One thing you will hear a lot about Intel Core i9-10900K is that it’s even better than anything from AMD for gaming. Or, at least, it’s faster. If you ask why, people will say that Core processors perform better on a single thread than Ryzen processors. The conversation usually stops at this point, but it shouldn’t. It is important to know why Intel can handle better performance on a single core. And the answer to that is impressive engineering. the $ 488 Core i9-10900K is proof of this strength, and that is why Intel is not out of this fight.
I didn’t receive my i9-10900K until yesterday, so I didn’t have time to run a full battery of tests. But I had the new CPU operational enough to have a decent idea of its capabilities. It is therefore not a detailed examination as much as a verification reaction of Intel’s last return to AMD.
Here are Intel’s hard facts for the high-end line of 10th generation Core processors:
Perhaps the most important detail is that Intel still builds processors on the 14nm process. He’s been using it since 2015, and he’s struggling to move forward. Meanwhile, AMD has moved to a much more energy efficient 7nm. The movement is relative and AMD’s gains come as much from Intel’s stasis as from AMD’s progress.
But does it really matter? Should anyone using these chips care about 7nm or 14nm? Probably not. It certainly has ramifications for heat and energy, but the reasons why you would buy the best game processor from Intel have not changed in years. And it’s still the fastest game processor.
Why the Core i9-10900K still performs better than Ryzen
For all the ways AMD has caught up with and surpassed Intel, the crown of the game still belongs to the latter. The reason is that Intel engineers are finding ways to get higher and faster clock speeds with its processors.
AMD and Intel have roughly equivalent clock instructions (IPC) at this point. This is the number of calculations that all of these transistors can process per megahertz. And Intel spent a lot of time and money running its processors at extremely high clock speeds without sacrificing stability.
The i9-10900K is an example. It can increase up to 5.3 GHz on a single core or 4.9 GHz on all cores. In the few tests that I did with the stock settings, it worked regularly in this range from 4.9 to 5.3 GHz. The Ryzen 9 3900X in competition has a listed maximum boost clock of 4.6 GHz, but it is less likely to operate at this speed for an extended period of time.
Break these numbers down, and the 10900K is simply the beast that Intel has claimed.
Most games still rely on single thread performance, and the 10900K dominates in this aspect. And even when games start to use more cores and threads, the i9 chip has more than enough for those loads.
The same take as the last time
As impressive as Intel’s engineering and gaming performance is, we should sprinkle some reality on it.
The Intel Core i9-10900K is the king of the game. This is the end of the sentence. These advantages over the Ryzen 9 3900X are real. But the benefit also diminishes when you increase the resolution and put more work on your GPU. The 10900K will still draw slightly more frames per second than the 3900X even in 4K, but the gap is narrowing to the point where it is more difficult to notice.
However, when it comes to almost any other workload, the 3900X stands out from the 10900K. And it should with two more hearts and four more threads. The good news here for Intel is that the 10900K looks competitive for production. It never beats the 3900X, but Intel has closed the gap itself.
But it all comes down to exactly what I said about the Core i9-9900K. If you prioritize the game over everything else and want the best possible setup, go for Intel. If you want an ideal workstation for games after a day of using production tools, go for AMD. Where things have changed slightly since the 9900K, it’s for these dashboards. If you mainly play games but want to stream or occasional video editing, I would probably recommend the 3900X – especially if it remains more affordable. But I wouldn’t try to stop you from using a 10900K either.
The story of the 10900K is really more about the future of Intel. Even though the company has struggled to move to a 10nm process, it will not forget all of the engineering advances that have taken so much power from its current technology. This will serve him well as he continues to fight AMD. And I’m sure AMD knows it.