Intel Core i5-10600K Review

Intel Core i5-10600K Review

Do you want to get into gaming or build your own gaming PC, but you have no idea which CPU you should get?

How about averaging up to 90 fps when playing games? If so, you should seriously consider the Intel Core i5-10600K.

The Core i5-10600K falls under Intel’s 10th gen Comet Lake i5 desktop CPU family. The ‘K’ at the end means that the Core i5-10600K has been unlocked for overclocking.

When the Core i5-10600K debuted in 2020, it had a lot to prove. Why? Because for the longest time, getting a cut-price Intel CPU with Hyper-Threading was nothing but a dream.

But with AMD giving them a run for their money, Intel decided to incorporate Hyper-Threading in the entire Comet Lake-S line-up, including the Pentiums.

Two years down the line since it debuted, Intel is still betting on the gaming capacity of the Core i5-10600K. 

But is the Core i5-10600K worth the hype? Yes, many people have touted this as the best budget-friendly gaming processor.

That said, let’s learn more about the Core i5-10600K, but before we get into the details, let’s look at the technical specs first. 

Technical Specifications

  • Architecture: Comet Lake-S
  • Base Clock: 4.1GHz
  • Boost Clock (Single Core): 4.5Ghz
  • Boost Clock (All Cores): 4.8Ghz
  • Cores/Threads: 6/12
  • Integrated Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics
  • Memory: DDR4-2666
  • L3 Cache: 12MB
  • Lithography: 14nm
  • PCIe Lanes: 16
  • Socket: LGA1200
  • TDP: 125W
  • Dimensions: 4.6 x 4.2 x 1.9 Inches
  • Weight: 3 Ounces

Architecture

Intel Core i5-10600K Review
Intel Core i5-10600K Review – Architecture

The Core i5-10600K is built using Intel’s 14nm Skylake technology. As a result, there are fewer differences between this processor’s design and silicon patterns.

It has unique capabilities and features, making it as promising as the new generation of Intel chips. 

Intel’s Core i5 has always had a massive performance boost throughout its existence. This line-up has always had more core and threads, which is great.

Not only that, the single-core performance of the Core i5 line has always been great. 

Most games available right now still aren’t capable of utilizing all core counts of a CPU. They massively depend on each core’s base output, only using between four and eight cores.

So with intel’s impressive single-core performance, the Comet Lake-S Core i5-10600K should deliver and maximize sufficient fps (frames per second)

Competition

Intel Core i5-10600K Review
Intel Core i5-10600K Review – Competition

AMD has made massive inroads in the budget gaming CPU segment over the last couple of years, with the Ryzen 5 3600X being the standout CPU in this segment.

The Ryzen 5 3600X, which debuted at about 250 USD, is now available for under 210 USD.

Just like the Core i5-10600K, it features six cores and twelve threads, but it offers better efficiency and connects to AMD’s AM4 socket.

Another benefit of the Ryzen 5 3600X is a bundled cooling unit. It doesn’t offer the same gaming performance as the Core i5-10600K, but the cooling unit is a nice touch.

Then there is the Ryzen 7 3700X with eight cores and sixteen threads which is a great pick in this category, especially for multi-threaded workloads such as rendering. 

Like its smaller cousin, the Ryzen 5 3600X, it’s dwarfed by the Core i5-10600K in terms of gaming output, but it offers stellar value when considering its multi-thread performance.

Design and Functionality

Intel Core i5-10600K Review
Intel Core i5-10600K Review – Design and Functionality

This section will look at how the Core i5-10600K functions based on its design and build. For starters, the i5-10600K supports the FC LGA-1200 socket.

You’ll find that it has a metal housing with the copyright printed in the upper-left section.

Also imprinted on the front side is the series this Intel processor belongs to as well as its name, base frequency, FPO code, and specification code.

You can see the 2-dimension Matrix print in the upper-right section on the board where it’s mounted. Here you’ll also see the entire ATPO or serial number.

Also, under this section, you can find the partial ATPO or serial number.

Intel has opted to utilize the 14nm processing technology on this chip, otherwise known as the lithography, so there isn’t much difference to the silicon underneath.

The Core i5-10600K looks like any other LGA-1xxx CPU made by Intel. But remember, the Core i5-10600K is only compatible with the motherboards that have the LGA-1200 socket.

This is because Intel changed the positioning of the rounded notches; as a result, older motherboards aren’t compatible with the Core i5-10600K.

It’s only compatible with motherboards that have the Z-490 platform. 

The Z-490 is one of the best 400 series motherboard platforms available right now. In fact, it’s one of the most acclaimed motherboard platforms for gaming desktops and laptops.

Why you might ask? Because it allows for multi-GPU support and serious overclocking.

Despite this that the LGA-1200 socket still features cooler compatibility alongside the older LGA-115x socket series.

This means you’ll be spoilt for choice when choosing a cooling unit to match your Core i5-10600K gaming or productivity needs. 

Efficiency

Intel Core i5-10600K Review
Intel Core i5-10600K Review – Efficiency

The Core i5-10600K falls behind its predecessors when it comes to efficiency. Intel wanted to design and build a processor with improved clock speeds, and they did exactly that.

As a result, the voltage of the Core i5-10600K was slightly more than what was present in its predecessors. This caused a loss in energy efficiency of between 10% and 20%.

When you run the Core i5-10600K without any power restrictions, you’ll realize that it occasionally exceeds the listed 125 TDP during common applications. But it can go up to 182W TDP if you run processor stress tests.

Overall the Core i5-10600K is excellent out of the box even without making changes, and you won’t experience any lags even if you push it to the max. 

Overclocking

Intel Core i5-10600K Review
Intel Core i5-10600K Review – Overclocking

Heat management is a vital element of successful overclocking in any processor. This is why intel incorporated a thin die STIM (solder-based thermal interface material).

The presence of the STIM keeps the Core i5-10600K cool even when it draws a lot of power.

If you pit the Core 15-10600K against other processors in the same category and overclock all of them, you’ll find that the Core i5-10600K has higher frame rates and better overall processor productivity performance compared to its rivals.

Even when running at peak temperature, you’ll still be able to overclock the Core 15-10600K without any glitches whatsoever. But keep in mind you can’t overclock a processor without installing it on a motherboard that supports overclocking.

Performance

Intel Core i5-10600K Review
Intel Core i5-10600K Review – Performance

There is no running away from it; you need a top-of-the-line Intel CPU if you want the absolute best gaming performance.

When it comes to the Core i5-10600K, several additions make it a more enticing option compared to its predecessors.

As illustrated above, Intel included Hyper-Threading. Not only that, the i5-10600K can activate or deactivate Hyper-Threading on a per-core basis giving you more control in this area. 

With gaming being the key difference between the 10th Gen Comet Lake-S series chips and their predecessors, it’s no wonder the Core i5-10600K performs well in this area. 

The Core i5-10600K falls in the same category as some of AMD’s chips, namely the Ryzen 5 3600X and the Ryzen 7 3700X.

Intel comes out on top here because the Core i5-10600K dwarfs both these AMD processors when it comes to gaming performance.

In fact, it offers between 15% and 18% more performance over the Ryzen 5 3600X and at least 12% more performance over the Ryzen 7 3700X.

This chip is even better because it dwarfs the Ryzen 9 3900X even though it has double the cores and threads.

It’s clear that Intel’s dedication to gaming performance has allowed Comet Lake-S designs to carve out a lead over their AMD equals, making the i5-10600K a great pick.

Obviously, the law of diminishing returns applies as you adjust the gaming resolution to Full HD+ and 4K. 

However, the Core i5-10600K doesn’t measure up to the Ryzen 3700X when it comes to multi-thread performance, but it’s at par with the Ryzen 5 3600X in this regard.

Nonetheless, it is very capable when it comes to single-thread workloads, and you shouldn’t notice any lag.

When you pit the Core i5-10600K against Intel processors such as the Core i7-9700K, it comes out on top.

Not only that, it even outdoes the Core i9-9900K in some instances, and the fact that you’re getting this from a sub-$300 chip is nothing short of impressive. 

The Core i5-10600K almost equals the Core i9-10900K in gaming performance, albeit there is a 3% difference between both processors in this area.

This makes the Core i5-10600K a great pick for gamers because it’s available for almost half the price of the Core i9-10900K.

So if you’re main interest is gaming, the Core i5-10600K represents better value for money over its Core i7 and Core i9 counterparts.

Utility

Intel Core i5-10600K Review
Intel Core i5-10600K Review – Utility

The Core i5-10600K is built using Intel’s XTU (extreme tuning utility) and STIM (solder-based thermal interface material) to support its overclocking capabilities.

STIM is an interface material between the CPU die and the heat spreader. STIM offers thermal conductivity between the CPU and HIS.

The heat dissipation is higher with more thermal conductivity, allowing for a more thermal headroom. 

The i5-10600K has more power because it uses a slender die design. It also has a soldered thermal interface and a thicker heat spreader for more thermal output.

Intel’s XTU’s changing core multiplier allows the CPU to run at base speeds with all power states for typical loads. 

Price         

Intel Core i5-10600K Review
Intel Core i5-10600K Review – Price 

The Core i5-10600K is available at the moment for a cut-price of $205, which is much cheaper than the Ryzen 5 3600X, which has a list price of over $350.

Why the difference? It’s because Intel doesn’t directly set its retail-like AMD, so sometimes, this can make the prices significantly higher or significantly lower, as is the case here. 

Packaging

Intel Core i5-10600K Review
Intel Core i5-10600K Review – Packaging

Being one of the most crucial components of any computer, a processor should be boxed in a secure package. This is exactly what the package of the Core i5-10600K gives you.

You might be wondering why should I know what the packaging looks like? If you know what the package looks like, you can easily find the Core i5-10600K in a computer store.

Also, if a supplier delivers the wrong package, you can know immediately.

The Core i5-10600K isn’t that hard to spot; its signature can be spotted easily on the packaging. It also features a faded blue theme which distinguishes it from other Intel CPUs.

The name ‘Core i5’ is inscribed in a large font on the front of the package.

When you unbox the Intel Core i5-10600K, you’ll find that it comes with a manual which you should read to learn about the dos and don’ts of this Intel processor. 

You’ll also find a glossy grey Intel sticker attached to the manual. Note that, unlike other Intel CPUs, the Core i5-10600K doesn’t come with a bundled cooling unit.

Should You Buy the Core i5-10600K?

Intel Core i5-10600K Review
Intel Core i5-10600K Review – Should You Buy the Core i5-10600K?

Buy The Core I5-10600K If:

You Want the Best Gaming Processor

Make no mistake, the Intel Core i5-10600K is the best gaming processor you can get for under $250, and it even dwarfs all of its AMD counterparts.

You Want to Overclock Your Processor

The Intel Core i5-10600K has a base clock speed of 4.1Ghz, but it has a lot of headroom, and it can reach clock speeds of up to 4.8Ghz on all cores.

You Want Hyper-Threading

The Core i5-10600K features Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology even though it’s a mid-tier CPU giving you exceptional single and multi-thread output. 

Don’t Buy the Core i5-10600K if:

You Want a Processor to Add to an Existing Motherboard

Intel’s Comet Lake-s line-up of CPUs is based on the LGA1200 socket. As a result, you won’t be able to slot the i5-10600K on existing Z270 or Z390 motherboards. 

You Want PCIe 4.0 or 5.0

Intel has committed to PCIe 4.0 and 5.0, but they’re available on its 12th Gen CPUs. The Core i5-10600K is a 10th Gen chip meaning it offers PCIe 3.0.

Final Thought

To sum it all up, if you’re on a budget and you want top-notch gaming performance, the Intel Core i5-10600K is your best bet.

Its performance is so good that it even rivals its Core i7 and Core i9 counterparts.

The Core i5-10600K is great at delivering improved performance for a dedicated processor, and it dwarfs all of its equivalent AMD counterparts. 

See Also

How to Overclock CPU

Best Ryzen CPU for Gaming

Best Budget CPU

Best CPU Cooler

Best AMD CPU

Best CPU for Gaming

Best CPU for Mining