Having looked at the overall changes brought by the launch of the Intel 10th generation CPUs, and having analyzed both the i9-10900K and i7-10700K, lets now take a closer look to Intel’s mid-range i5-10600K – the CPU meant primarily for gaming and desktop use. How does the i5-10600K fair against the previous-gen i5-9600K, and Intel’s chief competitor in this spectrum of CPUs, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600?
Intel i5-10600K vs 9600K vs Ryzen 3600: Specification Comparison
Now with hyperthreading capabilities, the i5-10600K features a six core, twelve thread count, a 12 MB level 3 cache, and an impressive 4.1 GHz base processing frequency, with a capacity to overclock to 4.8 GHz. This CPU lacks both the Intel Thermal Velocity Boost Frequency, as well as the more useful Turbo Boost Max 3.0 Technology found in its i9-10900K and i7-10700K counterparts. What is quite surprising about this CPU is its incredibly high TDP of 125W, which can be lowered to 95W via Intel’s new configurable TDP-down feature, which will also lessen the base operating frequency to 3.8 GHz. 128 GB of RAM is the maximum memory size this CPU can support, with base speeds of DDR4 2666 MHz, and a max memory bandwidth of 41.6 GB/s. Once again, we only have a recommended customer price for this CPU, meaning that we have the price for a wholesale of approximately one thousand units. That price currently sits at $262, meaning the actual retail price will most likely be well upwards of $300. Also, to mention, the i5-10600K will have a Z490 compatible, LGA 1200 chipset.
Having launched toward the end of 2018, the Intel i5-9600 lacks the hyperthreading capabilities of its new iteration, as it features a 6 core, and 6 thread, configuration, with a 9 MB L3 cache, and an operating frequency of 3.7 GHz that can overclock to 4.6 GHz. It has a TDP of 95W, and shares the exact same memory specifications with the Intel i5-10600K. The i5-9600 currently sells for $199.69, not including a CPU cooler.
Though the i5-10600K looks like it will be priced more so in the range with the Ryzen 7 3700X, let’s compare it to the AMD’s mid-range option, the Ryzen 5 3600X. This Zen2, AM4, processor has 6 cores and 12 threads, a level 3 cache of 32 MB, and a base operating frequency of 3.8 GHz; overclocking to 4.4 GHz. Additionally, it is manufactured with a 7nm architecture (versus the 14nm lithography of the Intel 9th and 10th gen processors) and is PICe 4.0 compatible (versus only 3.0 compatibility for the Intel processors). The Ryzen 5 3600X has a TDP of 95W, and includes a Wraith Spire CPU cooler (again, missing from the Intel processors). Finally, in terms of memory, this CPU can handle up to 128 GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, with a max bandwidth of 47.68 GB/s. You can currently find this CPU selling for $204.99.
i5-10600K vs 9600K vs 3600: Best for Gaming?
The main factors to take into consideration when making a comparison, include the hyperthreading capabilities of the CPUs, their intended use, and of course, their cost. Currently, the i5-9600K will work just fine with most current-gen, and popular online multiplayer, games, but will surely start to have difficulty processing more recent and upcoming triple-A single player games set to be launched with the next generation of consoles. All three of the aforementioned CPUs are great for handling less demanding popular esports titles, such as Dota 2, League of Legends, CS: GO, or Fortnite, but they can currently handle playing demanding triple-A games too, even if that isn’t in their highest settings or resolutions.
The fact that the Ryzen 5 3600(X) currently has these capabilities, and will probably have them for a few more years to come, make it currently a better overall option for this type of use. The fact that it has such an increased cache, a better TDP, and PCIe Gen4 compatibility are all factors for the argument that this CPU can also work well for light working loads like streaming/editing applications. It may not reach the FPS levels of the overclocked i5-9600K, but it will still do the job it is meant for just fine, and maintains the ability to multithread, whereas the i5-9600K cannot.
Is the i5-10600K worth it (vs Ryzen 5 3600 & 9600K)?
Intel’s new i5-10600K seems to be situated in a weird position. Sure, it will also overclock better than the Ryzen 5 3600X, and will reach higher frame rates in gaming, but at its current price it seems to be competing with AMD’s Ryzen 7 3700X ($308), which is an 8 core 16 thread processor, and a much better CPU candidate moving forward into the next generation of consoles and gaming.
On the other hand, if you’re an overclocking enthusiast that enjoys Intel’s high-speed overclocking, then you’d be much better off with the Intel i7-10700K, which allows you more freedom in regards to overclocking with the Turbo Boost Max 3.0 Technology – a CPU which will also fare far better with upcoming AAA titles.
If you are don’t care much for triple-A titles, but would rather just have the ability to play competitive multiplayer games at high settings and framerates, then an Intel i3 processor will work just fine for you, or of course, the Ryzen 5 3600, which would only cost you $174, while including a Wraith Stealth Cooler.
It is difficult to find the audience for which this i5-10600K processor aims to favor, as better options exist at this price-range for most of its intended uses. The saving grace for this CPU is the base operating frequency of 4.1 GHz, which is great for those that don’t bother overclocking their CPU, since they will see a noticeable difference in comparison to other mid-range CPUs.
If you’re looking to upgrade to the 10th generation Intel processors, it seems like the i5-10600K is the best price-to-value option for high speed overclocking, as well as adequate futureproofing for the next several years of games to be released. If you’re looking for a CPU on a budget, then perhaps either the Ryzen 5 3600 or a 10th generation i3 processor are best suitable for your needs. That being said, if you are a longtime fan of the i5 series of Intel, then this CPU does provide a significantly higher operating speed, double the amount of threads, 200 MHz higher overclocking speeds, and a 44% increase in the L3 cache capacity in comparison to the previous generation i5-9600 – so you will see a significant upgrade in terms of processing power.