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Intel Core i5-10600K Versus Ryzen 5 3600X: What’s The Best six-Core Processor?

intel core i9-10900k

Today I’m reviewing Intel Core i5-10600K, which is the company‘s new 10th Gen flagship six-core processor. It differs to it’s successor, the Core i5-9600K, in a number of ways and is perhaps a far more interesting addition to Intel’s product stack than the Core i9-10900K, which I’ve also reviewed today.

Firstly and most importantly, Intel has introduced hyper-threading, not just with the Core i5-10600K, but with every other Core-branded 10th Gen CPU too. It means the new CPU gets 12 threads to hammer multi-threaded tasks with, instead of just six with the Core i5-9600K.

Ultimately, this means that the Core i5-10600K is going to be far more potent in multi-threaded tasks including some games, than its predecessor as well as more competitive against the competition; AMD’s six-core CPUs usually blasted the Core i5-9600K when it came to multi-threaded performance.

However, it differs in other ways too. You get a 200MHz higher peak boost frequency and 400MHz higher base frequency. Interestingly, Intel has also bumped the cache up to 12MB in total. What we have here, then, is essentially a reincarnated Core i7-8700K, which also had six cores, 12 threads and 12MB cache, while the Core i5-9600K only had six threads and 9MB cache.

However, while today will be focusing on performance versus the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X, there is one big issue here – pricing. AMD has been reducing prices over the last few weeks, but as you can see above, the Core i5-10600K is set to retail for a 1K unit price of $262. That’s likely to be closer to $300 retail, which means that price-wise, AMD’s Ryzen 7 3700X is actually a better comparison so I’ve included it in the graphs too.

Test systems

I have brand new test systems that use the latest Windows 10 1909 update plus the latest drivers, Windows updates, security fixes and BIOS versions as of 16th May 2020. This is all essential as they include the latest security fixes and performance enhancements so I’d be very wary of any benchmarks out there that do not specify this aspects of their test systems. In short, their results maybe invalid. I’ve re-tested every single processor in the graphs so all the results are comparable and what you can expect from a new system.

I’d like to thank Watercooling UK, Barrow and Corsair for supplying the water-cooled parts of my test systems, Corsair for also supplying the memory and power supplies, MSI for supplying the motherboards, Nvidia the graphics cards, AMD and Intel the CPUs with the latter also supplying the M.2 SSDs.

AMD test system:
Motherboards: MSI MEG X570 Unify and MPG X470 Gaming Pro Carbon WiFi
Intel test system:
Motherboard: MSI MEG Z390 Ace, MSI MEG Z490 Ace

Common components

  • Barrow Rhopilema water-cooled test bench
  • Corsair HydroX water-cooling components including two 240mm radiators per test bench
  • Corsair 3466MHz Vengeance RGB Pro memory
  • 1TB Intel SSD 760p M.2 SSD
  • Nvidia RTX 2070 Super
  • Corsair RM850i PSU

Overclocking

I overclock each processor where possible so enthusiasts can see how much extra performance they can gain from doing this and you can see these results in the graphs.
Both Intel 10th Gen CPUs hit 5.1GHz on all cores quite easily, however, while I could boot and run most tests at 5.2GHz, the Blender benchmark saw stability issues so I decided to leave things at 5.1GHz. I have to say that temperatures were much lower than I expected too, with 5.1GHz on the Core i9-10900K easily tamable on my test bench using liquid cooling, perhaps thanks to the new thinner die and thicker heatspreader that Intel claims boosts cooling.
Intel Core i9-10900K: 5.1GHz using 1.3V
Intel Core i5-10600K: 5.1GHz using 1.32V

The overclocks for the CPUs I’ve listed are:

AMD Ryzen 3 3100: 4.6GHz, AMD Ryzen 3 3300X: 4.6GHz, AMD Ryzen 5 1600X – 3.95GHz, AMD Ryzen 5 2600 – 4.1GHz, Intel Core i3-9350K – 5GHz, Rzen 9 3950X – 4.35GHz, Ryzen 7 3800X: 4.4GHz, Ryzen 5 3600: 4.25GHz, Ryzen 5 3600X: 4.25GHz, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X: 4.3GHz, AMD Ryzen 7 3700X: 4.3GHz, Intel Core i9-9900K: 5GHz, Intel Core i7-9700K: 5.1GHz, Intel Core i5-9600K:Intel Core i7-8700K: 5GHz.

Gaming benchmarks
Borderlands 3
There’s really not much in it between the Core i5-10600K, Ryzen 5 3600X and move six-core CPUs in fact in Borderlands 3 and only the Core i7-9700K managed to edge ahead of the crowd.Once overclocked, though, the core i5-10600K was very fast indeed, outstripping the 99th percentile minimum frame rate of the best AMD chip by 8fps.

Metro Exodus

At these settings Metro Exodus is a tough game to run fast and there’s less load on the CPU. As a result the Core i5-10600K only had a lead of 2fps on the 99th percentile minimum frame rate of the Ryzen 7 3700X and 4fps over the Ryzen 5 3600X and didn’t add much more once overclocked. At lower settings or with a more powerful graphics card, that gap might widen.

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