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Intel Core i5-10400 Benchmarked: Comet Lake CPU Edges Out i5-9400F

(Image credit: Intel)

Intel recently announced its new Comet Lake-S desktop CPUs, and someone over at the Chiphell forums has already shared some benchmark figures that give us a hint of what we can expect from the Intel Core i5-10400.

Specs

Intel Core i5-10400Intel Core i5-9400F
Cores / Threads6 / 126 / 6
Base Clock2.9 GHz2.9 GHz
Boost Clock4.3 GHz4.1 GHz
Cache12MB9MB
TDP64W65W
iGPUUHD 630 @ 1.1 GHz None

Benchmark Results

The leaker, known as 尾随至幻城, reportedly dropped the new i5-10400 into an MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk motherboard with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 to run a series of benchmarks. 

The tester compared the i5-10400 to the Intel Core i5-9400F, which stacks up in the same place in the product stack.

The results were as follows: 

(Image credit: Chiphell)

In single-threaded applications, the new Comet Lake chip hardly showed any performance gains over the 9th Gen Coffee Lake chip, edging out with a performance increase of just 4-8%. 

However, in multi-threaded tests the i5-10400 performed significantly better with improvements of up to 45%.

These results are explainable by the differences between the two chips. The new Comet Lake i5-10400 comes with a 200 MHz higher boost clock, a little more L3 cache and has been blessed with Hyper-Threading, so that it can handle threaded workloads better. Otherwise, the two chips are nearly identical, except that the 9400F doesn't have integrated graphics (iGPU) and drops into an older CPU socket.

Of course, as with any pre-release data, you'll have to take these results with a grain of salt. But the numbers reported do make sense. We weren't expecting groundbreaking differences from Intel's new CPUs in the mid-segment. It's at the high-end where Intel is pushing the thermal envelopes of the Comet Lake CPUs to their absolute limits. That's where we expect things to get interesting. 

  • NightHawkRMX
    I mean, what did you expect. It has double the threads and a higher boost clock.

    TDP makes no sense. If the CPUs TDP is measured at the base clock, and both of these CPUs have 2.9ghz base, you would think the one with 12 threads would have a higher base than the 6 thread one, not a lower TDP.

    Just think of this new CPU as an 8700 with slightly nerfed clocks.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    NightHawkRMX said:
    TDP makes no sense. If the CPUs TDP is measured at the base clock, and both of these CPUs have 2.9ghz base, you would think the one with 12 threads would have a higher base than the 6 thread one, not a lower TDP.
    CPUs are usually far below their TDP while operating at base clock, Intel can afford turning SMT on without bothering to change the TDP. BTW, the i7-8700 is a 65W part too despite being one or two plusses behind. Would make sense that a slightly updated part on a more mature process that runs 300MHz lower base+boost would use at least somewhat less power.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    NightHawkRMX said:
    TDP makes no sense. If the CPUs TDP is measured at the base clock, and both of these CPUs have 2.9ghz base, you would think the one with 12 threads would have a higher base than the 6 thread one, not a lower TDP.

    Just think of this new CPU as an 8700 with slightly nerfed clocks.
    If it's made on a 10-core or even 8-core die, then they can pick the best 6 cores and disable the rest. So, even if the cores are the same (and they're probably not), simply having more cores on die makes a difference.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    InvalidError said:
    CPUs are usually far below their TDP while operating at base clock, Intel can afford turning SMT on without bothering to change the TDP.

    According to https://www.anandtech.com/show/14582/talking-tdp-turbo-and-overclocking-an-interview-with-intel-fellow-guy-therien :
    TDP is an average power dissipation at a maximum junction temperature operating condition limit, specified in Intel’s engineering datasheet for that processor, for which the processor is validated during manufacturing and when executing an associated Intel-specified high complexity workload at that frequency. What that means is when we quote a base frequency, we think about a worst case environment and a real world high-complexity workload that a user would put on the platform – when the part is run at a certain temperature, we promise that every part you will get will achieve that base frequency within the TDP power.

    This is quoted (10 months ago) straight from the guy at Intel who actually defined what TDP means.

    Based on that, there shouldn't have been enough headroom in the Coffee Lake-R spec to simply switch on hyperthreading without an impact on TDP and/or base frequency. So, either they changed their definition of TDP, or something else (e.g. cherry-picking cores) enabled them to run more efficiently at the same base frequency.
    Reply
  • mdd1963
    The new '8700'... for socket 1200....

    Will be interesting to see it compared to MAD's new 3300X, which was VERY darn strong in gaming results...
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    bit_user said:
    Based on that, there shouldn't have been enough headroom in the Coffee Lake-R spec to simply switch on hyperthreading without an impact on TDP and/or base frequency.
    The part that you highlighted effectively says that only the worst dies will get to TDP at base clock under the worst case conditions that are still within specs. Very few people are unfortunate enough to get the worst possible die that can still pass Intel's QA and very few people will also run those chips on the worst possible everything else that still meets specs. For any die that isn't a worst case and isn't operating under worst-case conditions, base clock should be achievable at significantly less than TDP.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    InvalidError said:
    The part that you highlighted effectively says that only the worst dies will get to TDP at base clock under the worst case conditions that are still within specs. Very few people are unfortunate enough to get the worst possible die that can still pass Intel's QA and very few people will also run those chips on the worst possible everything else that still meets specs. For any die that isn't a worst case and isn't operating under worst-case conditions, base clock should be achievable at significantly less than TDP.
    From the sound of it, their QA is to ensure that they can reach base clock, on a specified workload, at the specified temperature. So, it sounds like you're saying they simply relaxed their QA standards?

    Call me skeptical. Because, there would be enough of those chips floating around for someone to get one who has a twitter and/or youtube account, and they could raise a decent fuss.

    Remember the Der8auer guy that did a survey of Ryzen 3000 dies and found a worryingly large number that didn't hit the rated clocks? I doubt Intel wants to risk that kind of negative publicity.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    mdd1963 said:
    Will be interesting to see it compared to MAD's AMD's new 3300X,
    Fixed that, for you.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    bit_user said:
    From the sound of it, their QA is to ensure that they can reach base clock, on a specified workload, at the specified temperature. So, it sounds like you're saying they simply relaxed their QA standards?
    Not seeing the relationship there. TDP is a ceiling, anything less is within spec. There is nothing for QA to worry about when a chip with a 77W ceiling only needs 40W to meet operational and performance specs, 40W is less than 77W and therefore within 77W TDP spec, QA is happy.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    InvalidError said:
    Not seeing the relationship there. TDP is a ceiling, anything less is within spec. There is nothing for QA to worry about when a chip with a 77W ceiling only needs 40W to meet operational and performance specs, 40W is less than 77W and therefore within 77W TDP spec, QA is happy.
    But they set the base clocks at what clock speed the lowest-quality CPUs can run their specified workload on all cores, without exceeding TDP. So, either you're saying they were holding back with Coffee Lake-R (and why would that be?) or that they relaxed their QA standards to let chips through that don't meet spec.

    I prefer the explanation that the 6-core CPUs are made with 10-core dies, and they simply get extra margin by cherry-picking the best cores.

    Perhaps there are some other efficiency improvements, as well. The i9-9900KS review seemed to show improved power-efficiency at the same clocks as the i9-9900K, but maybe that was just a really good review sample.
    Reply