If you're in the market for an Intel Core i5 processor and looking at the i5-10600K (our review here), you might have noticed that prices are a little steep on NewEgg and Amazon, with the e-tailers asking for $295 and $320, respectively. Both these prices are well above Intel's MSRP of $262, but worry not. You can now score a binned Intel Core i5-10600K that is guaranteed to overclock to 4.7 GHz on all cores at once for just $290. At stock settings, the chip boosts to 4.8 GHz, but Silicon Lottery also allows the 4.7 GHz model to hit 4.8 GHz on two cores, too.
Hold up, what?
Yes, you read that right. At this time, both NewEgg and Amazon are gauging the prices of Intel chips, which sucks for us consumers. But, Silicon Lottery is happily shipping out Intel Core i5-10600K's for $290 after testing their overclocking capabilities. Sure, that's still above MSRP, but you're getting a tested chip that likely runs better than one off Amazon or NewEgg for less money. Seems like a win-win if you ask me.
If you're wondering what a binned CPU is, it's a processor that has been through binning that determines if an individual CPU can perform at, or beyond, factory specifications, and then figuring out which chips are best. As no silicon is identical, some chips perform better than others.
In the spirit of that, the $290 4.7 GHz Core i5-10600K isn't the only option Silicon Lottery has for you. For $5 more, you'll get a chip that's guaranteed to hit 4.8 GHz on all cores and 4.9 GHz on two cores, and the list goes on from there.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Percentage in Bin||Voltage Required (BIOS)||Price|
|10600K @ 4.7 GHz||100%||1.350V||$290|
|10600K @ 4.8 GHz||88%||1.375V||$295|
|10600K @ 4.9 GHz||73%||1.400V||$300|
|10600K @ 5.0 GHz||Top 23%||1.425V||$340|
|10600K @ 5.1 GHz||Top 8%||1.450V||$420|
As the binning stats above show, the good news here is that even if you score an i5-10600K from someone other than Silicon Lottery, unless you have bad luck Brian syndrome, you can hit 4.7 GHz on your 10600K (and 4.8 GHz on two cores), which is why Silicon Lottery is able to offer such a good price. If you want the best i5-10600K, on the other hand, you'll have yourself one of the top 8% of chips that's capable of running at 5.1 GHz on all cores at once (and 5.2 GHz on two cores) for $420.
Of course, you'll have to ensure adequate cooling, but Silicon Lottery can help with that too. For an added $50, they'll delid the chip so your cooler can make direct contact with the CPU's die, which will help it run up to eight degrees colder as tested by Der8auer.
If it were our money, we'd grab the i5-10600K that's tested to run at 4.9 GHz for $300, as that seems to be the sweet spot at this time.
The 10700K retails for $387 and is at stock everywhere. And it can achieve those frequencies out of the box and at lower voltages. So rather than buying the 10600K at an inflated price I would rather opt for the 10700K (which is essentially a slightly better 9900K) and enjoy not only better clocks (and hence better single and light threaded performance) but also better multithreaded performance.
Not to mention that there is also the 10700 (which retails for $320 and is also at stock) which is locked but you can unlock power limits and have it turbo indefinitely to its all core turbo boost of 4.6GHz (and can also boost to 4.8GHz for single threaded). And paired with a Z490 you can use XMP; not that the max default of 2933MHz is too bad anyway to begin with (it is not 2666MHz) plus you can tight the timings and achieve pretty much the same effect as higher frequency kits even on B460 boards.
And of course, there is the whole argument of buying Ryzen instead as well, but I am talking when you want specifically to buy Intel and the i5 10600K you should really buy the i7 10700K or the i7 10700 instead.
And the $295 ones are in the bottom 27% according to them, which is still well below average, and not much better. Again, if you were to buy one at random for the same price on Newegg, there should be around an 80% chance that you will get a better performer than one of those. These two lower tiers are both guaranteed to perform below average, and should really only be worth considering if they are priced lower than other retailers, for those who don't care about overclocking.
The $300 "4.9GHz" tier is the bare minimum you would want to pay to get an average performing chip from their site. It guarantees that you won't get one of the best performers, but also that you won't get one of the worst performers, eliminating the gamble, with the chances of getting a chip that performs better or worse at retail being about equal. It's arguably not worth paying a premium for that, but I guess if one only cares about cutting out the possibility of ending up with one of the worst chips, the option might potentially be worth the current small difference over what other stores are currently selling the processor for.
The only tiers that are guaranteed to run better than average are the top two, and that's why they are being sold for more of a premium. Though unless one is really striving for slightly better per-core performance, and doesn't care at all about heavily-multithreaded performance, they would probably be better off going with an i7-10700K than a top-tier 10600K, or maybe a 3900X if heavily-multithreaded performance is more of a concern. And even around $300 seems a bit much when the 8-core, 16-thread 3700X can be had for around $260, and when there are decent-performing 6-core, 12-thread chips like the 3600 for under $175. If one is building a gaming system, that extra $125+ would probably be better put toward graphics hardware instead.
As for the whole thing about lots of people not being able to afford these products, who cares? They don't need them. There are other options that come relatively close in performance for far lower prices. The Ryzen 3600 and i5-10400 are also 6-core, 12-thread processors that can currently be had for $172 and $182 respectively, including a bundled cooler, and one would generally be hard-pressed to notice that much difference in performance between one of them and a 10600K. The same goes for the 8-core, 16-thread Ryzen 3700X, currently available for as little as $260, while generally performing not all that far behind an i7-10700K or i9-9900K with the same core and thread counts but a bit higher clocks. Those higher-end products are intended as premium offerings for those willing to pay substantially more for a little extra performance. They're a luxury item. Anyone in "dire unemployment circumstances" probably shouldn't even be considering them, as their circumstances might not be so dire if they were making better purchasing decisions.