Intel's Comet Lake has cratered into the market, bringing more threads to the company's Core i5 and i7 lineups along with more cores for the halo Core i9 family. In response to AMD's unrelenting pressure, Intel's revamped lineup offers more threads for the same pricing as previous-gen models. The Core i7-10700K slots in with eight cores and 16 threads for and MSRP of $374 / $349 (without GPU), though current street prices are higher. In fact, the 10700K offers the same number of cores and threads as the previous-gen Core i9-9900K, but for $114 less, making it a contender for our list of Best CPUs and a top-performer on our CPU Benchmark Hierarchy.
As expected, Intel reserved the best features for its halo Core i9-10900K, like support for its Thermal Velocity Boost that triggers higher boost speeds if the chip runs below a certain temperature. However, the Core i7-10700K still marks the debut of Turbo Max 3.0 to the Core i7 family. This tech targets the 10700K's two fastest cores, which peak at 5.1 GHz, with lightly threaded workloads to improve snappiness. That results in a surprisingly close competition for gaming supremacy between the Core i7-10700K and the Core i9-10900K.
The Intel Core i7-10700K also comes with a 3.8-GHz base clock that, paired with its 16 threads, improves its standing against price-comparable Ryzen processors in threaded desktop PC applications, while the snappy single-threaded performance gives it an outright win in lightly-threaded apps. The Core i7-10700K also proves to be a nimble overclocker that doesn't generate an untenable amount of excess heat, so off-the-shelf water coolers can unlock big gains.
Overall, the Core i7-10700K gives you nearly the same gaming performance as the Core i9-10900K, but for $110 less, and overclocking eliminates any meaningful difference in gaming performance between the chips. You also get extremely competitive single-threaded performance at stock settings.
AMD isn't sitting still, though. The company recently announced a new line of Ryzen XT processors that should bring slight performance improvements over the existing chips. Still, more importantly, the pending chips have resulted in lower pricing on the existing processors. The competing $300 Ryzen 7 3700X isn't as adept in gaming and only holds a slight edge in creativity applications, so it slots in as a lower-cost alternative. Meanwhile, the Ryzen 9 3900X retails for a fantastic $415, and its 12 cores offer far more performance in threaded workloads, making it the go-to productivity chip.
The Core i7-10700K leads in gaming, but cost-conscious shoppers may prefer Intel's own Core i5-1600K, which is a better value for lower-cost gaming rigs. This leaves the Core i7-10700K as a good choice for high-end gaming machines, and it definitely takes the shine off Intel's Core i9-10900K (and its egregious power consumption) for overclocking enthusiasts and the frame-rate obsessed.
Intel Core i7-10700K Specifications and Pricing
|MSRP/Retail||Cores / Threads||Base / Boost GHz||$-Per-Core / Per Thread||L3 Cache||TDP||PCIe||Memory||Graphics|
|Ryzen 9 3950X||$749 / $700||16 / 32||3.5 / 4.7||~$44/~$22||64||105W||24 Gen4||Dual DDR4-3200||N/A|
|Ryzen 9 3900X||$413 / $419||12 / 24||3.8 / 4.6||~$35/~$17||64||105W||24 Gen4||Dual DDR4-3200||N/A|
|Core i9-10900K / KF||$488 (K) / $472 (KF)||10 / 20||3.7 / 5.3||~$49/~$24 / ~$47/~$24||20||125W||16 Gen3||Dual DDR4-2933||UHD 630 - 1.2 GHz (non-F only)|
|Core i9-9900K / F||$488 / $524||8 / 16||3.6 / 5.0||~$61/~$31||16||95W||16 Gen3||Dual DDR4-2666||UHD 630 - 1.2 GHz (non-F only)|
|Core i7-10700K / KF||$374 (K) / $349 (KF)||8 / 16||3.8 / 5.1||~$47/~$23 / ~$44/~$22||16||125W||16 Gen3||Dual DDR4-2933||UHD 630 - 1.2 GHz (non-F only)|
|Core i7-9700K||$374 / $370||8 / 8||3.6 / 4.9||$~47/~$47||12||95W||16 Gen3||Dual DDR4-2666||UHD 630 - 1.2 GHz (non-F only)|
|Ryzen 7 3800X||$399 / $329||8 / 16||3.9 / 4.5||~$41/~$21||32||105W||24 Gen4||Dual DDR4-3200||N/A|
|Core i7-10700 / F||$323 / $298 (F)||8 / 16||2.9 / 4.8||~$40/~$20 / ~$37/~$19||16||65W||16 Gen3||Dual DDR4-2933||UHD 630 - 1.2 GHz (non-F only)|
|Ryzen 7 3700X||$329 / $275||8 / 16||3.6 / 4.4||~$34/~$17||32||65W||24 Gen4||Dual DDR4-3200||N/A|
The Comet Lake architecture, which comes with the 14nm++ process, is yet another Skylake derivative, meaning most performance gains come from added features and clock rate improvements. We've covered the finer details here.
The biggest change to the Core i7 series comes in the form of more threads at the same price points as previous-gen i7 models, which equates to a lower price-per-thread. Intel's graphics-less F-series 10700K also stands out with a $25 discount.
The 10700K doesn't have a direct Ryzen 3000 competitor on the pricing front yet, with the ~$415 Ryzen 9 3900X serving as a step up with 12 cores and 24 threads, while the $329 Ryzen 7 3800X lands at a lower price point. We expect that to change when AMD releases its Radeon XT models, with the $399 Ryzen 7 3800XT serving as the 10700K's direct competitor.
In many respects, the Core i7-10700K is similar, if not better, than the previous-gen Core i9-9900K. Both chips come with eight cores and 16 threads, but the 10700K has higher 3.8 / 5.1 GHz base/boost clocks, while the Core i9-9900K tops out at 3.6 / 5.0 GHz. Both chips have the same 4.7 GHz all-core boost.
|Turbo Boost Matrix||Base (GHz)||Turbo Boost 2.0 (single-core)||Turbo Boost 3.0 Max (Dual-Core)||Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB - Single Core)||All-Core Boost||TVB All-core|
|Core i9-10900K / KF||3.7 GHz||5.1 GHz||5.2 GHz||5.3 GHz||4.8 GHz||4.9 GHz|
|Core i7-10700K||3.8 GHz||5.0 GHz||5.1 GHz||N/A||4.7GHz||N/A|
|Core i7-9700K||3.6 GHz||4.9 GHz||N/a||N/A||4.6 GHz|
|Core i9-9900K / F||3.6 GHz||5.0 GHz||N/A||N/A||4.7 GHz||N/A|
The Core i7-10700K gains the extra 100 MHz in boost frequency over the 9900K via Intel's Turbo Boost Max 3.0 tech, which targets the two fastest physical cores (identified during the binning process) and targets them with lightly-threaded applications.
|Active Cores||1-2||3||4 - 5||6 - 8|
Intel fabs both the Core i9-9900K and Core i7-10700K with a similar process and architecture, but the 10700K consists of the ten-core die with two cores fused off to create an eight-core part. Intel gives the 10700K a 125W TDP rating, which is a substantial increase over the 9900K's 95W. Intel specs the TDP rating at base clocks, so the company made a few alterations, including pairing a thinner die and copper integrated heat spreader (IHS) with solder TIM to help accommodate the higher heat output. Intel also bumped up the PL2 (Power Limit 2) rating that reflects power draw during boost activity to 229W, which is a big jump over the 9900K's 119W rating.
Intel bumped up its memory support over the previous-gen models from DDR4-2666 to DDR4-2933, a minor improvement, and you'll need a Z490 motherboard with the LGA1200 socket to accommodate the chip. Luckily, all 115x cooling solutions are compatible. As with the chip's other ratio multipliers, Intel fully enables memory overclocking on Z-series motherboards, but you'll lose that functionality on the B- and H-series. Be sure to price in a Z-series board and a cooling solution, preferably liquid, if you're off to the overclocking races. Meanwhile, AMD allows overclocking on all but its A-Series motherboards.
The Core i7-10700K doesn't come with a boxed cooler like the competing Ryzen chips, but mid-range air coolers should be sufficient for stock operation, and even some overclocking. Serious overclockers should plan on a 240mm or greater all-in-one cooler, but the overclocking results we'll outline on the following pages are pretty impressive.