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Intel i7 10700k – Hot Buy or Too Hot To Run?

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

We recently unboxed Z490 motherboard from Asus – and it is time to populate it with the new Intel 10th gen CPU.

Let’s have a look at Intel i7 10700k: it is an 8 core processor with 16 threads, it operates at 3.8 GHz base frequency but will boost as high as 5.1 GHz. On paper it is basically identical to the more recent 9900KS which itself is an overclocked 9900K.

It does have a 200 MHz lower base clock but 100 MHz higher max clock speed and it also supports a slightly higher speed memory.

For testing we are going to be comparing it to the older 8700K, and we will be doing all tests at stock and basic overclock just by changing the multiplier up by 200 MHz.

We want to see if there is enough of a reason to upgrade a few year old CPU or if you should first invest your money in other parts of your build.

To start let’s jump into Cinebench R15.

Here we can see 10700K immediately breaking the 200 point barrier for single thread and overclock pushing it further to 229, which is really impressive. At the same time 8700K is not that far behind, in fact while overclocked it matches 10700K at stock.

Moving to multi-thread we see a staggered performance.

It is about 14% improvement at every step. There is no match between 8700K and 10700K as the extra two cores and 4 threads really make a difference. To be fair, this test finishes too fast so the CPU doesn’t actually get a proper work out so let’s jump into R20.

Here we find a very similar situation when it comes down to a single thread, it is about 2.8% improvement for the first two and then 8% improvement for the overclocked 10700K.

In a multi thread test we have 10% improvement by overclocking 8700K, then 16% from that when moving to 10700K stock and another 11% when overclocking it. That is 42% improvement from stock 8700K, certainly an unfair comparison but it is the same line of CPU, just newer. This is clearly the fruit of the competition between Intel and AMD.

What was interesting here, the 8700K was giving all it had and was not thermal throttling. When it comes to overclocked 10700K while doing a multi-thread test – it would cap out at 100c and throttle down to about 4.7GHz all core. So it is a hot chip but still has a lot in there, providing you can cool it.

Next we test 3DMark Time Spy.

Here we have moderate improvement on the GPU side of about 5% by overclocking 8700K and between 1.5 and 3% on the 10700K.

When it comes to CPU, once again we get about 15% improvement at each step with a total improvement of 55%, which is a considerable amount.

In 7Zip benchmark we see 17% improvement by overclocking 8700K and 12% improvement by switching to stock 10700K, overclock on that yields another 20%. Yet again our CPU is locked at 100C, but we are getting 5 GHz all core speed so there is only a little bit more you could push with better cooling. More on that later.

We are creators and using Black Magic Raw benchmark we see a very interesting story.

Overclocking 8700K yields 9.4% on CPU score and 2.7% on GPU score. Moving up to 10700K stock we get another 8.5% on CPU and lose almost 6% on GPU score, but overclocking it gets us a whopping 22% improvement on CPU and 19% on GPU. This is very impressive as video editing is taxing on the whole system at all times so having such drastic improvement from more cores and higher clock speed is very welcome.

Moving on to gaming. First, we test Shadow of The Tomb Raider, settings set to 4K high with motion blur turned off.

Our GPU average goes up by 2% when overclocking 8700K and by further 4.4% when going 10700K, overclocking it bears no difference at all.

When it comes to CPU average, there is 15% improvement from overclocking the 8700K, then we lose 3% by jumping to 10700K stock and 25% improvement by overclocking the new chip.

In Total War Three Kingdoms we drop down the resolution to 1080p and set it to Ultra.

We get 1.5% improvement from overclocking the 8700K then 3% by swapping to 10700K stock and again no change when overclocking it.

In Formula 1 we see basically the same results.

Overall on these games higher clock speed does help a little and games are well optimised for multi thread operation so we gain some performance but ultimately are bottlenecked by our GPU.

So what did Intel do with this chip? As compared to the 8700Kk, it seems like a really big improvement but then again that was a two year old CPU. When you compare it to 9900K and KS versions, the difference is not that significant – at least on paper. But you have to remember, that was a top tier consumer CPU. Now we can have it wrapped in a slightly faster and considerably cheaper i7 package. It does get really hot though, so if you want to get all the performance out of it, you will need a good cooler. We have benched this using Prime 95 across all 4 set-ups and after 10 minutes when it has normalised we got this:

8700K at stock has reached 65C and maintained 3.88 GHz speed. When overclocked, it reached 80C and 4.1 GHz. 10700K while at stock reaches 94C and maintains 3.9 GHz speed

When overclocked it jumps to 100C but keeps 4.35 GHz speed.

The cooler we have here is not really made for heavy overclocking and we have not done any optimisation just yet, granted it is an open air bench. Overall with good cooling I can see this chip going further, we will test it in the future – will post it here in a couple of days time.

Let’s talk about the price. 10700K has a recommended retail price of $374 to $387 dollars but like always – expect it to be in the low to mid $400s in the first few months.

As it doesn’t come with a cooler, I’d recommend spending at least $35 to get Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. If you will be overclocking it, go with around $100 Noctua NH-D15 or even custom water cooling. We are looking at a total price now starting just short of $500 with a low end cooler and going upwards of $600 with a good one.

While this is a considerable discount from last year’s 9900K at same or better speed, it is still considerably more expensive than AMD’s offering. Also this is a new platform, it actually seems that comparable motherboards for both Intel and AMD are roughly the same price so you could get AMD Ryzen 7 3800X for around $400 or spend an extra $100 and get 3900X. Both of which come with reasonable coolers. Plus by getting an X570 board you will be able to upgrade to at least 1 future generation of Ryzen processors without swapping it out.

To make the matter worse – as of recording this video AMD has strategically dropped their price for most of their lineup, and the two CPUs that are hugging 10700K on each side (Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 7 3800X) are now even more appealing.

So ultimately it depends what you will be doing with it. If you are looking for the highest possible clock speeds and you focus mostly on gaming with high end graphics then 10700K is a great choice, on the other hand Ryzen CPUs can be as good and also potentially cheaper options with up to 50% more cores, this makes it very difficult to flat out recommend either one.

Do bear in mind – AMD is going to be announcing desktop Ryzen 4000 CPUs soon so it may be a great idea to hold off for the time being.

If you want to check out any of the equipment, links are down below:

Intel i7-10700k on Amazon or Lazada

ASUS TUF Gaming Z490-Plus on Amazon or Lazada

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO on Amazon or Lazada

Noctua NH-D15 on Amazon or Lazada

AMD Ryzen™ 7 3800X on Amazon or Lazada

AMD Ryzen™ 9 3900X on Amazon or Lazada

ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus on Amazon or Lazada

ASUS Strix 2060 OC on Amazon or Lazada

Streacom BC1 Open Benchtable on Amazon or Lazada

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