Best 10th gen Intel CPUs
With top-end chips offering single-core performance of up to 5.3 GHz, and CPUs offering up to 10 cores and 20 threads, Comet Lake was impressive. But which make our best 10th gen Intel CPUs list?
Intel hoped to stave off stiff competition from AMD’s impressive lineup of Zen 2-based processors and didn’t do a bad job of that.
In general, these Intel Chips offer excellent single-core performance, whereas AMD’s competing lineup of processors excelled slightly more with multi-threaded performance, and have more budget-friendly pricing.
Now PUs releases have moved on, but Comet Lake is still viable for a good amount of users.
Products at a Glance
How we picked the best 10th gen Intel CPUs
We’ve picked out the smartest choice for desktop processors in the Intel 10th Generation lineup, comparing how fast they are, and their price.
Simple as that really, as at this point the 10th gen of Intel CPUs is only for those building on a strict budget or upgrading older systems utilizing the same socket type.
These processors offer a range of options at varying different clock speeds and core counts, to suit different types of users.
We’ve included options both from the high core count, and top-end performance, for users that need extreme processor power from this generation. We’ve also added mid-range options that will offer more typical users solid performance.
Best 10th gen Intel CPUs
- Excellent single-core performance
- 16 threads
- Include basic onboard GPU
- Fairly expensive
- Thermal envelope is a little tight
- Requires LGA 1200 motherboard
The i7 is Intel’s high-end family of processors, targeting performance users who want a CPU that will offer excellent performance. They’re toward the pricier end of the spectrum and will be ideal for users wanting a processor that can handle demanding tasks like high frame rate gaming, 4k video editing, or high-end programming.
The i7-10700K is one of the first 10th Generation desktop-class Intel released in the i7 range, and as such it’s a great choice for users who want to be more towards the best desktop processing power.
There’s a 125w power requirement, so ensure that your power supply is up to the task before upgrading to this processor, and you’ll need a motherboard that features the Socket Type LGA 1200.
- Relatively modest power requirement for the performance
- Great value
- Excellent speeds
- Not the highest performance from this lineup
- Requires LGA 1200 motherboard
- Some tasks optimized for multi-core performance might do better with a Ryzen.
The Intel i5 series of processors is the midrange workhorse of the Core lineup, offering solid but not industry-leading performance, at a price point that suits mainstream PC users.
These offer great performance for general use, and can adequately handle many different tasks like high-end gaming, video editing, and any other tasks that demand reasonable CPU grunt.
The 10400 may not be able to max out performance as the higher-end processors can, but they’re still very capable. One of the most popular desktop chips from the Intel 10th Generation lineup, if you don’t have any particular need for extreme CPU performance, the i5 makes the most sense.
Any user looking for a capable PC that will be able to easily handle most tasks with ease should give the i5-10400 serious thought.
The power requirement for the i5-10400 65W, which is impressive for a processor operating at these speeds across 6 cores. You’ll need to pair this CPU with a motherboard that offers the LGA 1200 port. Also take note that this is a specialist processor for extremely demanding uses, so it’s not a typical consumer CPU.
- Astonishing multi-core performance
- Fantastic core speeds
- Great overclocking headroom
- Requires a high-end motherboard
Strictly speaking, this is not part of the Comet Lake family, despite its 10th Generation branding. i9-10900X was released in late 2019, and it’s part of the Cascade Lake-X sub-family. These were created targeting workstation, server, and high-end enthusiast users.
The i9-10900X has a lot of headroom for overclocking, great for anyone who likes squeezing every bit of juice from their machine. These are not processors you’d ever have any kind of need for in a simple web browsing and emailing machine, but with 10 Cores operating at a base 3.70 GHz clock speed, it’s a beast for use in high-end professional contexts, or in money is no object gaming rigs.
A powerful processor like this needs a high-wattage power supply to operate, with a massive 165W power draw, so it’s important you check to make sure your power supply is up to the challenge. This requires a motherboard with an LGA 2066 port.
What Intel CPUs are 10th Gen?
The easy way to tell an Intel 10th Gen processor is by the name. The 10th Gen (also known as ‘Comet Lake’) processors, have the following naming convention, where ‘X’ is a changeable number denoting i3, i5, i7, and i9, and the level of the processor: “Core iX 10X00”. Eg, Core-i7 10900K.
Is my motherboard compatible?
The Comet Lake processors all require a motherboard that features an LGA 1200 port. You need to be looking for a 400 series motherboard, such as Z490 series motherboards.
Should I get an Intel or an AMD?
It’s a tricky decision, but the answer will largely depend on what your budget is, and what your intended use is. You may wish to compare and contrast these options with the latest Ryzen processors from AMD.
We had to pick the i7-10700K as our top choice for a 10th Generation Intel CPU. If it’s within your budget, it’s a massive improvement in performance compared to its predecessor and will be more than capable of handling anything you can throw at it. It’s an ideal CPU for powering a high-end gaming rig, or any system that needs to be able to handle demanding tasks.