lot of the designs are made with a particular manufacturing node in mind and this is down to logic layout and function. When that manufacturing node doesn't pan out for whatever reason, other means and plans must be made while whatever issues are ironed out. As is, if other pressures arise (like competition from AMD), then those additional considerations must be made on top of the ongoing challenges. Hence the back porting of the next micro architecture improvements to this 14nm (how ever many pluses) node.

Intel is in a situation, much like AMD was in (far less so admittedly) for over a decade. AMD had to extract as much as they could from an architecture that was essentially outdated versus the competition. The next opportunity to rectify that situation, only came with Ryzen, perhaps even 3rd generation Ryzen. That's at least 10 years of battling business, manufacturing and the technical challenges of moving to a competitive design that could scale for years to come. AMD found that with Zen design philosophy and it's scaling across all relevant metrics quiet well I'd imagine. The rapid development and release schedule is testament to this and they are reaping the rewards of its sound design.

Validating completely new designs, let alone getting them through the hundreds perhaps thousands of steps before they are manufactured takes a sizeable amount of time. Unlike GPUs which have unique advantages of abstraction between metal and software (among other advantages), x86 CPUs do not. This is part of the difficulty put to Intel posed by the security vulnerabilities exposed in the 8th gen CPUs. Even now with 10th gen Core, it's a combination of firmware and micro code mitigation, as opposed to hardware/silicon.

Platforms are meant to last years and several generations, they pretty much lock and commit the firm for a long time. This is especially challenging within the twilight of the platforms natural obsolescence. Radical redesigns are pretty much impossible at this hour. Hence Intel does what it can around the periphery, tweaking the manufacturing and packaging process. Leveraging any mechanical (move to LGA 1200) advantages they can (some of the advantages of owning your own fabs) to remain at least remotely relevant in whatever market (gaming/desktop in this case). Even though the situation would have been much better with comet-lake (would this even exist?) o their 10nm process , a new architecture was due as that node alone was never going to stop the onslaught from AMD's offerings.
 

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