Test Bed and Setup

As per our processor testing policy, we take a premium category motherboard suitable for the socket, and equip the system with a suitable amount of memory running at the manufacturer's maximum supported frequency. This is also typically run at JEDEC subtimings where possible. It is noted that some users are not keen on this policy, stating that sometimes the maximum supported frequency is quite low, or faster memory is available at a similar price, or that the JEDEC speeds can be prohibitive for performance. While these comments make sense, ultimately very few users apply memory profiles (either XMP or other) as they require interaction with the BIOS, and most users will fall back on JEDEC supported speeds - this includes home users as well as industry who might want to shave off a cent or two from the cost or stay within the margins set by the manufacturer. Where possible, we will extend out testing to include faster memory modules either at the same time as the review or a later date.

Test Setup
Intel Core 10th Gen Intel Core i9-10900K
Intel Core i7-10700K
Intel Core i5-10600K
Motherboard ASRock Z490 PG Velocita (P1.30a)
CPU Cooler TRUE Copper (2kg)
DRAM Corsair Vengeance RGB 4x8GB DDR4-2933
Corsair Vengeance RGB 4x8GB DDR4-2666
GPU Sapphire RX 460 2GB (CPU Tests)
MSI GTX 1080 Gaming 8G (Gaming Tests)
PSU Corsair AX860i
SSD Crucial MX500 2TB
OS Windows 10 1909


Please note we are still using our 2019 gaming test suite for CPU reviews with a GTX 1080. We are in the process of rewriting our gaming test suite with some new tests, such as Borderlands and Gears Tactics, as well as changing the settings we test and moving up to an RTX 2080 Ti. It's going to take a while to do regression testing for our gaming suite, so please bear with us.



Many thanks to...

We must thank the following companies for kindly providing hardware for our multiple test beds. Some of this hardware is not in this test bed specifically, but is used in other testing.

Hardware Providers
Sapphire RX 460 Nitro MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X OC Crucial MX200 +
MX500 SSDs
Corsair AX860i +
AX1200i PSUs
G.Skill RipjawsV,
SniperX, FlareX
Crucial Ballistix


Scale Up vs Scale Out: Benefits of Automation

One comment we get every now and again is that automation isn’t the best way of testing – there’s a higher barrier to entry, and it limits the tests that can be done. From our perspective, despite taking a little while to program properly (and get it right), automation means we can do several things:

  1. Guarantee consistent breaks between tests for cooldown to occur, rather than variable cooldown times based on ‘if I’m looking at the screen’
  2. It allows us to simultaneously test several systems at once. I currently run five systems in my office (limited by the number of 4K monitors, and space) which means we can process more hardware at the same time
  3. We can leave tests to run overnight, very useful for a deadline
  4. With a good enough script, tests can be added very easily

Our benchmark suite collates all the results and spits out data as the tests are running to a central storage platform, which I can probe mid-run to update data as it comes through. This also acts as a mental check in case any of the data might be abnormal.

We do have one major limitation, and that rests on the side of our gaming tests. We are running multiple tests through one Steam account, some of which (like GTA) are online only. As Steam only lets one system play on an account at once, our gaming script probes Steam’s own APIs to determine if we are ‘online’ or not, and to run offline tests until the account is free to be logged in on that system. Depending on the number of games we test that absolutely require online mode, it can be a bit of a bottleneck.

Benchmark Suite Updates

As always, we do take requests. It helps us understand the workloads that everyone is running and plan accordingly.

A side note on software packages: we have had requests for tests on software such as ANSYS, or other professional grade software. The downside of testing this software is licensing and scale. Most of these companies do not particularly care about us running tests, and state it’s not part of their goals. Others, like Agisoft, are more than willing to help. If you are involved in these software packages, the best way to see us benchmark them is to reach out. We have special versions of software for some of our tests, and if we can get something that works, and relevant to the audience, then we shouldn’t have too much difficulty adding it to the suite.

Socket, Silicon, Security, Overclocking, Motherboards Core-to-Core Latency: Issues with the Core i5
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  • Gastec - Friday, May 22, 2020 - link

    Basically you just have to type "allyourbasearebelongtous +$50/surprisemechanic" and you get all the framerate you want in your favorite multiplayer FPShooter.
  • Boshum - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    I think it's a viable alternative to Ryzen 3000, so it's not pointless. It's about equal in performance for most people. A little more expensive and power hungry core for core, but it's more of a flavor thing now. It's still better for certain gaming and application scenarios. Hyperthreading makes the low to midrange a much more reasonable option too, with heat and power being no big deal there. The only place it can't compete with Ryzen is at the very high end for power users doing heavy multi-core work.
  • Dribble - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    I'd be the sort of person to look at a 10700K but power usage is just too high. I want to be able to stick a high end air cooler on it, o/c and still have it run pretty quiet. I'd have to go water with one of these and I can't be bothered with that. Not worth it for the small performance increment over more efficient chips.
  • IBM760XL - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Agreed. The 10700K and 10900K use more power per core than my ancient-but-trusty 2500K, at least with stock settings. Sure, the new chips get somewhat better IPC, but I can't justify switching from a Sandy Bridge that's nice and quiet even at 100% load, to a Comet Lake that will require Serious Cooling to have an outside chance of being as quiet.

    I could look at lower-end hex-core Comet Lake chips instead, but why would I do that when I could just as well get an octo-core Ryzen 7 3700, or a Ryzen 5 3600 that will have better performance than an i5-10500?
  • Boshum - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    I should think the 10500 and 3600 would be pretty close at stock, though you have more overclocking options with the 3600. It's the future Rocket Lake vs Ryzen 4000 options that is more interesting.
  • warrenk81 - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    typo in the dropdown for the final page, move/more.
  • colonelclaw - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Grammar error, too. Less/fewer.
  • Flunk - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Well, Intel's back on top for gaming, by a small marging, with chips that can fry an egg. Maybe it'll force AMD to lower their prices on their high-end chips. I don't really fancy a 250+ Watt CPU.
  • DrKlahn - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    You can already get the 3900x for $410 on Amazon. Unless you have a use case that heavily favors Intel that would seem to be a pretty good value already. A good B450 board capable of handling it could be had for not much more than the difference in chip cost (provided that fits your needs).
  • Irata - Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - link

    Yup, and like the article says that includes an HSF that will do the job.

    Contrast that with the 10900k which retails for $530 on Newegg (not available) and which requires you to spend $ 200+ for a proper cooling set up and you are looking at $ 410 vs. $ 730, i.e. paying 56% more for the 10900k. And that does not even include case fans, mainboard, PSU.

    If gaming is what one is after, the 9700k looks much more attractive than the 10900k.

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