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Intel 35W Comet Lake CPU Spotted With Up To 123W Peak Power Draw

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Details about Intel's upcoming Comet Lake processors began to trickle out a few months ago, but now the trickle has turned into a flood as Intel's 10th-gen chips come closer to market. 

The latest discovery from @TUM_APISAK finds the Intel Core i9-10900T in the spotlight via a SiSoftware test entry. The deca-core chip is one of Intel's upcoming 10th Generation Comet Lake desktop offerings that require a motherboard upgrade.

Like all T-series chips, Intel designed the Core i9-10900T to be the low-power optimized version of its regular models, in this case, the flagship Core i9-10900K. As such, although the "T" model comes equipped with ten cores, 20 threads and 20MB of L3 cache, it retains the same essential specifications but runs at a slower clock speed to meet a lower TDP (thermal design power) rating for power-constrained systems, like small form factor PC builds.  

The SiSoftware submission detects the Core i9-10900T with a 1.9 GHz base clock, which coincides with previous listings, and a 4.49 GHz boost clock. The most eye-opening detail is that the processor allegedly drew up to 123W during the benchmark. That's surprising because the chip has to adhere to a 35W TDP to carry the "T" suffix. 

It's important to bear in mind that Intel lists the PL1 (power level 1) rating, which it measures when the chip is operating at its base clock, for its specifications. The PL2 (power level 2) rating is the processor's maximum power consumption when it engages the Turbo Boost frequency. 

Intel Core i9-10900T

Intel Core i9-10900T (Image credit: SiSoftware)

Assuming SiSoftware's report is accurate, that means the 123W reading should represent the Core i9-10900T's PL2 threshold. The figure doesn't come as a complete shock because we have spotted the Core i7-10700KF pulling 250W in the same benchmark. However, there's a chance that SiSoftware isn't reporting the Core i9-10900T's power consumption correctly, which sometimes happens with unreleased hardware. This chip could also be an engineering sample, which means the results could be subject to change after further tuning. 

The Core i9-10900T reportedly put up a score of 178.14 GOPS. Just so you get a general idea of the unreleased ten-core chip's performance, the best Core i5-9600K on SiSoftware has a score of 196.81 GOPS. So, performance-wise, the Core i9-10900T is up to 10% slower than the six-core Core i5-9600K chip.

Intel's Comet Lake desktop processors are expected to arrive next month, but a recent report suggests that the new 14nm chips might not land until June due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

  • TJ Hooker
    Given how many motherboards seem to more or less remove the power (PL2) and time limits for turbo boost, it's probably not unusual for a -T CPU to perform similarly to a non-T version unless you make sure the BIOS is configured to use Intel's recommended values.
    Reply
  • 2Be_or_Not2Be
    Intel should only be able to list the TDP of their processors at the highest power draw during actual operation, whether that's single-core/all-core turbo. People are really misled when they see a CPU listed at 35W when, like this situation, they hit close to 125W in actual operation.

    AMD is much better at this (CPU power draw stays pretty close to rated TDP, but can get 10-15% higher), but all CPU mfgs should be required to list their CPUs at max power draw. (/rant)
    Reply
  • travsb1984
    So it only draws 35 watts when it's basically at idle... Go to know. It's a essentially a 110 TDP chip that can throttle down if cooling is insufficient.
    Reply
  • joeblowsmynose
    2Be_or_Not2Be said:
    Intel should only be able to list the TDP of their processors at the highest power draw during actual operation, whether that's single-core/all-core turbo. People are really misled when they see a CPU listed at 35W when, like this situation, they hit close to 125W in actual operation.

    AMD is much better at this (CPU power draw stays pretty close to rated TDP, but can get 10-15% higher), but all CPU mfgs should be required to list their CPUs at max power draw. (/rant)

    AMD tdp numbers since Zen2 also are pretty sketchy, just from the formula they use (expected cooling power somehow gets factored into the formula, which it shouldn't be)

    Intel actually has two TDP numbers for each of its chips and both are accurate in their own way.

    PL1 TDP 35w (no boost - base clock)
    PL2 TDP 105w (full max load - boosted) (I didn't see the document - this is just an guessed at example for reference)

    And this is quite accurate, and aligns quite well with power consumption even.
    The public never sees the second number though ... herein lies the problems with Intel's TDP numbers ...

    The PL2TDP for 9900k is 250w - almost the exact power consumption of the CPU under heavy AVX load with all cores boosting.

    I used to heavily mock Intel for their TDPs but now I think if we should move to a standard for both mfgrs, to use Intel's formula, except a requirement to list TDPs for both average working state and full load state (for both mfgrs), as opposed to just the former. Anyway a standard would a welcome here.
    Reply
  • truerock
    2Be_or_Not2Be said:
    Intel should only be able to list the TDP of their processors at the highest power draw during actual operation, whether that's single-core/all-core turbo. People are really misled when they see a CPU listed at 35W when, like this situation, they hit close to 125W in actual operation.

    AMD is much better at this (CPU power draw stays pretty close to rated TDP, but can get 10-15% higher), but all CPU mfgs should be required to list their CPUs at max power draw. (/rant)

    I disagree. The problem isn't what a CPU manufacturer reports as TDP. The problem is that CPU technology currently supports variable power-draw for each core and the number of cores in operation can vary. The problem is that any one TDP number is not going to give a complete picture.

    So I guess it would be great if there was an industry standard way to provide CPU power specs in a way that provided a reasonable idea of what might be expected in various scenarios - but, there isn't. So, yes... I guess I would want to know what the power draw is if I'm staring at a Wikipedia web page and what the absolute maximum is.

    We are starting to see more often CPU specs with several to many TDP numbers.
    Reply