It's been almost three months since Intel launched its Comet Lake-S processors, and now it is adding a product to the lineup: the Core i9-10850K. This chip offers exactly what the top-tier Core i9-10900K chip has aboard, minus 100 MHz on all fronts.
Indeed, that's the only difference between the new i9-10850K and the two-month-old i9-10900K. Both chips have 10 cores with hyperthreading, along with identical caches and TDP's. The i9-10850K simply shaves 100 MHz off the base clock and boost clocks.
|Cores/Threads||Base Clock||Single-Core Boost||TDP||Price|
|i9-10900K||10/20||3.7 GHz||Up to 5.1 GHz||125W||$488|
|i9-10900KF||10/20||3.7 GHz||Up to 5.1 GHz||125W||$472|
|i9-10850K||10/20||3.6 GHz||Up to 5.0 GHz||125W||$453|
|i9-10900||10/20||2.8 GHz||Up to 5.0 GHz||65W||$439|
|i9-10900F||10/20||2.8 GHz||Up to 5.0 GHz||65W||$422|
|i7-10700K||8/16||3.8 GHz||Up to 5.0 GHz||125W||$374|
Exactly why Intel is releasing this chip is unclear. At just 100 MHz away from the i9-10900K, there doesn't seem to be a reason for it to exist other than to fill up a gap in the pricing stack.
However, it is known that Intel is pushing the i9-10900K chips to the absolute edge in terms of clock speeds in an attempt to get every last bit of performance out of its current architecture and 14nm process before moving on to the new architecture with Rocket Lake-S. As such, it's possible that Intel is having some problems with the binning process, having chips left over that were set to become i9-10900K's but failed by the tiniest margin.
Therefore, if you plan on overclocking, it's probably best to spend the extra $35 to go for the i9-10900K as you're more likely to get better silicon, but if you plan on leaving the clocks at stock settings, then the i9-10850K might just be a compelling option if the shortages don't throw street pricing out of whack.