The Intel Core i5 CPU is considered Intel’s mainstream processor and alongside the rest of the 10th generation CPUs, Intel is launching the Core i5-10600k. The Intel i5-10600k CPU is set to replace the 9th generation i5-9600k CPU. The i5-10600k gets a bump in the base clock as compared to the i5-9600k up from 3.7 GHz on the 9600k to 4.1 GHz on the i5-10600k. The turbo boost clock gets a frequency increase as well up from 4.6 GHz to 4.8 GHz on a single core and 4.5 GHz as an all-core boost. Unlike the i9 7 i7 counterparts, official non-XMP memory support stays at DDR4-2666. The i5 also misses out on Intel’s new Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB)that allows the CPU to boost above specified frequency if the conditions are just right. TVB is only available on the new 10th gen i9 CPUs. A new socket is needed for the 10th gen CPUs and Intel is also launching their Z490 chipset along with motherboard manufacturers launching a ton of new motherboards.  However, there are some differences under the hood that should enable the i5-10600k to stretch its legs a bit and maintain good performance at a reasonable price level.

One of the biggest additions to the i5 line up is the addition of HyperThreading. Now all Intel CPUs use Hyperthreading except for the Celeron processors. This means the i9 series is 10 cores/20 threads, the i7 series is 8 cores/16 threads, the i5 series is 6 cores/12 threads, and the i3 series is 4 cores/8 threads. The Pentium CPUs are 2 cores/4 threads.

The new 10th Gen CPUs have a thinner die and a thicker IHS. This should facilitate better heat transfer between the CPU and the cooler.

While not a brand new architecture, the 10th gen Intel CPUs, at least on paper, should bring more performance to the table. Keep in mind, that Intel is still using a Skylake derived architecture. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as they can continue to increase performance and keep moving the ball forward.

The Intel Core i5-10600k CPU

Intel sent us the new 10th Gen Core CPUs in a special media kit. The retail packaging will look very different.

The box opens up revealing a translucent blue plastic sheet with Intel’s logo right in the center. Under the blue plastic insert is the CPUs in this case, we were sent the i9-10900k and the i5-10600k CPUs. This review will focus on the i5-10600k CPU.

The 10th gen i5 is contained inside a small box. Inside, the CPU is encased in a standard CPU blister pack.

Physically, there’s virtually no difference in the IHS between the 10th gen and older gen CPUs. However, a new socket is needed for the 10th gen CPUs which means you’ll also need a new motherboard. Along with the new CPU launches, Intel is launching the Z490 chipset, and motherboard manufactures have a slew of motherboards across almost all price ranges.

Test System and Benchmarks

Intel Core i5-10600k Test Bench
Product Name Provided By
Processor Intel Core i5-10600k Intel
Motherboard Aorus Z490 Master Gigabyte
Memory G.Skill Trident Royal F4-3600C16D-16GTRG 16-16-16-36 (XMP) G.Skill
Drive Samsung 240 EVO 256GB SSD, Crucial MX500 1 TB SATA III SSD Samsung/Crucial
Video Cards  Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Founders Edition Nvidia
Monitor BenQ EL2870U 28 inch 4K HDR Gaming Monitor 3840×2160 @ 60 Hz
Case DimasTech EasyXL DimasTech
Power Supply Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 1500W Cooler Master
Operating System Windows 10 1909 x64 Pro with latest patches and updates
AMD Ryzen 9 3900x/Ryzen 7 3700x Test Bench
Product Name Provided By
Processor AMD Ryzen 9 3600x/ AMD Ryzen 7 3600 AMD
Motherboard Aorus X570 Master Gigabyte
Memory G.Skill Trident Royal F4-3600C16D-16GTRG 16-16-16-36 (XMP) G.Skill
Drive Samsung 240 EVO 256GB SSD, Crucial MX500 1 TB SATA III SSD Samsung/Crucial
Video Cards Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Founders Edition Nvidia
Monitor BenQ EL2870U 28 inch 4K HDR Gaming Monitor 3840×2160 @ 60 Hz
Case DimasTech EasyXL DimasTech
Power Supply Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 1500W Cooler Master
Operating System Windows 10 1909 x64 Pro with latest patches and updates
Intel Core i7-8700k/Core i9-9900k Test Bench
Product Name Provided By
Processor Intel Core i7-8700K (Retail) Intel
Motherboard Aorus Z390 Pro Gigabyte
Memory G.Skill Trident Royal F4-3600C16D-16GTRG 16-16-16-36 (XMP) G.Skill
Drive Samsung 240 EVO 256GB SSD, Crucial MX500 1 TB SATA III SSD Samsung/Crucial
Video Cards  Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Founders Edition Nvidia
Monitor BenQ EL2870U 28 inch 4K HDR Gaming Monitor 3840×2160 @ 60 Hz
Case DimasTech EasyXL DimasTech
Power Supply Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 1500W Cooler Master
Operating System Windows 10 1909 x64 Pro with latest patches and updates

System settings –

Windows was set to High Performance in the power management settings in Windows.

Motherboard settings for the non-overclocked tests were reset to factory defaults and only the XMP for the G.Skill RAM was enabled. Everything else in the BIOS was left at the factory defaults for the stock tests.


All my test benches are fitted with a custom loop featuring an EKWB Coolstream PE 360 mm radiator, EKWB Vardar fans x3, EKWB Velocity waterblock for both Intel and AMD, as well as an EKWB XRES 140 REVO D5 filled with distilled water. The motherboard settings were left to their stock configurations.

Let the battle of the 6-core CPUs begin!

Testing and Performance


AIDA64 has a set of several 64-bit benchmarks to measure how fast the computer performs various data processing tasks and mathematical calculations. Multi-threaded memory and cache benchmarks are available to analyze system RAM bandwidth and latency. Benchmark pages of AIDA64 Extreme provide several methods to measure system performance. These benchmarks are synthetic, so their results show only the theoretical maximum performance of the system. The AIDA64 suite has various benchmarks for CPU, FPU, GPU, storage, and memory testing.

As you can see, the i5-10600k lags slightly behind the rest of the CPUs here. I wasn’t sure exactly why until a little later on in the testing process. When I run benchmarks, I run each test 3 times, then average the result together.

Here’s where I started to think the issue with performance between the CPU is caused. As you can see, the memory performance of the i5-10600 lags in the read and copy tests of all the CPUs even the older 8700k. The difference is not small either. When I first started putting the results together, I went back and re-tested. I also check to make sure I was in Dual Channel mode. Finally, I tested the memory on another test bench and the memory results on that PC were as expected.

Intel Core i5-10600k Benchmarks Continued

Cinebench R20

Cinebench is a real-world cross-platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s hardware capabilities. Improvements to Cinebench Release 20 reflect the overall advancements to CPU and rendering technology in recent years, providing a more accurate measurement of Cinema 4D’s ability to take advantage of multiple CPU cores and modern processor features available to the average user.

In Cinebench, the Core i5-10600k performs well against the other 6-core CPUs. The multi-core test shows it lagging ever so slightly behind the AMD CPUs and pretty much on equal footing with the older 8700k.

POV-Ray 3.7

The Persistence of Vision Ray Tracer, or POV-Ray, is a ray-tracing program that generates images from a text-based scene description and is available for a variety of computer platforms. It was originally based on DKBTrace, written by David Kirk Buck and Aaron A. Collins for the Amiga computers. There are also influences from the earlier Polyray[6] raytracer contributed by its author Alexander Enzmann. POV-Ray is free and open-source software with the source code available under the AGPLv3.

POV-Ray shows that AMD is slightly better when it comes to multi-core rendering whereas Intel’s i5-10600k edges out the rest in the single-core test.

Multimedia, Compression, Synthetic, and Gaming


HandBrake is a free and open-source video transcoder, originally developed in 2003 by Eric Petit to make ripping a film from a DVD to a data storage device easier. Essentially, it can convert video to almost any modern format. HandBrake is available for Linux, macOS, and Windows. The workload video file is a file that I’ve used for years called Sintel. It is a 1.09-gigabyte file that is full HD. I used the Apple 240p preset for this test.


The 7-zip benchmark shows a rating in MIPS (million instructions per second). The rating value is calculated from the measured speed, and it is normalized with the results of Intel Core 2 CPU with multi-threading option switched off. So, if you have a modern CPU from Intel or AMD, rating values in single-thread mode must be close to real CPU frequency. There are two tests, compression with LZMA method and decompression with LZMA method. Once the total passes reach 100, the score is taken. 7-Zip gives the resulting score for decompressing, compressing, and an overall score.


PCMark 10 is a system benchmark for Windows PCs that focuses on common tasks performed in the office. PCMark 10 offers a variety of workloads categorized into four groups. The Essentials group includes web browsing, video conferencing, and app start-up time. The Productivity group includes tests based on spreadsheets and writing. The Digital Content Creation group includes photo editing, video editing, and a rendering and visualization test. The final group, Gaming, includes tests for real-time graphics and physics. It has three different benchmarks, PCMark 10, PCMark 10 Express, and PCMark 10 Extended.

How much closer can you get? All the tested systems are extremely close together. The individual tests swap back and forth as far as lead goes between the Intel i5-10600k and the AMD Ryzen 5 3600x.


3DMark is a computer benchmarking tool created and developed by Futuremark used to determine the performance of a computer’s 3D graphic rendering and CPU workload processing capabilities. It does this through a series of graphics and physics and or CPU tests.

Firestrike and Timespy are a battle between the CPUs. Intel and AMD Both have a great showing in this 6-core shootout.


For gaming, I chose to mix it up a little bit from what we’ve done in the past. Most games we test are first-person shooters, so I chose to throw a flight simulator in the mix. Xplane 11 depends heavily on single-thread performance, even more so than newer modern games.

While not a huge difference in performance, Intel still leads in the gaming category. Intel leads in every game I tested.


First, let’s start with the stock settings.

These charts were taking running POV-RAY tests. Starting we’ll look at single-core performance. As you can see during the tests, the i5-10600k hits 5.8GHz, and the load bounces around to different cores. Temperatures remained below 00°C with a few peeks up to about 49°C.

Single-Core Stock Clock Speed
Single Core Stock Temperature

The multi-core test was run next, again at all stock speeds. As you can see, clock speeds leveled out around 4.5 GHz. The CPU temperature was good here too as temperatures hovered around the 56°C mark.

Multi-core Stock Clock Speed
Multi-core Stock Temperature

Next, I pushed the multiplier up to 52 and added a slight bit of voltage so the system could remain stable at 5.2 GHz on all cores. This is a 700 MHz overclock on the i5-10600k.

Again, let’s look at the single-core clock speed and temperatures 1st.  The clock speed is stable at 5.2 GHz and for the most part core temperatures stayed below 60° c with a few spikes of about 61°c.

Single-Core @ 5.2 Clock Speed
Single-Core @ 5.2 Temperature

The multi-core test shows the clock speed locked at 5.2 GHz. To reach 5.2 GHz, I did have to bump the voltage up a little bit and the running voltage as reported by the software was 1.389v during the test.  Temperatures were still good although a little higher than I initially expected. Temperatures hovered around the 80°c mark with a few peeks up to 81°c.

Multi-Core @ 5.2 GHz Clock Speed
Multi-Core @ 5.2 GHz Temperature

Keep in mind that my test benches use a 360mm custom loop for cooling. My review sample did not come with a cooler.


Performance gains in Aida64 get a pretty good boost. However, I think that the memory performance issue that I saw in the stock tests happen to be holding back the performance in this test.


Cinebench R20 showed a decent gain as the multi-core test gained 486 points and the single-core test gained 40 points.


POV-Ray gets a good boost in performance as well.


From a gaming standpoint, I re-benchmarked all the gaming tests that I do in CPUs.

Almost all the games saw an increase in frames per second except for Ghost Recon Wildlands. Xplane which thrives on fast single-core CPUs, gained 15 FPS, Shadow of the Tomb Raider gained 8 FPS, Farcry New Dawn gained 8 FPS, and Assassin’s Creed gained about 4.

After looking at the chart above, I decided to put all the upper-end CPUs that I have in one chart.

What’s really surprising is how well the i5-10600 CPU performs against the stock i9-10900.  If this shows anything it is that games still like fast cores vs many slower cores. AMD has the core advantage in the upper end of the CPU chart and AMD has the core advantage. Frequency wins, plain and simple.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

The Intel Core i5-10600k retains it’s six-cores from the previous generation and also adds Hyperthreading giving the CPU a total of 12 threads. The i5-10600k gets a small boost in clock speed as well. Yet, much of the CPU remains the same as the previous generation. Like I said in the i9-10900k review, Intel is using a core design derived from Skylake which was launched in 2015. While on the top end of the CPU market, it doesn’t appear to be much left under the hood, the i5-10600k shows otherwise and I was able to get what I think is a decent overclock out of it without much work or tweaking around in the BIOS.

The 6-core CPUs that are currently on the market perform within a small margin of each other and outside of very specific benchmarks, I highly doubt anyone would “feel” or know the difference between them. Intel’s offering of a 6-core/12-thread CPU puts it squarely in competition with the AMD Ryzen 5 3600x. My benchmark experience with both CPUs shows that there is a lead advantage here and there and that advantage swaps from Intel to AMD and back and forth. I really appreciate that there is stiff competition in this particular market. Not everyone runs 8, 10, or 12 core CPUs. Intel and AMD both market their 6-core CPUs as mainstream.

Overclocking the Intel CPUs is so much easier than AMD. Specifically, I can’t get AMD’s CPUs to overclock much, if at all. Intel’s CPUs, on the other hand, seem to take overclocking in stride. With my test bench set up, I was able to gain 700 MHz to 5.2 GHz on all cores vs. 4.5 GHz in stock trim. Even single-core clock speeds peaked at 4.8 GHz and I was able to exceed that by 400 Mhz.  Throw in good memory and GPU overclock and you’ll have a system that’s going to be really tough to beat.

Overall, I’m more impressed with the i5-10600k than I am with the i9-10900k. I’m not saying that the i9-10900k CPU is bad. I just feel that for the price as well as the performance and overclocking of the i5-10600k is a better bang for the buck. However, there are a few things to consider, if you’re going to migrate to 10th gen, a new motherboard will be required, so there’s added cost there. Also, my cooling system on my test benches utilizes custom loop components. Thankfully, the water block fits the new motherboard socket but, if you’re new to water cooling, there will be added cost there too. At the time of the review, no retailers have listed the pricing of the i5-10600k however, Intel says their RCP (Recommended Customer Price) at $262. Keep in mind this price is for retailers buying in quantities of 1000 chips. More likely we’ll see the i5-10600k retail for $300 or more. At the time of this review the AMD Ryzen 5 3600x on sale for $204. However, with a decent overclock the i5-10600k reaches the gaming performance of the i9-10900k. Overall, the i5-10600k was just a little more impressive in terms of performance and overclockability.


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