Intel Core i7-10700K vs Ryzen 9 3900X: Best Value Gaming & Work (2020)

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Best Performance
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core, 24-thread unlocked desktop processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler
Best Price
Intel Core i7-10700 Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 4.8 GHz LGA 1200 (Intel 400 Series Chipset) 65W, BX8070110700
Model
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
Intel Core i7-10700K
Test Result
Test Result 9.6/10 Very Good June 2020
Test Result 9.8/10 Excellent June 2020
Manufacturer
AMD
Intel
Performance category
High-End CPU segment
Mid-range / High-End CPU segment
Cores
12 cores (3.8 GHz up to 4.6 GHz Max Turbo )
8 cores (2.9 GHz up to 4.8 GHz Max Turbo )
Performance for Gaming
Workstation (Applications) Performance
Overclocking possible?
Hyperthreading possible?
First release date
Q3/2019
Q2/2020
Max. RAM
DDR4-3200 up to 128GB
DDR4-2933 up to 128GB
Pros
  • Excellent CPU performance
  • Excellent single thread performance better than Intel
  • Very good price/performance ratio
  • First platform with PCI Express 4.0
  • Good performance and high single thread performance thanks to high clock rates
  • Significantly better temperatures than the predecessor
  • Very high RAM clock rates possible
  • Price for the same number of cores significantly lower than predecessor
Cons
  • Slightly high power consumption of the X570 chipset
  • Prices compared to AMD Ryzen clearly too high
Best Performance
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core, 24-thread unlocked desktop processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler
Model
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
Test Result
Test Result 9.6/10 Very Good June 2020
Manufacturer
AMD
Performance category
High-End CPU segment
Cores
12 cores (3.8 GHz up to 4.6 GHz Max Turbo )
Performance for Gaming
Workstation (Applications) Performance
Overclocking possible?
Hyperthreading possible?
First release date
Q3/2019
Max. RAM
DDR4-3200 up to 128GB
Pros
  • Excellent CPU performance
  • Excellent single thread performance better than Intel
  • Very good price/performance ratio
  • First platform with PCI Express 4.0
Cons
  • Slightly high power consumption of the X570 chipset
Best Price
Intel Core i7-10700 Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 4.8 GHz LGA 1200 (Intel 400 Series Chipset) 65W, BX8070110700
Model
Intel Core i7-10700K
Test Result
Test Result 9.8/10 Excellent June 2020
Manufacturer
Intel
Performance category
Mid-range / High-End CPU segment
Cores
8 cores (2.9 GHz up to 4.8 GHz Max Turbo )
Performance for Gaming
Workstation (Applications) Performance
Overclocking possible?
Hyperthreading possible?
First release date
Q2/2020
Max. RAM
DDR4-2933 up to 128GB
Pros
  • Good performance and high single thread performance thanks to high clock rates
  • Significantly better temperatures than the predecessor
  • Very high RAM clock rates possible
  • Price for the same number of cores significantly lower than predecessor
Cons
  • Prices compared to AMD Ryzen clearly too high

Intel Core i7-10700K vs Ryzen 9 3900X

Intel Core i7-10700K: What’s new?

Intel’s ten-core Core i9-10900K is actually a new development on the desktop market, because ten cores with 5.3 GHz in boost were not available before.

The other models with eight or less cores, on the other hand, are more of a refresh of the Core i9000 models, also in terms of performance.

Let’s start with the eight-core Intel Core i7-10700K. With a base clock rate of 3.8 GHz and a single core boost of 5.1 GHz, this processor should almost look familiar to you.

Only 200 MHz in the base clock and 100 in the boost clock separate this CPU from the Core i9-9900K.

Intel has given the Core i7-10700K as well as the Core i9-10900K a TDP of 125 watts and a memory release up to DDR4-2933.

Furthermore, a 10700K is allowed to boost for 56 seconds (dew) up to a TDP of 229 watts (10900K: 250 watts). In terms of L3 cache (16 MiB) and iGPU (UHD Graphics 630), a Core i7-10700K is then identical to the Core i9-9900K – but about 100 Dollar less expensive.

Thanks to the slightly higher boost, the CPU is a bit faster than its predecessor.

The Techtestreport CPU index certifies the 10700K a roughly two percent higher performance in games.

Howevere, how does the Intel i7 10700K fare vs the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X.

Especially in applications, workstations and gaming?

Price-wise the i7 10700K & the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X are pretty close.

So the big question of this test of Intel i7-10700K vs Ryzen 9 3900X is: Which CPU performs better and which offers the better price-performance ratio.

Test Results: Intel Core i7-10700K vs Ryzen 9 3900X

Ranking First: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Pros

  • Excellent CPU performance
  • Excellent single thread performance better than Intel
  • Very good price/performance ratio
  • First platform with PCI Express 4.0

Cons

  • Slightly high power consumption of the X570 chipset

Best performance in Intel i7-10700K vs Ryzen 9 3900X

Along with the new Navi-GPUs on the Radeon RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT, AMD also introduced the new Ryzen 3000 series processors.

The first CPUs to feature the new “Zen 2” architecture are expected to finally break the dominance of Intel’s X86 CPUs. With Ryzen 2000 series CPUs such as the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, AMD was already close to Intel and caused quite a stir.

But the new Zen 2 platform is supposed to stir up even more wind.

While the “Zen+” architecture of the second generation Ryzen only had minor innovations compared to the first generation models, the company is now drawing on the full potential of the new Zen-2 architecture.

The Ryzen 3000 series processors are the first CPUs with x86 architecture to be manufactured in the 7nm process and, with the introduction of the PCI Express 4.0 standard, also offer an absolute novelty in terms of technical innovations.

AMD’s Ryzen 3000 CPUs are designed for the familiar AM4 socket and do not necessarily require a new motherboard.

However, upgradeers should check the CPU compatibility list of their own motherboard before purchasing a Ryzen 3000 CPU.

In principle, the latest AMD Ryzen 3000 generation CPUs can be used on almost all older motherboards, with some limitations.

The new Ryzen 3 family

The new Ryzen 3 family initially consists of five new models.

Two models of Ryzen 5 as 3500X and 3600X, which are set against the Core i5 models from Intel.

In addition, two models of Ryzen 7 as 3700X and 3800X, which are set against the Core i7 9700K.

And finally the current top model, the Ryzen 9 3900X, which is usually set against the Intel Core i9 9900k.

A Ryzen 9 3950X model has already been announced, but it will be released later this year.

The Ryzen 5 models have 6 cores / 12 threads each, the Ryzen 7 models have 8 cores / 16 threads and the Ryzen 9 will either have 12 cores / 24 threads or the top model 3950X will soon have 16 cores / 32 threads.

The TDP of the CPUs is between 65 Watt and 105 Watt.

With the Ryzen 5 3400G and Ryzen 3 3200G, AMD also presents two new APUs, which feature an integrated Vega-generation graphics unit and four CPU cores each.

However, these are still based on the Zen+ architecture and are therefore rather renamed models of the previous APUs and do not really appear in the new Zen 2 launch.

Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 3900X take the stage

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

For our test, we can use two models of the new Ryzen 3, the Ryzen 7 3700X and the Ryzen 9 3900X.

Both models were provided to us in advance by AMD for the test including suitable motherboards with X570 chipset.

The rough specifications of the Ryzen 7 3700X with eight cores and 16 threads, a clock speed of 3.6 GHz and a boost clock of 4.4 GHz are very similar to the Ryzen 7 2700X based on the Zen+ generation.

It is a bit more leisurely with 3.7 GHz in standard mode and 4.3 GHz in boost mode.

A closer look at the Ryzen 7 3700X shows that AMD has not only been able to increase the CPU’s clock speed a bit by a new manufacturing process, with a lower TDP of 65 instead of 105 watts.

The new generation also has far-reaching changes to the complete design and construction of the processors.

This applies not only to the Ryzen 7 3700X, but to all Ryzen 3000 CPUs presented.

First of all, the level 3 cache has been doubled for all CPUs, which should have a particularly positive effect on gaming performance.

We can also take a closer look at the Ryzen 9 3900X, which is supposed to compete with the Core i9 9900K with 12 cores and 24 threads, in our review.

The even more powerful Ryzen 9 3950X with 16 cores and 32 threads will be available in September, making the 3900X the most powerful of the new processors.

Intel has not yet found a suitable counterpart for these CPUs in the consumer sector.

The Ryzen 7 3800X also offers 8 cores and 16 threads, like the Ryzen 7 3700X, but can come up with 3.8 GHz in standard mode and up to 4.5 GHz in boost mode.

The Ryzen 5 3600X and 3600 without X suffix represent the 6-core CPUs of the series.

We will look at these CPUs later, as they were not available at the launch.

With an aggressive pricing, as well as higher clock rates and more CPU cores, AMD finally wants to claim the crown of consumer CPUs for itself.

A goal that was only just missed with the Zen+.

We’ll show whether the new CPUs of the Ryzen 3000 generation succeed in this in our detailed test report with the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 9 3900X.

Boxed cooler included

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Unlike Intel, AMD isn’t stingy and gives the CPUs a fan in the boxed versions.

Intel has to buy a fan separately and thus increases the price of the CPU by another 30 to 50 Dollar or even more.

The AMD fan is an old acquaintance and was already used in the Ryzen 2.

Its performance is quite good.

Even though it can’t compete with high-end fans in terms of volume, it’s enough to get started with the new Ryzen without having to buy a fan.

Even the large 3900X can be kept at a reasonable temperature with the cooler.

We’ve already told you a lot about the Wraith Prism cooler in the Ryzen 2 review.

AMD Ryzen 3000 CPUs the technology in detail

With the introduction of the Ryzen 3000 CPUs, AMD introduces the newly developed Zen 2 cores.

The architecture has been fundamentally revised, although the design is very similar to the Zen and Zen+ generation.

As you can see in the new schematic drawing of the Zen-2 architecture, AMD hardly changes anything in the rough structure. Instead of a 64K L-Cache 4-way cache, Zen 2 now uses 32K L-Cache with eight ways.

Zen 2 also uses seven shedulers per unit and a third “Address Generation Unit” (AGU) for better DRAM utilization.

For the first time, Zen2 now also supports 256-bit single-OP Floating Point, making the AVX-256 instruction set available.

The size of the micro-OP cache has been doubled to 4K, which should reduce the number of operations that need to be redecoded.

Furthermore, the “TAGE-branch-predictor” has been upgraded for better prediction and misinterpretation.

One of the core features is the doubling of the level 3 cache to 32 megabytes per CCD, which reduces the effective memory latency to 33 nanoseconds and should also have a positive effect on gaming performance.

The register file can now be fed with 180 entries, giving the Ryzen 3000 CPUs more access to data to be processed.

With the Zen 2 cores, AMD has opted for a completely different hardware design, which also effectively prevents Spectre V4 attacks.

Overall, the changes from the Zen+ to the Zen-2 generation are said to have increased IPC performance (instructions per cycle) by about 15 percent.

For the production of the Ryzen 3000 processors, AMD relies on a combination of the latest 7-nm production for the CCD0 and CCD1 with a 74 mm² area with 3.9 billion transistors and an I/O die in the 12-nm production with a 125 mm² area with a total of 2.09 billion transistors.

By mixing the two manufacturing sizes, AMD can probably offer the processors at a lower price than if all components were produced in the latest 7-nm manufacturing facility.

Overall, the 7nm fabrication offers an approximately 29 percent narrower design for the same power and enables up to 75 percent higher performance per watt compared to Ryzen’s second generation CPUs, which are manufactured entirely in the 12nm design.

The new manufacturing process allows the average clock frequency of the processors to be increased by around 350 MHz at the same voltage.

By reducing the space consumption of the Dies, AMD has been able to double the level 3 cache of each processor module in the Ryzen 3000 CPUs.

In addition, with the Ryzen 9 3950X, AMD has been able to fit two additional cores into the same space on the AM4 socket, thus remaining socket compatible with the old standard.

For overclocking and boosting the clock beyond the standard clock, AMD continues to rely on Precision Boost 2 technology, which was introduced with the Ryzen 2000 CPUs, for Ryzen 3000 CPUs.

However, thanks to the lower power consumption of the new manufacturing technology, the boost on Ryzen 3000 CPUs is slightly different from the previous generation.

Overall, the Zen-2 architecture CPUs should be able to sustain longer and higher clock speeds.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

In the I/O area of AMD’s latest generation CPUs, the processor manufacturer is for the first time incorporating the PCI Express 4.0 standard for connecting graphics cards and other additional devices.

The processors provide up to 24 lanes of the new standard, while up to 20 more lanes are implemented via the chipset.

With the maximum expansion of the AM4 platform with X570 chipset, up to 44 PCI Express 4.0 lanes are thus available.

Four lanes each are used by the processor and the chipset for internal communication.

A maximum of 36 PCI Express 4.0 lanes can thus be used to connect graphics cards and additional devices.

The use of PCI Express 4.0 offers several advantages compared to its predecessor.

Due to the doubled bandwidth compared to PCI Express 3.0, fewer lanes are required for the same connection speed or a generally higher bus speed is available.

In addition, the PCI Express 4.0 standard reacts faster than its predecessor, which means that additional performance can be gained.

Depending on the area of application, performance increases by up to 69 percent.

AMD is also redesigning the memory controller with the Ryzen 3000 CPUs.

This is upgraded by significantly better trace routing on the motherboards and official support for DDR4 at 3,200 MHz is released.

However, depending on the DRAM with dual or single ranks used, only DDR4 memory with a maximum of 2,667 MHz is supported.

However, this is only the case for be3i fully populated four DRAM modules with dual-rank (two-sided memory chips).

This combination can also be used to implement systems with up to 128 gigabytes of DDR4 memory via four times 32 GB bars.

AMD itself states that with the Ryzen 3000 processors, many DDR4 modules with up to 4,200 MHz can be used in a compatible motherboard without major user customization.

First overclocking models could also be operated with up to 5,100 MHz on the platform.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

ECC error correction for DDR4 RAM is officially supported by the processors of the Ryzen 3000 CPUs, but requires a compatible motherboard.

The speed of the RAM and the platform consists of the memory clock (mclk), the memory controller clock (uclk) and the Infinity fabric clock (fclk).

While DDR4 memory up to 3,600 MHz allows a 1:1:1 ratio of mlck:ulck:flck, AMD recommends a 2:1 ratio for mclk:ulck for memories above 3,600 MHz.

As soon as values above 3,600 MHz are loaded for RAM, the 2:1 mode is activated and must be reset manually if this is not desired.

In this case, the Infinity fabric clock (fclk) is set to 1,800 MHz regardless of the memory and memory controller clock applied.

The Infinity Fabric clock (fclk) can always be freely configured in 33 MHz steps if required to ensure optimal performance and stability at higher RAM overclockings.

Single-Core Performance

An important aspect of CPUs is the so-called single core performance or better single thread performance, i.e. the performance that the CPU achieves with one thread.

Various benchmarks such as Cinebench offer a special benchmark for this purpose, which is often used for this test.

The CPU performance of current and older CPUs does not only depend on the number of cores and the clock speed, but also on the turbo, i.e. the automatic overclocking of individual cores.

Especially with Intel CPUs, there are considerable differences between the different generations.

And especially with single-thread tasks, the CPUs can even make particularly good use of the boost.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

So two CPUs with a basic clock rate of 3.7 GHz are often not equally fast, simply because they have different turbo stages.

This effect can be easily understood by measuring the performance of a CPU with a fixed clock speed on only one core. This shows the pure single core performance of the CPU without turbo at a fixed clock rate.

If this performance is then calculated down to 1 GHz, one gets a measurement value for the absolute single-core performance of a CPU, which can be easily compared between the generations.

The new Ryzen 3000 CPUs outperform the current Intel CPUs in terms of single-core performance.

A Ryzen 9 3900X is up to 19% faster than the Intel flagship Core i9 9900K.

It can only keep up with the absolute performance because it clocks up to 5 GHz, while the Ryzen 9 3900X only clocks up to 4.6 GHz.

The measurements also show clearly that absolutely nothing has changed in the actual single-core performance at Intel since the Core 6000 generation.

Only the clock rates have increased more and more.

AMD was already close to Intel’s performance with the Ryzen 2000 generation and has now passed Intel with a clear leap forward.

RAM performance and memory clock

AMD relies on the currently very common 3200 MHz for the official memory clock.

Of course faster modules are also possible. When testing with an extremely fast memory kit like the Corsair Vengeance LPX 4500, it quickly becomes apparent where the memory clock starts to become critical.

First of all AMD states that the new X570 platform with Ryzen 3 memory can run at over 5000 MHz.

But this requires special boards, special memory, luck and a lot of tact.

Especially setting the timings is not easy, so special RAM modules optimized for the new Ryzen will probably be released soon.

Some like the Patriot Viper 4 Blackout have already been announced.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Memory modules that are offered with clock rates above 4000 MHz are usually so expensive that they are only interesting for overclockers.

For the normal user modules up to 4000 MHz are attractive at the moment, especially the 3600 MHz models, which are hardly more expensive than the lower clocked ones, should be in focus.

In fact, the new Ryzen 3 with the X570 proves to be very good-natured in our first test up to 3800 MHz.

Our 4500 MHz modules could be started directly at 3800 MHz without any problems and without any special settings.

At 3933 MHz, we already had to make considerable changes to the settings in the bios and adjust the voltages, and the CL value also dropped considerably.

An automatic setup without making any settings by hand was not possible with the boards available to us.

In some quickly executed benchmarks it also became apparent that the performance above 3600 MHz actually doesn’t increase significantly, so that modules above 3600 MHz are rather less worthwhile for normal operation, unless you want to “play around” with them and get the maximum out of the system.

RAM write performance varies depending on CPU

Another interesting aspect of the new Ryzen 3000 series is that not all CPUs have the same memory bandwidth when writing.

For example, when writing with the same memory on 3200 MHz, Ryzen 7 3700X only achieves about half the memory throughput of a Ryzen 9 3900X.

This is due to the design of the CPUs and the chipplets used.

The Ryzen 7 3700X has only one CCD, while the Ryzen 9 3900X has two.

The result is that the write rate is halved. AMD itself has already made a statement about this.

PCie 4.0 performance graphics card

With the new Ryzen 3 platform and the X570 chipset, AMD is the first manufacturer to introduce the new PCie 4.0 standard, which doubles data throughput on the PCE bus.

This significantly increases the transfer speed with which, for example, textures can be loaded into the graphics card.

With increasingly larger memory in the graphics cards and increasingly higher resolutions in the textures, PCIe 4.0 could soon prove to be an advantage.

At the moment, PCIe 4.0 mode only works with the new Radeon RX 5700 series, of course, because the GeForce cards only support PCI 3.0, so we used a Radeon RX 5700 XT from our test of the new Radeon RX 5700 series to test PCIe 4.0 performance.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

The new PCIe test of 3DMark aims to make bandwidth the limiting factor for the performance of the graphics card.

This is done by uploading a large amount of vertex and texture data to the GPU for each frame.

The result of the test is the average bandwidth achieved during the test.

The test displays a kind of “cornfield” with stalks blowing in the wind to visualize the performance.

As you can see in the examples below, the Radeon RX 5700 XT shows exactly twice the performance of a GeForce RTX 2070 running on PCIe 3.0.

The card reaches a performance of 25 GB/s while PCie 3.0 cards reach about 13 GB/s.

So the data throughput has really almost doubled.

PCie 4.0 Performance M.2 SSD

While the increased data transfer with PCIe graphics cards does not bring any performance advantages in practice, the situation is of course different with data storage.

Thanks to brand-new PCIe 4.0 SSDs coming onto the market, the maximum data transfer can be significantly increased here.

One of the first manufacturers to offer PCIe 4.0 SSDs is Corsair.

The new Corsair MP600 is already available to us for a test and we have of course also briefly tested it on the ASRock X570 Taichi against.

By the way, the cooler of the SSD can be easily removed if it should be placed under an existing cooler on the mainboard.

In a few quick benchmarks, the new PCIe 4.0 SSDs show significantly higher maximum read and write rates than the previous PCIe SSDs.

At Corsair this was the Corsair MP510, which at its peak achieves transfer rates of up to 3500 MB/s.

With PCIe 4.0, the data rate rises to a whopping 5006 MB/s and is thus significantly faster.

It should be noted that this is the maximum data throughput that can be achieved even for a very short time. The SSD does not therefore have to become faster in all areas.

We’ll take a closer look at this in an extra review of the MP600.

Verdict: Best performance in Intel i7-10700K vs Ryzen 9 3900X

Our test of the Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 9 3900X clearly shows the advantages and overall performance of the new Zen 2 architecture.

AMD has not only managed to squeeze good efficiency out of its processors with an architecture brain, but also to integrate new and useful features for the consumer platform.

The current battle between CPU manufacturers is entering a new round with the Ryzen 3000 CPUs.

Instead of simply following and always lagging behind, AMD is taking on a pioneering role for the first time in a good 10 years and with PCI Express 4.0 offers a feature that even the latest Intel processors cannot yet offer.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

The shrink from 12 nanometers to 7 nanometers is particularly advantageous in terms of both performance and efficiency.

While Intel still has to fall back on its own 14-nm production for the processors, AMD can benefit from the know-how of the contract manufacturer Globalfoundries and have the actual core modules produced in the 7-nm process.

The fact that not the complete design is manufactured in 7 nanometers should have a positive effect on the pricing and also reflects AMD’s ambitions to be able to offer customers above all a meaningful increase in performance at an acceptable price.

An absolute highlight of the new Ryzen 3000 generation is the Ryzen 9 3900X with 12 cores and 24 threads.

The CPU doesn’t allow itself too much energy with 105 watts of TDP, it can even come up with four more cores in comparison to the Core i9 9900K and offers significantly higher performance overall.

The additional cores come into their own in the professional and content creator area in particular and offer more than 50 percent more performance (Cinebench R20) than the Intel processor, which is set for the same price.

The current flagship from Intel is thus actually left with only one retreat domain and that is high FPS gaming.

In other words, for reduced resolutions or games with particularly high FPS values, the Intel processor is sometimes slightly better.

However, the performance is mainly due to the extremely high boost clock of up to 5 GHz.

The advantage of a previously higher single-thread performance is also gone for Intel.

AMD now takes the lead here as well.

The AMD processor has a significantly higher performance of up to 20% in the normalized single-core performance.

With the Ryzen 3000 CPUs, AMD not only takes over the performance cores for the consumer platform, but also offers a new standard with the introduction of PCI-Express-4.0, which with the ever faster SSDs and graphics cards should turn out to be a real advantage in no time.

In our eyes, AMD has put together an absolutely brilliant overall package, which is further underpinned by the generally acceptable pricing. For the very fair priced Ryzen 9 3900X, just over 400 Dollar are due and that is a snap in view of the prices Intel is calling for for the Core i9 9900K.

After development has come to a standstill in recent years due to Intel’s lethargy, AMD can present a system with the Ryzen 3000 CPUs and Zen 2 architecture that can be recommended without restrictions to enthusiasts and gamers as a currently powerful platform.

Ranking Second: Intel i7 10700K

Intel i7 10700K

Pros

  • Good performance and high single thread performance thanks to high clock rates
  • Significantly better temperatures than the predecessor
  • Very high RAM clock rates possible
  • Price for the same number of cores significantly lower than predecessor

Cons

  • Prices compared to AMD Ryzen clearly too high

Best price in Intel i7-10700K vs Ryzen 9 3900X

With the new Comet Lake generation, Intel is entering the tenth round of Core-i processors and, in addition to a revised architecture, is also introducing a new socket and associated chipsets.

We’ll do the test for you using the two models Intel Core i7-10700K and Core i9-10900K.

The Comet Lake CPU generation was already introduced by Intel with the notebook processors at the beginning of the year and now the processors are finally available as desktop versions.

Due to the Ryzen 3000 CPUs and the powerful Ryzen Threadripper processors, a real arms race has broken out in the x86 processors in the last few months, which has not only had a positive effect on performance but also on prices for the end customer.

While the last CPU generation from Intel produced only a small infusion of performance each time, the manufacturer is now trying not to lose the connection to AMD with much stronger means and to tease even more out of the 14 nm production.

Even with the Comet Lake CPUs, Intel must continue to rely on 14nm production, since 10nm production is still not mature enough.

Although Intel offers some Ice Lake CPUs in the notebook segment, which are produced in the 10nm production, the share of processors is still small, because Intel cannot produce sufficient quantities.

The Comet-Lake CPUs are accordingly based on the Skylake architecture, which was already introduced in 2015, but the 14-nm design developed at that time has again been greatly improved according to Intel.

Among the most significant changes to the new processors are new options in the aTurbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 (TBMT), i.e. the automatic overclocking of the CPUs.

With the new Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB) Intel determines the two best cores of a CPU and gives them an extra boost to the maximum boost clock.

In other words, Intel simply tickles more performance out of the CPUs through improved boost rates and higher clock speeds.

Intel i7 10700K

But Intel has also taken on the cooling of the processors and changed the thickness of the chip of the processors.

In the new Comet Lake CPUs, the die is thinner than in the predecessors.

It is said to have shrunk from 800 µm to 500 µm.

Due to the smaller thickness, the die should have better heat dissipation to the heatspreader.

The heatspreader is thicker on the new CPUs, so that the CPU has the same height, which is why most socket 1151 coolers should work without problems on socket 1200.

With the 10th generation of core processors, Intel is making a classic hard launch.

The CPUs and matching motherboards are already available in stores, even complete systems with the new Intel CPUs are already available from well-known retailers such as Mifcom.

In our first review of the new Intel processors, we take a closer look at the Core i7-10700K and the Core i9-10900K as the respective overclocking models of their series.

Our test samples come from the trade and were bought by us.

They are not samples from Intel, as Intel initially only samples the Core i9 and Core i5.

Test reports on the actual successor of the i9 9900K, which is now called i7 10700K, are therefore hardly to be found.

Intel Core i7-10700K and Core i9-10900K vs. AMD Ryzen

The Core i7-10700K can come up with eight cores and 16 threads and now offers hyper-threading again in comparison to the Core i7-9700K of the previous generation.

Basically, the Core i7-10700K is now what the Core i9-9900k was before.

The maximum standard clock rate is 3.8 GHz and by means of boost, the CPU can accelerate up to 5.1 GHz.

The Intel smart cache is specified as 16 megabytes and is accordingly two megabytes per core.

The maximum TDP increases from 95 to 125 watts compared to the Core i7-9700K.

In addition, the CPU is also listed as a configured 95 watt TDP model with a reduced clock speed of 3.5 GHz.

The absolute high-end model of the series in the form of the Core i9-10900K can offer two cores more in comparison to the Core i9-9900K and comes up with a total of 10 cores, which can process up to 20 threads simultaneously via HT.

The basic clock speed is 3.7 GHz and by means of boost, the processor can even clock with up to 5.3 GHz.

The cache is specified with 20 megabytes and the TDP with 125 watts.

The Core i9-10900K is also listed as a configurable 95 watt TDP processor with a 3.3 GHz clock.

We show how the new Core i7-10700K and Core i9-10900K perform in our benchmarks and also answer the question of whether Intel has managed to regain AMD’s performance crown by pitting it against the relevant opponents, Ryzen 3700X and 3900X.

Intel Z490 chipset

The Comet Lake generation comes with the new socket LGA 1200 as well as the 400 chip sets.

The need for a new socket in the form of the LGA 1200 was justified with the additional performance of the CPU generation.

While the LGA 1151 supports a maximum of processors with a TDP of 95 watts, the LGA 1200 can also supply the latest Comet-Lake CPUs with up to 125 watts TDP with sufficient power.

The chipset updates, however, are probably due to the new features introduced with the 400 series models.

Of course, Intel is also very pleased with the change of the socket, because the price policy of the new CPUs has no influence on the old series.

Thus, the Core i7-10700K is now a good 100 Dollar less expensive than the Core i9-9900K with about the same performance data.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t help owners of a 1151 platform; they have to continue using the 9900K or change the motherboard.

As the flagship of the new 400 series models, the Z490 chipset, like its predecessors, is the only model with support for all overclocking functions.

If you want to overclock a K-processor of the newest Comet Lake generation, you can’t avoid a mainboard with Z490 chipset.

Among the innovations of the Z490 chipset in comparison to the Z390 chipset is the integrated Wi-Fi 6 AX201 CNVio with Gig+ WLAN chip, as well as the optional Intel 2.5G network support, which however isn’t compatible to all 2.5 Gbit networks due to a design flaw in the Intel network chip.

The number of PCI Express 3.0 ports is still up to 24, which are implemented via the chipset, and the number of SATA 6 Gbps ports has also been left at six.

New features in the number of USB ports compared to the Z390 chipset are also not available, so up to six USB 3.2 Gen 2, up to 10 USB 3.2 Gen 1 and up to 14 USB ports can be offered.

The division of the PCI Express 3.0 lanes is done according to the scheme known from Intel:

With a graphic card or SSD the full 16 lanes are used, when connecting two devices, these are divided to x8/x8 each and with three PCI Express devices, a division to x8/x4/x4 is done with regard to the processor’s 16 lanes.

The 24 PCI Express lanes of the chipset can be configured by the motherboard manufacturers themselves.

The chipset is connected directly via DMI 3.0 (Direct Media Interface) with a maximum speed of 3.93 GB/s, which means that the connection between the CPU and PCH can theoretically be used to full capacity with the transfer speed of four PCI Express 3.0 lanes.

A direct connection of the graphics card and fast PCIe SSDs via the processor should therefore be prioritized.

Single-core performance better in Intel i7-10700K vs Ryzen 9 3900X

Intel i7 10700K

An important aspect of CPUs, especially for gaming, is the so-called single-core performance or better single thread performance, i.e. the performance that the CPU achieves with one thread.

Various benchmarks such as Cinebench offer a special benchmark for this purpose, which is often used for this test.

The CPU performance of current and older CPUs does not only depend on the number of cores and the clock speed, but also on the turbo, i.e. the automatic overclocking of individual cores.

Especially with Intel CPUs, there are considerable differences between the different generations.

And especially with single-thread tasks, the CPUs can even make particularly good use of the boost, because only one or two cores are overclocked particularly high, as in the new Intel CPUs of the 10th generation.

Two CPUs with a basic clock rate of 3.7 GHz are therefore often not equally fast, simply because they have different turbo stages and therefore do not clock the same.

This effect can be easily understood by measuring the performance of a CPU with a fixed clock on only one core.

This shows the pure single core performance of the CPU without turbo at a fixed clock rate.

If you calculate this performance down to 1 GHz, you get a nice measurement value for the absolute single core performance of a CPU, which can be compared well between the generations.

In fact, in contrast to the new Ryzen 3000 generation, the new Intel CPUs have done almost nothing in terms of pure single thread performance.

Since the Core i7 4790K, there has been no significant improvement per clock cycle in this area at Intel.

Measured in terms of performance / clock speed, AMD currently has the nose in front in performance.

In absolute performance, however, Intel is ahead with the new CPUs because of the significantly higher clock rates.

Temperatures and power consumption

In fact, the test shows drastic differences between the Intel Core i7-10700K and Core i9-10900K.

While the i7 CPU can actually be cooled quite easily and even gets along quite well with the small Pure Rock Slim, it looks completely different on the i9.

The i9 lands a good 20 degrees above the i7, which stays a bit above 80 degrees under the Pure Rock.

The whole thing measured under a continuous loop in Cinebench R20.

It’s also interesting that the new Core i7-10700K can be cooled measurably easier despite roughly the same power consumption as the i9-9900K.

The Core i9-10900K jumps to 100 degrees under the Pure Rock Slim in a very short time, so a significantly larger cooler is definitely needed here.

Either something from the high-end air cooler class, or better a water cooling.

The power consumption also differs enormously between i7 and i9.

The complete system drew 199 watts under full CPU load with the i7-10700K, but a full 284 watts with the i9-10900K.

The i7 with 8 cores consumed as much power in the test as the Ryzen 3900X with 12 cores. And the i9 consumed 80 watts more than the Ryzen 3900X.

With the Prime 95 SmalFFT test, which drives the power consumption extremely high, we were able to bring the i9 system up to 365 watts and the i7 system to 272 watts.

Verdict: Best price in Intel i7-10700K vs Ryzen 9 3900X

If you expected a revolution in CPU performance with the new 10th generation of Intel Core processors, you will unfortunately be disappointed by the new models.

Once again, Intel is once again saying more evolution than revolution.

Although Intel has made a few improvements here and there, which also lead to more performance, these do not relate to the architecture of the CPU, but to all other aspects that influence the performance.

Intel i7 10700K

In particular, the increase of the TDP to 125 watts and the improvement of the cooling of the CPUs should be mentioned here.

In the end, these two points allow more boost, thus more clock and thus more performance.

In addition, the i9 now also has two additional cores, which also provide more performance for multi-threaded tasks.

The pure performance per clock has not changed for generations at Intel.

The Z490 chipset also offers hardly any improvements compared to its predecessor, the Z390.

Especially for gamers, one would have wished for at least 20 PCIe lanes for the simultaneous operation of a 16x graphics card and a fast M.2 SSD, but unfortunately the 16 PCIe lanes and the PCIe 3.0 standard remained.

All other lanes for PCIe devices must be provided via the chipset and here the DMI 3.0 connection between CPU and chipset can become a real bottleneck.

The connection offers a maximum speed of 3.93 GB/s (4 PCIe lanes).

In other words, it can be almost fully utilized with even a fast PCIe SSD.

On the positive side, the Z490 chipset as well as the Z390 is very stable and, unlike the X570 from AMD, does not require any special cooling.

There is actually another plus point in the price.

The Core i7-10700K costs a good 90 Dollar less than the comparable Core i9-9900K.

So, for 449 Dollar you get about the same performance of the 9900K on a newer and somewhat future-proof platform.

Of course, this doesn’t justify an update in any way if you are already sitting on a Socket 1151 system, but it clearly shows that there is more performance for the money than before.

The Core i7-10700K is clearly the better Core i9-9900K and we liked it quite a bit, but compared to the AMD Ryzen 3700X & Ryzen 9 3900X, which plays in about the same performance class, the price is unfortunately too high (290 to 450 Dollar), not to mention that AMD even includes a usable cooler!

Final Verdict: Intel Core i7-10700K vs Ryzen 9 3900X

Best Performance
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core, 24-thread unlocked desktop processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler
Best Price
Intel Core i7-10700 Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 4.8 GHz LGA 1200 (Intel 400 Series Chipset) 65W, BX8070110700
Model
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
Intel Core i7-10700K
Test Result
Test Result 9.6/10 Very Good June 2020
Test Result 9.8/10 Excellent June 2020
Manufacturer
AMD
Intel
Performance category
High-End CPU segment
Mid-range / High-End CPU segment
Cores
12 cores (3.8 GHz up to 4.6 GHz Max Turbo )
8 cores (2.9 GHz up to 4.8 GHz Max Turbo )
Performance for Gaming
Workstation (Applications) Performance
Overclocking possible?
Hyperthreading possible?
First release date
Q3/2019
Q2/2020
Max. RAM
DDR4-3200 up to 128GB
DDR4-2933 up to 128GB
Pros
  • Excellent CPU performance
  • Excellent single thread performance better than Intel
  • Very good price/performance ratio
  • First platform with PCI Express 4.0
  • Good performance and high single thread performance thanks to high clock rates
  • Significantly better temperatures than the predecessor
  • Very high RAM clock rates possible
  • Price for the same number of cores significantly lower than predecessor
Cons
  • Slightly high power consumption of the X570 chipset
  • Prices compared to AMD Ryzen clearly too high
Best Performance
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core, 24-thread unlocked desktop processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler
Model
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
Test Result
Test Result 9.6/10 Very Good June 2020
Manufacturer
AMD
Performance category
High-End CPU segment
Cores
12 cores (3.8 GHz up to 4.6 GHz Max Turbo )
Performance for Gaming
Workstation (Applications) Performance
Overclocking possible?
Hyperthreading possible?
First release date
Q3/2019
Max. RAM
DDR4-3200 up to 128GB
Pros
  • Excellent CPU performance
  • Excellent single thread performance better than Intel
  • Very good price/performance ratio
  • First platform with PCI Express 4.0
Cons
  • Slightly high power consumption of the X570 chipset
Best Price
Intel Core i7-10700 Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 4.8 GHz LGA 1200 (Intel 400 Series Chipset) 65W, BX8070110700
Model
Intel Core i7-10700K
Test Result
Test Result 9.8/10 Excellent June 2020
Manufacturer
Intel
Performance category
Mid-range / High-End CPU segment
Cores
8 cores (2.9 GHz up to 4.8 GHz Max Turbo )
Performance for Gaming
Workstation (Applications) Performance
Overclocking possible?
Hyperthreading possible?
First release date
Q2/2020
Max. RAM
DDR4-2933 up to 128GB
Pros
  • Good performance and high single thread performance thanks to high clock rates
  • Significantly better temperatures than the predecessor
  • Very high RAM clock rates possible
  • Price for the same number of cores significantly lower than predecessor
Cons
  • Prices compared to AMD Ryzen clearly too high

All in all, it was a really close race in the test Intel i7-10700K vs Ryzen 9 3900X.

However, we have to give the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X the first place. Gaming performance is at least on par with the i7 10700K and in applications and workstations the Ryzen 9 3900X outperforms by a large margin.

Taking into account that bot CPUs almost cost the same it is easy to determine the winner here.

AMD’s superior performance and pricing strategy just outperforms Intel decisively.

If you primarily game on your PC and do not care so much about performance in applications & want so save some bucks, you can go with the i7 10700K, which will also give you solid performance.

Howeve, we recommend spending the 5-10% more on the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X for the extra performance you get.


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