Intel’s 10th Gen ‘Comet Lake’ CPU
As expected, Intel has introduced the tenth generation of its desktop processors under the name Comet Lake S. With this, the processor manufacturer wants to gain ground against AMD’s Ryzen 3000.
Almost nine months after the introduction of the Comet Lake series for mobile processors, Intel is also following suit at the desktop level. The new desktop processors of the Core i-10000 series aka Comet Lake S are supposed to attack AMD’s Ryzen 3000. The new top model, the Core i0-10900K, aims to deliver up to 30 percent more performance than the previous top model, the Core i9-9900K.
Top CPU Core i9-10900K to be 30 percent faster than its predecessor
As expected, the Core i9-10900K comes with ten computing cores and thus 20 threads. It is still manufactured with structure widths of 14 nanometers. However, Intel wants to have further improved the process so that it was possible to further increase the clock rates. Intel specifies the 10900K at up to 5.3 gigahertz with a power dissipation of 125 watts.
However, the maximum performance is only achieved with the so-called Thermal Velocity Boost, which Intel already uses in mobile processors for notebooks. The CPUs only reach the highest clock rate for a short time before the chips heat up too much due to the necessary voltage. The basic clock rate is 3.7 gigahertz.
|Processor||Cores/Threads||Base Clock||Single/All Core Turbo||TDP||Cost|
Intel claims: i9-10900K is the fastest gaming processor in the world
Intel confidently calls the Core i9-10900K the “fastest gaming processor in the world”. In order to further optimise performance for this very application, Intel allows flexible overclocking for each individual computing core.
Intel shows the effects in a comparison graphic, which also shows the increased performance in comparison to the previous version. Editors are most likely to be interested in the 19 percent higher performance in video editing. If you have a three year old PC in use, Intel even promises you a performance increase of up to 35 percent.
Core i-10000 sits in 400 series motherboards with LGA1200 and Thunderbolt 3
All new processors have in common that they use Intel’s 400 chipset, which is prepared for Thunderbolt 3, and support the new standard Wi-Fi 6 (Gig Plus). Intel is switching to LGA1200 in terms of CPU socketing. Core i-9000 can’t be operated in it.
Below the current i9 with its ten cores are the Core i7 with eight, the Core i5 with six and the Core i3 with four cores. Intel remains true to its UHD 630 in terms of graphics chip. The i9 and i7 support DDR4-2933, i5 and i3 to DDR4-2666 memory.
Hyperthreading also for Intel 10th Gen i3, i5 and i7
The most interesting innovation for buyers of all classes below i9 is the return of hyperthreading. This allows processors to process two threads per core instead of one. In the previous version, only the i9 had this technology; with Comet Lake S, all CPUs starting with the i3.
Wholesale prices for the new processors range from 400 to 500 US dollars for the i9, around 160 to 370 dollars for the i5 and between 120 and 150 dollars for the i3 series. Intel has not communicated when the processors will be available. So far, availability was assumed to start in the second week of May.
What to consider when buying RAM modules?
Regardless of the type of memory you are buying, you should check the following questions, which are often answered in the manual or on the manufacturer’s website:
- How many (free) slots are there on the motherboard?
- Are they DDR3 or DDR4 slots?
- Does the CPU cooler overhang the slots, limiting the height of the RAM modules?
- What is the maximum amount of memory in GiByte (total/per module) allowed?
- For which clock frequency are CPU and mainboard designed?
- Are there any other restrictions, for example regarding the internal structure (memory ranks per module)?
- For overclockers: Are the components suitable for memory overclocking?
Besides the hardware, the operating system also limits the reasonable RAM size. For example, Windows 7 Home Premium only supports up to 16 GiByte, Windows 8 and 10 at least 128 GiByte (in the 64-bit version). AMD’s FX series and Ryzen support ECC, but in desktop PCs “unbuffered”, “unregistered” RAM without ECC is sufficient. Behind the terms “fully buffered”, “registered” and “ECC” are techniques that typically ensure the data integrity of servers with very large amounts of memory.
If you have free slots and want to increase the amount of RAM, you can buy the currently installed memory for the sake of simplicity. If identical memory is no longer available (at a reasonable price), you can choose modules with similar characteristics (clock rate, capacity, voltage, timings, ranks). In the manual and on the support website of the motherboard you can usually find lists of compatible memory modules.
How much RAM do I need?
The most important property of RAM is the capacity, because it has the biggest influence on the performance of the whole system. If the amount of memory is too small, content often has to be requested from the SSD or HDD, because the RAM is fully utilized and cannot hold all the required data. Since these storage media are significantly slower than RAM in terms of transfer rate and access time, you will notice these waiting times when using the PC. With simple tasks such as surfing the Internet, you can still get over it, but with PC games, you quickly reach the limit of what is bearable.
RAM test: 16 GiByte RAM for PC games are sufficient
There is not too much RAM. However, you can achieve better system performance if you don’t just put your money into as much RAM as possible, but into the capacity actually needed and RAM modules with better performance values (clock/timings).
We recently investigated in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Kingdom Come: Deliverance and Quake Champions (including graphics mods) in several test series which performance differences result from using 4, 8, 16 and 32 GiByte RAM.
It turned out: 4 GiByte are insufficient, even for low budget PCs. With 8 GiByte all titles were playable, but gamers have to expect limitations: In a direct comparison with 16 GiByte more micro jerking occurs with half the memory capacity in some games. The frame times increase to 20 to 25 ms in these cases, while the frame times with 16 GiByte are at a maximum delay of 15 ms. As the larger fluctuations with 8 GiByte disturb the game flow, we agree with the recommendation increasingly often given by developers: With 16 GiByte you are well positioned in current games. In individual cases, like Ark Park, the minimum system requirement is already 16 GiByte and 32 GiByte might be more future-proof.
Working memory: Is 32 GiByte or more worth it?
Up to now, 32 GiByte bring few advantages for playing on the PC in direct comparison with 16 GiByte. Even with this amount of RAM, minimal jerking can occasionally occur. However, this is often not due to a lack of memory, but to the peculiarities of the engine. Especially open-world titles, even with a lot of RAM, take a short reload pause every now and then. 32 GiByte are interesting for players who have a larger budget, are prepared for all cases or like to multitask. If the price-performance ratio is very important to you, this amount of RAM is not yet worth it. In view of the fallen prices, 32 GiByte is still recommendable for upgradeers with a medium to long-term horizon. Already with the next console generation, the RAM requirement of games could increase significantly again.
If you make intensive use of image processing, virtual machines and/or RAM disks, you might need more than 16 or 32 GB of memory. In this case, manufacturer recommendations, the experiences of other users and your own observations can help you. By default, Photoshop reserves about 70% of the available memory and outputs an efficiency value of 100% in the ideal case. Lower values indicate a swapping to the SSD/HDD, more RAM might help.
How important is RAM clocking speed for Intel 10th Gen CPUs?
RAM is one of the most important components of a PC. What role do the clock and latencies play? Current CPUs from AMD and Intel now support memory with quite fast clock rates of up to 2933 MHz ex works. Beyond that, higher clock rates are nothing unusual anymore – in these cases, the use of a special profile allows the correct control of the RAM. To get these clock rates, however, you have to make a setting in the bios.
|CPU socket||Processor type||Supported RAM clock|
|Intel 1200||10th Generation Intel Cor i5 / i7 / i9||3200 MHz|
|Intel 1151 v2||Core i5 / i7-8000, Core i5 / i7 / i9-9000||2666 MHz|
|Intel 1151 v2||Core i3-8000, Core i3-9000, Celeron G, Pentium Gold||2400 MHz|
|Intel 1151||Core i3 / i5 / i7-7000, Pentium G, Pentium Gold||2400 MHz|
|Intel 1151||Core i3 / i5 / i7-6000, Pentium G, Celeron G||2133 MHz|
|Intel 2066||Core i5 / i7 / i9-7000, Core i7 / i9-9000||2666 MHz|
|Intel 2066||Core i7-7000||2400 MHz|
|AMD AM4||Ryzen X 3000||3200 MHz|
|AMD AM4||Ryzen 3/5/7 2000||2933 MHz|
|AMD AM4||Ryzen 3/5/7 1000, Athlon||2666 MHz|
|AMD AM4||Athlon X, Ax||2400 MHz|
|AMD TR4||Ryzen Threadripper 2000||2933 MHz|
|AMD TR4||Ryzen Threadripper 1000||2666 MHz|
With many available mainboards the maximum RAM clock is stated much higher than the above mentioned values. The easiest way to clock the RAM higher is to use the so-called XMP (Extreme Memory Profile). The manufacturers of RAM bars and mainboards specify higher maximum RAM clock rates in this profile. This is often accompanied by an increase in the supply voltage. Even if the manufacturers carry out extensive tests for this, you will not receive an absolute guarantee regarding compatibility and stability. This means that if you plan to use a PC in 24/7 operation, it is not recommended to activate such a profile.
To get the maximum data throughput, please note how many memory channels are supported by the motherboard you are using. This number indicates how many memory locks the processor or memory controller can address in parallel. Most mainboards use a dual-channel architecture. In this case, two RAM modules give you a significant performance boost compared to a single memory bar.
What is RAM timing?
On RAM you will find number sequences like “8-8-8-24” or “CL8 8-8-24”. The numbers are the timings and are in the order CL, tRCD, tRP and tRAS.
- CL stands for CAS Latency and refers to the interval that elapses between the processor’s data request and the start of data delivery by the working memory.
- tRCD stands for RAS to CAS delay. This is the interval that elapses between the addressing of the line and the subordinate column.
- tRP stands for RAS precharge. This is the interval that elapses between deactivating a row and selecting a new row.
- tRAS stands for Active to precharge Delay. This is the interval that must elapse after a successful access and before the next access.
What impact do low latencies have on performance for the Intel 10th Gen ‘Comet Lake’ CPUs?
In principle, it can be said that higher clock rates are preferable to lower latency. If the RAM already has the maximum adjustable clock rate, a lower latency can achieve a small performance plus. However, this is only relevant if you want to get the most out of your PC. When using an APU, working memory with low latencies achieves a much greater performance boost. In our example with the 2993 MHz fast DDR4 modules, a latency between 14 and 16 is recommended.
Find out clock rates and change them in the bios
With a current version of Windows 10 it is easy to find out the current RAM clock. Open the Task Manager and switch to the Performance tab. With the window maximized and memory selected, the speed is easy to read. You can also see the number of RAM modules installed and the number of available slots. From this you can conclude whether the RAM is working in the Dual Channel or not.
If you want to increase the RAM clock rate, this can be done quickly in the Bios. To do this, you only need to activate the correct memory profile. To do this, start your PC and press either the “F2” or “Del” key during start-up to access the Bios. There you activate the XMP, which can be found under the Overclocking Settings. Sometimes it is even possible that the RAM is equipped with several profiles – in this case you have the choice. Confirm the changes you have made and restart the PC. In the Task Manager you can then check whether the set clock is still present.
Best RAM for Intel 10th Gen i3 Budget Builds
Best RAM for Intel 10th Gen i7 & i9 Workstation Builds
The Vengeance RGB Pro Kit convinces with a successful RGB lighting, a good basic performance and brings with both Samsung and Micron chips a decent reserve that tuners can release. In a direct comparison, the version manufactured in 2018 is indeed better, but it also cost 480 Dollar at market launch. Meanwhile, the kit is available for 170 Dollaro, which corresponds to a 60 percent price drop and is agreat RAM module for the Intel 10th Gen ‘Comet Lake’ CPU series.
In fact, the Corsair kit is actually one of the cheapest models available on the market with this capacity and a release for DDR4-3200 (or higher), plus RGB LED lighting. In this respect, Corsair’s CMW32GX4M4C3200C18 kit will not be available in 2021 either, but it is a reasonably priced kit with no significant weaknesses. Finally, please don’t forget: We can only provide a small insight with our tests, but we can’t cover all kits available on the market. It is possible that dealers still have copies of the CMW32GX4M4C3200C18 kit with Samsung B dies in stock, and that there may be components other than the Micron D9TBH in use. In any case (as with all DDR4 RAM kits) depending on CPU, motherboard, skill and luck, smaller to larger deviations from the tuning results we achieved can be expected. Great for Intel 10th Gen ‘Comet Lake’ CPU series. Well suited for Intel 10th Gen Core i9-10900, i7-10700 & even i5-10500 CPUs.
Best RAM for Intel 10th Gen Gaming Builds
For the Gaming build with a 10th Gen Intel CPU we chose two RAM models. One with RGB lighting, if you have a gaming pc with a glass case and one non-RGB RAM module for user that do not care about the looks.
Corsair Vengeance LPX
The first product in our RAM comparison, the Vengeance LPX, is from the Corsair range and comes to you in a set of two RAM bars. In terms of its price, this module is in the upper mid-range, which is why it is aimed more at demanding users. Here you get two RAM bars with a memory capacity of 8 gigabytes each and a high clock frequency of 3,000 megahertz.
The Vengeance LPX is optimized for the Intel X99, 100 series and 200 series motherboards. The XMP 2.0 support ensures automatic and trouble-free overclocking. Each module of the Vengeance LPX series consists of an eight-layer PCB and carefully tested memory ICs. The SPD latency on this model is 15-15-15-36.
The maximum operating temperature recommended by the manufacturer is 85 degrees Celsius. The unique design of the heat spreader optimally dissipates heat from the ICs into the system’s cooling path, allowing it to be used even more heavily. This memory has also been tested for low power consumption and maximum compatibility. The dimensions are 6.10 x 3.54 x 0.39 inches and the weight is just under 5 oz. Installation is very easy thanks to the flat design. All in all, a great RAM module for gaming builds with an Intel 10th Gen ‘Comet Lake’ CPU. Well suited for Intel 10th Gen Core i9-10900, i7-10700 & i5-10500 CPUs.
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro
The first thing you notice about the Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro is the freestanding, milky plastic strip at the top edge. Behind this are ten RGB LEDs, which provide chic lighting effects during operation. In the Corsair Vengeance without the Pro name affix, however, the lighting is still largely surrounded by the cooling fins and is therefore somewhat more concealed. Great for Intel 10th Gen ‘Comet Lake’ CPU series builds.
Below the lighting strip, the white heat sink begins, which is perforated in the upper area, allowing the lighting to shine through in some places. In the middle, a black sticker with the product name is emblazoned, which together with the black PCB provides some contrast.
Whilst Adata was able to reduce the Spectrix D41’s overall height a bit due to the new design, the Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro is even a bit larger than the normal version with around 51 mm. Those who use a classic air cooler for the CPU should therefore check if memory and cooler can get in each other’s way.
When the PC is started, the RGB LEDs light up immediately, whose colouring and lighting effect can be controlled in the Corsair iCUE software. With the new version, it is now possible to synchronise the lighting of different Corsair components.
The Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB is also compatible with MSI Mystic Light and Gigabyte RGB Fusion. Our test kit consists of two modules of eight gigabytes each and a clock frequency of 3,600 megahertz at timings of CL 16-18-18-36.
The high clock frequency of 3,600 MHz gives the Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro very good results in our benchmark course. It is on par with Adata’s XPG Spectrix D41 and, depending on the test, is sometimes slightly ahead and sometimes slightly behind its competitor. In the gaming benchmark, both competitors don’t take much notice of each other either, with the Adata Kit slightly ahead. In practice, this shouldn’t be noticeable, especially since the minimum fps only differ by one frame per second.
The Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro is fast, runs stable and enhances the inner workings of any PC with its RGB lighting. With the new iCUE software, lighting can finally be synchronized with other Corsair RGB products. All in all a great RGB RAM solution for all Intel 10th Gen ‘Comet Lake’ CPU builds. Well suited for Intel 10th Gen Core i9-10900, i7-10700 & i5-10500 CPUs.
Best RAM for Intel 10th Gen i3 & i5 Budget Builds
For budget builds with an Intel 10th Gen i3-10100, i3-10300, i3-10320 or i5-10400, i5-10500, i5-10600 we recommend none other than the HyperX Predator 8GB RAM stick. The HyperX Predator 8GB RAM is quite similar to its predecessor in this comparison and is also in the upper midrange in terms of price. The RAM comes along with 8 gigabytes and you get one RAM bar with a clock rate of 3000 megahertz. The operating temperature should be a maximum of 85 degrees Celsius, according to the manufacturer. The voltage required by this model is 1.5 volts, the CAS latency is CL10.
The asymmetrically designed heat sink gives the Fury that certain something optically. Thus, both AMD gamers and Intel gamers get their money’s worth with the HyperX Fury, especially for budget builds with Intel 10th Gen CPUs. This model has also been tested by Kingston on all relevant mainboards from various manufacturers. So you can be relatively sure that the RAM harmonizes perfectly with different brands. The product weight is 1.8 oz. and the dimensions are 0.32 x 1.66 x 5.25 inches.