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Best 10th Gen Intel CPUs in 2024 – our top picks

Wondering what the best Intel 10th Gen CPUs are? Wonder no more.
Last Updated on May 8, 2024
Best 10th Gen Intel CPUs
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The latest Intel CPUs are making headway in the industry, but while their performance is amazing, they come with hefty price tags. That said, the older Intel generations are still alive and kicking like the 10th-generation lineup. While their performance might not be comparable to the 13th- or 14th-gen processors, they are still viable options if you’re looking to build a system on a budget.

That said, we’ve put together this guide, which lists different Intel 10th-generation CPUs, their details, reviews, and pros and cons so you can make an informed decision.

How we picked

We’ve picked out the smartest choice for desktop processors in the Intel 10th Generation lineup, comparing how fast they are and their price.

It’s as simple as that. At this point, the 10th generation 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 from the high core count and top-end performance for users who need extreme processor power from this generation. We’ve also added mid-range options that will offer solid performance for more typical users.

Best 10th-Gen Intel CPUs

Best Intel 10th Gen CPU Overall
  • Architecture: Comet Lake
  • Cores: 10
  • Threads: 20
  • Base Clock: 5.3 GHz
  • Boost Clock: 3.7 GHz
  • L3 Cache: 20 MB (shared)
  • TDP: 125 W
Reasons to Buy
  • Great gaming and professional performance
  • Has configurable TDP for more controlled output
  • It has good headroom for overclocking
Reasons to Avoid
  • It runs hot and requires a robust cooling solution
  • Almost four years old now
  • Limited options to upgrade after this on the LGA 1200 socket

It shouldn’t be surprising that the best Intel 10th Gen CPU is the i9-10900K, the flagship processor of that generation. 

For starters, this CPU has ten cores, 20 threads, a base clock speed of 3.7 GHz, and a boost clock speed of 5.3 GHz. What this means is that this processor has enough juice to power various gaming and professional applications. However, if you want more performance, it comes unlocked, and you can overclock it to make it faster. 

In addition, it has a 20MB L3 Intel Smart Cache, which means that all cores can access the data at the last cache level. This should help boost overall performance by reducing access times, as data is readily available and can be worked on. 

The i9-10900K has a TDP of 125W, which can be lower or higher depending on the workload and if you have it overclocked. That said, you can’t go wrong with a good CPU cooler, and we recommend pairing it with the best CPU cooler. That said, this processor has a configurable TDP, meaning you can lower its settings to consume less power, which should also generate less heat. It can be lowered down to 95W, but its frequency also comes down to 3.3GHz, which should be fine for basic tasks and casual gaming. 

Regarding memory compatibility, it only supports DDR4 memory, which makes sense since these CPUs were released in early 2020, and DDR5 memory was introduced in mid to late 2020. However, you can pair it with the best DDR4 RAM for top-notch performance. 

What users say

At the time of writing, the i9-10900K has a 4.8 out of 5.0 rating on Amazon and 88% 5-star reviews. Users of this CPU deemed it “solid for gaming” and said that it could handle anything you could throw at it. However, this performance does come at a cost, as many reviewers reported that it runs hot even at base frequencies and requires a good cooler to keep the temperature under control.

Best mid-range Intel 10th Gen CPU
Intel 10 gen Core i5-10600K unlocked processor box.
  • Architecture: Comet Lake
  • Cores: 6
  • Threads: 12
  • Boost speed: 4.8 GHz
  • Base speed: 4.1 Ghz
  • L3 Cache: 12 MB
  • TDP: 95W
Reasons to Buy
  • Top-notch performance at an affordable price
  • Great thermal design
  • Unlocked for better and faster performance
Reasons to Avoid
  • It has the same TDP as some of the newer Intel chips
  • No support for DDR5
  • Requires an LGA 1200 compatible motherboard

For our mid-range 10th gen option, we went with the Intel Core i5-10600K as it has similar specifications as our top pick but costs significantly lower, going for $153.70, a whole $286.3 cheaper. 

This processor has six cores, 12 threads, a base clock of 4.1 GHz, a boost clock of 4.8 GHz, and a 12 MB L3 cache. While the cores and threads might be less than our top picks, it has a higher base clock speed and the same 125W TDP. These specifications mean that it should be a solid pick for casual and competitive gaming and should be able to handle productivity tasks as well. 

However, due to its old architecture and lesser core count, it is most likely not the best option for workstation-level tasks, despite having the ability to be overclocked. That said, its configurable TDP brings it down to 95W and puts its frequency at 3.8GHz, 0.5GHz higher than the i9-10900K. 

According to Intel, it has a maximum operating temperature of 100°C and older Intel chips are notorious for running hot. So, we recommend using a good CPU cooler to keep it tame. If you’re interested in exploring some options, check out our best AIO water cooler guide for the top picks. 

Overall, the i5-10600K is a good mid-tier option that delivers decent performance and doesn’t cost a lot. However, like with all 10th-generation CPUs, the path to upgrades is severely limited as you can only go up to the 11th-generation before switching the motherboard and CPU. 

What users say

According to Amazon reviews, the i5-10600K has excellent gaming performance and is “great for the money.” One reviewer stated, “made my gaming pc dream come true,” while another reported reaching 60-70°C without any lag.

Best budget Intel 10th Gen CPU
Reasons to Buy
  • It comes with a CPU cooler
  • It has a low TDP of 65W
  • Decent performance for casual gaming and productivity tasks
Reasons to Avoid
  • AMD alternatives have better performance
  • Low base clock speed of 2.9GHz
  • Value will only decrease as newer Intel processors are released

Next, we have our pocket-friendly option. It costs $23.7 less than the 10600K and has decent specifications. 

It features six cores, 12 threads, a base clock of 2.9 GHz, a boost clock of 4.3 GHz, and a 12MB L3 Intel Smart Cache. This means that it should have enough juice to power your system for casual and some demanding tasks, but handling multiple resource-intensive applications simultaneously might be too much for this CPU. 

Its TDP of 65W should keep its temperature relatively low. It can’t be overclocked and has a low base frequency, meaning its thermal output shouldn’t be an issue. 

The i5-10400 supports up to 128GB of DDR4 RAM, which means you can stack multiple memory sticks without running into stability or compatibility issues as long as your motherboard allows it. This should also help boost your system’s overall performance. 

According to Intel, it can support 4K at 60Hz, but you most likely won’t get the full 60Hz. This is because more elements are at play, like the RAM used in your system, its frequency, the display cable used, and much more. 

Overall, this CPU should deliver a decent experience and shouldn’t put a dent in your wallet. 

What users say

At the time of writing, the user reception of this CPU is mostly positive. It has a rating of 4.8 out of 5.0 and 86% 5-star reviews out of 3,609 reviews. One reviewer stated, “Excellent for someone who does day-to-day stuff on their PC and work mainly in Microsoft Office and other basic apps plus games.”

Best performance Intel 10th Gen CPU
  • Architecture: Cascade Lake
  • Cores: 10
  • Threads: 20
  • Boost speed: 4.7 GHz
  • Base speed: 3.7 GHz
  • L3 Cache: 19.25 MB
  • TDP: 165W
Reasons to Buy
  • Supports up to 256GB of RAM
  • Excellent for gaming and handling workstation-level tasks
Reasons to Avoid
  • It has a hefty price tag
  • A very high TDP of 165W
  • Requires the LGA 2066 socket to work

The Intel Core i9-10900X is a curveball as it is labeled as a 10th-generation CPU, but it was released at the end of 2019 and has the Cascade Lake architecture as opposed to the Comet Lake architecture used by other 10th-generation CPUs. 

However, when it comes to performance, this processor has all the bells and whistles to compete with the flagship 10th-generation CPU, the 10900K. It features ten cores, 20 threads, a base clock speed of 3.7 GHz, a boost clock speed of 4.7 GHz, and a 19.25MB L3 cache. 

While these specifications might be similar to the 10900K or even less in some areas, the 10900X was designed as a workstation CPU. This means it should be able to handle heavy applications and tasks without a hitch, and a casual user might never use its full potential; a PC enthusiast could certainly make do with all the power and overclocking headroom available. 

Another area where the i9-10900X differs from the rest of the 10th-generation processors is that it sits atop the LGA 2066 socket. So, you’ll have to find a compatible motherboard. Keep in mind that the X processors and the LGA 2066 socket are discontinued, so you’ll have to purchase a used board to run it. 

Overall, this is a powerful CPU, but given its price of $615, limited upgradability options, and the fact that newer processors like the 13900K, which we’ve reviewed as well, have better specifications and performance at a lower price point of $470.70 make it foolhardy purchase. 

What users say

According to its Amazon reviews, it has outstanding performance in gaming and professional tasks. Its support of 256GB RAM was liked, and one reviewer said it best: “Love it. Fast, reliable and damn this thing can be overclocked!”

How to select the best 10th Gen Intel CPU

There are a handful of factors to consider before choosing a CPU. We’ve listed some of those factors below so you can make an informed decision about your next CPU, regardless of application.

Board compatibility 

Intel 10th-generation CPUs were released in 2020, almost four years ago. Since then, a lot of technology has changed, and new components have been introduced. So, if you plan on making a build with a 10th-generation CPU, you’ll need a motherboard with a compatible socket, namely the LGA 1200 socket. The Intel Core i9-10900X uses the LGA 2066 socket, which is completely different from the LGA 1200 or the current 1700 one. 

So, first, ensure that a compatible motherboard is available, like the B450 or the Z490, and then select a CPU based on your requirements. One thing to note is that these components won’t be new as their production has stopped, meaning you’ll have to get them second-hand from eBay or Amazon. 


The most important factor to consider while looking at 10th Gen CPUs is your budget and how much you’re willing to spend on old technology. If you want to play some casual game, you could get a mid-range i5-10th gen processor, which should work fine. However, if you’re looking for more performance, going for an unlocked CPU like the 10900K would be better suited as it sits at the top of the 10th-generation lineup. However, remember that the LGA 1200 socket was replaced with the LGA 1700 from Intel’s 12th generation and above. This means you won’t have a lot of upgrade options opting for this generation.

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.

As a keen gamer and writer with knowledge across peripherals and computing, Lewie has written for PC Guide on VR, gaming releaes and polenty inbetween!