Final Score: 85%
These truly are Halcyon days with a veritable smorgasbord of options and offerings from both companies. All vying for your hard-earned dollar. No matter what any influencer tells you, both ‘teams’ have serious options. Serious options with levels of processing power that just a few short years ago would never have been released at either their price point(s) nor intended for the consumer market. Ten cores capable of over not only breaking the 5Ghz barrier but running all ten flat-out at 5.3Ghz is an insane amount of horsepower. To put into perspective how much this Intel i9 10900K has to offer… up until a couple years ago we ran an earlier, slower/lower (but quad channel RAM) variant of this processor’s architecture in a professional CAD/CAM workstation. That rig spent its days earning us money. The processor cost well over 1K US, ate power like a fat man at an all you can eat buffet, put out more heat that a nuclear power plant, and was a bargain compared to the Xeon options of its day… and it was not slow. It made us money in the time savings it offered. The Intel i9 10900K makes it look slow. Not only does this new CPU blow the doors off what older gen HEDT processors could do, it has more power than what 99 percent of home users will ever be able to harness. So, no. Intel processors are not ‘slow’.
Instead, Intel’s mature design prioritizes different aspects of day-to-day computing than AMD… as both companies consumer desktop CPU divisions have different philosophies. AMD wants them to be HEDT without HEDT price tags and thus prioritizes higher CPU core count above everything else. Intel prioritizes single to low threaded performance over shear core count numbers. Both have their place. Both are targeted at different buyers. Neither are perfect nor should they be considered perfect. Conversely, neither should be ignored without serious consideration.
In this instance, Intel does have more than just market hype going against them. Not enough to warrant the vitriol leveled against it, but the Intel i9 10900K’s target is enthusiasts, yet lacks both PCIe 4.0 abilities and only has ‘40’ (really 16 plus another 24 via the chipset) PCIe lanes. Thus, PC gaming and storage enthusiasts will be… less than enthused given the proliferation of PCIe 4.0 video cards and NVMe solid-state drives. It also targets ‘prosumers’ who run applications which can fully utilize all those cores of processing power, yet ‘only’ offers ten cores of power vs 12 to 16 of the competition. That is a one-two combination that makes the Intel i9 10900K rather niche. Especially when it has an asking price of $530 – or about the same as an AMD’s 12 core Ryzen 9 5900X. Mix in the fact that Q1 of 2021 Intel has promised the 11th Gen will be landing and the Intel i9 10900K is a niche product at this point in time.
It is supposed to be one. It is an ‘i9’, which is Intel’s desktop division’s short hand for ‘expensive flagship’, it just lacks to high price tag that usually goes along with the ‘i9’ moniker. So, if you fall into its targeted market and design envelope it is a good, solid option. If you have to think twice about the asking price or the compromises it has made… you are not the targeted demographic. Put another way, and much like an old timey beer commercial the Intel i9 10900K is a model that not everyone will like, but… “those who like it, like it a lot”. Either way it deserves more respect than many have given it.
Intel Core i9-10900K
Put another way, and much like an old timey beer commercial the Intel i9 10900K is a model that not everyone will like, but… “those who like it, like it a lot”. Either way it deserves more respect than many have given it.