The i5-10600K and i7-10700K are the latest midrange processors from Intel, and are aimed at high-end gaming rigs and professional staff who don't have the budget or need for something like this. There are some noticeable differences between the two chips, although both deserve a recommendation in our best Intel processor roundup. The question is which one should you buy?
While the more expensive i7-10700K is a better option in certain situations, the i5-10600K is a surprisingly powerful CPU. Especially if you're ready to overclock your processor, it can match the 10700K's performance when used for gaming. However, for other purposes like audio and video editing, the i7 continues to come first.
Prices and availability
The i5-10600K and i7-10700K models were released on April 20, 2020 along with the rest of Intel's Comet Lake processors i5 and $ 374 for the i7. These are the same prices that Intel offered with its last generation Coffee Lake Refresh chips, the i5-9600K and the i7-9700K.
By late 2020, you can still find both processors at most retailers, and that shouldn't change anytime soon. Intel is expected to unveil its 11th generation desktop chips sometime in 2021. The details remain small, but Intel promises significantly improved instructions per clock (IPC), but a maximum of eight cores.
By then, both processors will likely be readily available. The price is currently at their MSRP: the i5 is $ 280 and the i7 is $ 380.
You can save anywhere from $ 50 to $ 100 in the used market. We found several offers for 10700Ks for $ 280-350, though most are around the $ 320 mark. However, we couldn't find nearly as many used 10600Ks. If you're lucky, you can grab a used car for around $ 220.
Technical data and performance
When comparing the 10600K and 10700K on paper, there aren't many surprises. Both use the same 14nm process node that Intel has updated over the last six years and differ only slightly in terms of specs. The i5 comes with six cores and 12 threads, while the i7 increases the core count to eight with 16 threads. The i7 also has 4MB more Smart Cache from Intel and a higher boost clock ready for immediate use.
|Intel Core i5 10600K||Intel Core i7 10700K|
|Process node||14 nm||14 nm|
|Cache||12 MB Intel Smart Cache||16 MB Intel Smart Cache|
|Base clock rate||4.1 GHz||3.8 GHz|
|Increase the clock speed||4.8 GHz||5.1 GHz|
|graphic||UHD 630||UHD 630|
"Out of the box" is important because you can push both processors above 5 GHz with adequate cooling. In stock, we can see some significant performance differences with the GeekBench results. The 10700K scored a single-core score of 1,334 and a multi-core score of 9,319, while the 10600K scored a single-core score of 1,306 and a multi-core score of 7,026. Although both results are "valid" according to GeekBench, you should always run user-generated benchmarks with some skepticism. It's not that they are wrong, it's that it's impossible to consider cooling and other components when comparing one user's results with another's.
The single-core performance is the same or at least well within the error limit. The multi-core performance tells a different story, however: the more expensive i7 is around 2,000 points above the i5. There are more cores on the 10700K and they can go higher in an instant. For high-end gaming and photo / video editing applications, the 10700K is a clear winner.
Guru3D's CPU-Z benchmark supports the GeekBench results with a synthetic workload. The i7 and i5 are evenly matched to one another in terms of single-core performance – 571 and 551 respectively – and far removed in terms of multi-core performance (5,747 and 4,055).
In real tests, the 10700K beats the 10600K even in applications with heavy threading. Ashes of the Singularity, for example, uses all of the cores and threads of the 10700K. At 1080p with the crazy preset, the 10700K achieves an average frame rate of 55.6 FPS, while the 10600K achieves 50.2 FPS according to third-party benchmarks. However, this is not the case with all games. In Final Fantasy XV, the 10600K outperformed the 10700K at 175 FPS to 173.9 FPS.
In games that are heavily CPU dependent, like Grand Theft Auto V, Hitman 2, and Civilization VI, the i7 is a clear favorite. Most games, however, are GPU-bound, not CPU-bound. As we can see in Final Fantasy XV, the 10600K is slightly on par with the more expensive 10700K, and you'll likely see similar results in games that put more stress on the GPU than the CPU. If you're into gaming, save yourself the extra $ 100 and put it in a good graphics card.
If you've got a good hand at overclocking, the 10600K has been known to be on the heels of the much more expensive 10900K with the right cooling.
The multi-core performance advantage of the 10700K is more evident in productivity apps. Video editing applications like Premiere both like high cores, so video editors can get more out of the 10700K. If you're into 3D modeling or CAD work, the 10700K is a must (you can even consider upgrading to the 10900K).
i5 or i7?
In the past, Intel has unlocked a certain generation of i5 and i7 processors for the spotlight, and Comet Lake is no different. The i3s are usually slow enough to focus solely on low-power systems, and while the i9-10900K is very impressive, it is expensive. For Comet Lake, the 10600K and 10700K are excellent processors at competitive prices, but which one you should pick up depends on what you want to do.
If you're building a PC for gaming only, the 10600K is a better option, although the 10700K performs better in certain titles. However, you can fill that void if you are ready to manually overclock. The 10600K can easily reach 5 GHz, and while it may not match the performance of the 10700K in all overclocked games, it will come close.
The 10700K shows performance improvement in certain applications, namely photo and video editing suites and 3D modeling software. Simply put, the 10700K has more cores and threads. In applications that can use these cores, the performance is higher.