With AMD’s lineup of 5000 series CPUs and even Intel’s Rocket Lake processors, is there still an argument for Intel’s Comet Lake generation of chips? In this comparison, the mid-tier behemoth Ryzen 5 5600X is going to square up against the previous generation’s enthusiast-tier Comet lake i7-10700K to see which is the better value for performance in 2021.
It’s often said that the new Rocket Lake lineup’s 14nm node design is simply a refresh of Comet Lake, but the reuse goes a bit further back. Comet lake’s node design and chip infrastructure was a refresh of the previous generation Skylake CPUs. So, AMD’s brand-new 7nm design makes for a denser structure capable of delivering better performance and speed at a lower power consumption. Additionally, the 5000 series AMD chips can take full advantage of PCIe Gen 4 while Intel’s Comet Lake chips are stuck with the older PCIe 3.0 interface.
|CPU||Intel Core i7-10700K||Ryzen 5 5600X|
|Integrated Graphics||UHD 630 Graphics||No|
|Included Cooler||No||Wraith Stealth|
Cores, Threads, & Clock Speeds – i7-10700K
The i7-10700K comes out strong with 8 cores and 16 threads. Team Blue’s CPU is capable of a base clock speed of just 3.8GHz but can be boosted up to a staggering 5.1GHz through overclocking. Meanwhile, the Ryzen 5 5600X comes in a bit behind at 6 cores and 12 threads. The AMD chip starts with a base clock speed of 3.7GHz and can cruise up to 4.6GHz through overclocking.
Intel comes out ahead in terms of raw core count and clock speeds, but there is a bit more to performance than the numbers. If you look at the entire Comet Lake lineup, the i7-10700K is in a strange performance bracket. It delivers comparable performance to the flagship i9-10900K despite being around $100 cheaper, but it also doesn’t offer vastly improved performance over the i5-10500K while being $100 more expensive. It’s situated at an odd in-between bracket that can leave some users disappointed during benchmarks versus higher-end competitor options.
L3 Cache & TDP – Ryzen 5 5600X
L3 Cache and TDP are where the i7-10700K begins to show its age compared to the newer Ryzen 5 5600X. The Comet Lake chip has a small L3 cache of 16MB and a power-hungry TDP at 125W during regular tasks. In comparison, the Ryzen 5 5600X has double the L3 Cache at 32MB and a much lower TDP of 65W. The large cache, low power draw, and stellar multi-thread performance give the AMD chip a good lead in terms of productivity-related tasks while still being a capable gaming CPU. The i7-10700K’s power consumption can make it a difficult pick in 2021 due to the equally power-demanding 3000 series GPUs from Nvidia. Going with Team Red here can save money with less need for a robust power supply.
Integrated Graphics – i7-10700K
Of course, the i7-10700K is going to be a great option for those looking to wait and try to get a GPU at MSRP or are going to be running a PC that does not require a discrete graphics card. The Intel CPU comes packed with integrated UHD 630 graphics. Now, the integrated graphics won’t replace a standalone card in gaming performance, but it will make it easier to troubleshoot and boot your PC if you are waiting on a card to arrive and want to make sure all of your components work before the return window closes. As has been the trend for the last few generations, AMD does not include integrated graphics with its CPUs.
Bundled Cooler – Ryzen 5 5600X
On the other side of things, the Ryzen 5 5600X allows users to get their CPU socketed and running with a bundled Wraith Stealth cooler that is fairly good for a stock cooling solution. It will be able to handle the minimal heat that the CPU produces and will be capable enough for the vast majority of users in this performance range. In fact, it is the only Ryzen 5000 series CPU to come with a bundled cooler, making it a solid deal for the budget-conscious consumer. Intel continues its trend of no longer including bundled coolers with their CPUs, which makes a bit of sense. The higher power draw means these chips give off a good deal of heat compared to the AMD offerings. A stock cooler would likely struggle to keep temperatures down.
Price – Ryzen 5 5600X
With the I7-10700K inching ahead slightly in single-thread tasks like gaming and the Ryzen 5 5600X being slightly better at multi-thread productivity tasks, the determining factor for many users will be the price. The original MSRP for the i7-10700K was situated right around $375, but the CPU can be found for as low as $315 during sales. The Ryzen 5 5600X is newer and still sits at its MSRP of $299 on most sites.
Verdict – Ryzen 5 5600X
Despite being outperformed slightly in single-thread gaming, the Ryzen 5 5600X is the better value for performance. Its newer design, low power consumption, beefy L3 cache, and PCIe 4.0 compatibility make it an incredible deal for just $299. The i7-10700K does offer some advantages and even has higher average clock speeds, but the dated design and infrastructure of the Comet Lake chip hold it back.