Chip designer Intel, has revealed its long-awaited 10th-generation Intel Core S-series processors that pack up to 10 cores and 5.3GHz in clock speeds with improved tunability features for desktop PCs.
The company declared the lineup’s flagship 10-core Core i9-10900K the “world’s fastest gaming processor,” beating rival AMD’s 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X on the majority of the more than 25 games tested internally, though the chipmaker did not elaborate on the results.
Intel announced 32 processors in the new 14-nanometer lineup, code-named Comet Lake S, on Thursday, promising performance gains over the ninth-generation Core processors launched in 2018 that feature up to eight cores and 5GHz in turbo frequency.
The processors, which will be available starting this month, will require a new motherboard that supports the Intel 400 Series chipset.
Comparing to the previous generation eight-core i9-9900K, Intel said the new 10-core i9-10900K provides up to 18 percent faster 4K video editing. In terms of gaming performance, the processor provides up to 10% more frames per second for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, up to 13% for Monster Hunter World and up to 33% for Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord.
As for how Intel’s flagship processor compares to a three-year-old system running a seventh-generation i7-7700K, the company is promising up to 35% faster 4K video editing and up to two times faster for “megatasking.” As for PC games, the gains in frames per second range from 37-81%.
Brandt Guttridge, senior director of desktop and workstation product marketing at Intel, said the 10th-generation Intel Core desktop lineup was designed to deliver faster speed, better tunability and performance that reflects real-world use cases versus artificial benchmarks.
“Frequency ends up being one of the fundamental capabilities of pushing those real-world use cases,” he said.
While the highest core count of the new Intel Core line-up still falls short of AMD’s 12-core and 16-core Ryzen 9 processors that launched last year, the processors eclipse the high end of AMD’s boost frequency of 4.7GHz. Brandt emphasized the importance of high-frequency cores in games and most applications, saying that around 60 of games are optimised to run on a single core.
Based on Intel’s internal research, according to Brandt, 95% of the systems connecting to Steam, the largest PC game marketplace, “are using a system with six cores or below.
“That’s a very large install base of a relatively medium to low core count depending on how you want to define that,” he said. “So the frequency on those critical six cores, those critical four, critical eight cores or whatever it might be is a huge factor in delivering performance.”
To support greater flexibility in tuning the performance of the new processors, Intel has introduced new overclocking features such as the ability to enable and disable hyperthreading on individual cores and enhanced voltage/frequency curve controls to provide the “best overclocking experience.”
“You can pick and choose what core count and thread count you want to operate at,” Brandt said.
The processors also come with a refreshed Intel Extreme Tuning Utility that is meant to provide a visualisation of how the system is operating, including when it’s being tuned.
To improve the thermal performance of the processors from a silicon design standpoint, Intel decided to use a thinner die and a thicker copper integrated heat spreader than previous generations, which Brandt said allows less heat to get captured in the processor and improve overclocking capabilities as a result.