Intel Core i5-10600K Review — the de facto gaming CPU?

Vyncent Chan
9 Min Read
Intel Core i5-10600K Review — the de facto gaming CPU?
  • Efficiency - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Features - 8.2/10
    8.2/10
  • Materials - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Performance - 8.2/10
    8.2/10
  • Value - 8/10
    8/10

Summary

If you are going to get a new board anyways, the Intel Core i5-10600K is a worthy consideration for a gaming system.

Overall
8.1/10
8.1/10

Pros

+ Excellent gaming performance
+ Single-core performance is still quite impressive
+ Very easy to cool even when overclocking
+ Hits the sweet spot of value-for-performance

Cons

– Productivity performance is falling behind the competition
– Binning may have affected overclocking headroom
– Power consumption is quite significantly higher than the competition

The mid-range segment is where gamers will generally get the most value. Intel offers the Core i5, and AMD serves up the Ryzen 5 parts in this segment, and they make up the bulk of processor sales for both companies anyway, and Intel definitely needs to regain lost ground in this segment. Enter the Intel Core i5-10600K, a 6-core part that comes with HyperThreading too, unlike its predecessor. The extra threads allows it to compete on equal footing with the 6C/12T AMD Ryzen 5 3600 and 3600X parts too, so which will it be?

Intel Core i5-10600K Review — the de facto gaming CPU? 6

Intel Core i5-10600K Review — the de facto gaming CPU? 6

Intel went with the new thin die STIM, although you won’t notice any differences from the outside. Intel still maintains cooler compatibility with the LGA115x processors, so you won’t need a new cooler with this. It also means that the entire CPU package is the same height despite a thinner die to improve thermal dissipation. Intel made up for the height difference of the unlocked K-series processors with a thicker IHS, although it looks exactly the same from the outside.

Intel Core i5-10600K Review — the de facto gaming CPU? 7

Intel Core i5-10600K Review — the de facto gaming CPU? 7

On the underside is the 1200 pads that will contact the 1200 pins in the LGA 1200 socket. Of course, we didn’t count them. There’s a significant amount of SMD components packed into the center area of the socket, similar to the Core i9-10900K.

Intel Core i5-10600K Specifications

Cores / Threads 6C/12T
Base Clock / Max Boost 4.1 / 4.8 GHz
All Core Boost 4.5 GHz
Cache 12MB L3 cache
Memory Up to 128GB, 2-channel, DDR4-2666
Integrated Graphics Yes, UHD Graphics 630 up to 1.2 GHz
PCIe 16 lanes, PCIe 3.0
TDP 125W
Process 14nm
Socket LGA 1200

One thing you might notice is that the Intel Core i5-10600K offers a lower officially support memory speed as compared to the higher-end 10th Gen Core i7 and Core i9 SKUs. While we didn’t test memory overclocking capability, we used our 3600 MHz CL14 RAM without a single hiccup, so it shouldn’t be too much of a limiting factor when it comes to RAM performance.

Test System

CPU Intel Core i5-10600K
Cooler Cooler Master ML240R
Motherboard ASUS ROG Maximus XII Formula
GPU ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER
Memory 2 x 8GB T-FORCE XTREEM ARGB DDR4-3600 CL14
Storage Kingston UV400 120GB
Kingston UV500 1TB
Seagate FireCuda SSHD 1TB
Power Supply Cooler Master V850

For the stock settings, we set the BIOS to enforce all of Intel’s limits, and all the voltages are auto. The overclocked results are obtained by setting the multiplier to 49 and manually entering 1.350V for Vcore. Now, let’s take a look at the performance data.

Performance

Intel Core i5-10600K Review — the de facto gaming CPU? 8

Intel Core i5-10600K Review — the de facto gaming CPU? 8

Cinebench shows us that the Intel Core i5-10600K still has the lead in the mid-range segment, especially after getting an overclock to bump up the clocks a touch. At stock, it slots in below the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and barely manages to beat the Ryzen 5 3600.

Intel Core i5-10600K Review — the de facto gaming CPU? 9

Intel Core i5-10600K Review — the de facto gaming CPU? 9

Realbench sees a pretty similar scenario, with it sandwiched between the Ryzen 5 3600 and Ryzen 5 3600X at stock, before pulling ahead of the Ryzen 5 3600X once an overclock is applied. However taking a closer look at the scores, it only manages to really pull ahead in the Image Editing, where single-threaded CPU performance is the main contributor to the scores. In the more heavily threaded tests like the H.264 Video Encoding and Heavy Multitasking, it actually falls behind the Ryzen 5 3600, even when running at 4.9 GHz.

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