Intel i5 10600K CPU: Gaming performance

A couple of months ago, Intel reached out to see whether I interested in review it’s i5 10600K CPU.

Of course, I said yes, and it was the catalyst for a new PC build, which you can read all about here. A big thanks to Intel for the chance to review the i6 10600K.

Intel’s 10th generation, 6 core, 12-thread Comet Lake CPU was replacing an i5 8400 CPU which was still a good CPU but it was just starting to show its age a little. I paired it with an Asus TUF Gaming Plus wi-fi Z490 motherboard, a Sapphire RX580 8Gb GPU and 16Gb of PNY RGB memory. It’s all lovingly encased within a Montech case.

Initial usage indicated to my untrained self that the 10600K was a vast improvement on the 8400 but I wanted to put it to the test in gaming. That is, after all, what I mainly use my desktop PC for.

Right, onto the testing and the highly scientific regime I’d decided to use …

The testing

The testing method I employed to test the performance of Intel’s i510600K was simple: Run the game’s in-built benchmark and record the results. The games I picked were: Gears of War 5, Mafia II: Definitive Edition, Horizon Zero Dawn, Deus Ex Mankind Divided, Hitman 2 (Mumbai) and Red Dead Redemption 2. I also tested with 3D Mark’s Timespy Direct X 12 and Firestrike Direct X 11 benchmarks.Graphical settings were 1080p with a mix of high and medium settings, with the old ultra preset thrown in.

The results

Rather than lots and lots of words that will likely bore you stupid, here are some pretty pictures with numbers and charts on them showing how well things performed. According to the Timespy score, my PC is “Legendary”.

Of the benchmarks, the Gears of War 5 and Horizon Zero Dawn ones impressed me the most as they provided data for CPU as well as GPU performance (Average CPU Framerate).

3DMark Timespy & Firestrike:

Gears of War 5:

Horizon Zero Dawn:

Deus Ex Mankind Divided:

Mafia II Definitive Edition:

Red Dead Redemption 2:

Hitman 2 (Mumbai):

Final thoughts

In the two months I’ve been running Intel’s 10600K CPU in my PC, I’ve been mightily impressed: It’s a solid performer on day to day tasks but it really shines when it comes to gaming. That’s where it really stands out. It’s also said to have rather impressive overclocking potential but I haven’t gone down that route – yet.

If anything, the 10600K will be hampered by the at-least-a-couple-of-generations-old RX580 GPU, still a thoroughly capable card but it starts to creak in some of the more demanding titles coming out these days (I’d love to buy a nice shiny RTX-capable GPU but the outrageously ludicrous GPU prices are just not doing it for me at the moment.)

For gamers who want a fantastic performing 10-generation CPU for a reasonable price (pricing online had it for around the $300 mark), I can heartily recommend the i5 10600K.

Thanks to Intel for providing the i5 10600K for review.

Intel i5-10600K CPU review: The heart of a new PC build

While it’s true that much of my video gaming these days is on on either my Xbox Series X or my PlayStation 5, I’m still a proud card carrying member of the PC Master Race and I started my gaming on the venerable ZX81 way back in the dark ages of personal computing.

So when PR for Intel Australia/New Zealand got in touch and offered me the chance to test out its 10th Generation i5-10600K CPU, I jumped at the chance. I was keen to re-build my PC with a newer generation CPU & see how Intel’s 10th Gen chip compares to the i5 8400 that I had been using for the last four years or so.

The Origin Story

For this new build, I was going to need to purchase a new motherboard for the i5-10600K as the Asus B365M-K motherboard that houses the 8400 doesn’t support Intel’s new LGA1200 socket form factor (the 8400 is the LGA1151 form factor).

I spent days investigating the cons and pros of a variety of motherboard chipsets that would work with the i5-10600K and eventually settled on an Asus TUF Gaming Z490-plus wi-fi motherboard from New Zealand retailer Computer Lounge.

The Asus board seemed to rank favourably with the review sites I follow and I’ve long been a fan of Asus’ motherboards as I’ve found they’re generally constructed well and offer great features for the price.

The board even came with a certificate of reliability from Asus, ver. Verifying that it had passed a variety of reliability tests that included vibration, mechanical shock, thermal shock and solderability tests on the motherboard’s capacitors and chokes.

The TUF Gaming Z490 looked just the thing that I needed but I’d be lying if it said it was easy finding a Z4890 mother board: Most retailers were either sold out, didn’t stock Z490 boards any more or were leaning towards the newer chipset for Intel’s 11th Generation CPUs.

The Set-Up

OK, let’s talk about the heart of the build: The CPU for a moment. Intel’s i5-10600K is part of the company’s Comet Lake CPU line up which was released around a year ago and is a 6-core, 12-thread CPU running at 4.1Ghz. It has a maximum clock speed of 4.5Ghz but apparently can be overclocked quite easily to 5.0Ghz. I don’t plan to overclock – at least not at this stage anyway.

So, with the i5-10600K kindly provided by Intel and the Asus Z490 motherboard having arrived safely, It was time to re-build my PC.

Apart for the new CPU and motherboard, all the other components were straight transplants from my old PC; The  SSD (which had the Windows 10 Pro OS install), the HDD (I haven’t got around to getting an M.2 drive yet), two sticks of PNY’s 8Gb RGB RAM and my dependable but ageing Sapphire RX580 GPU.

I was ready to begin, optimistic that I’d be done and dusted before I knew it. Oh, how wrong I was.

Remember earlier in this piece I mentioned how I was no stranger to building PCs? Well, I have to say that this was probably the most problematic build I’ve ever done. Installing the i5-10600K onto the motherboard was the easy part as was installing Cooler Master H410R air cooler (it too came from my old PC and luckily for me, supported the newer LGA1200 socket mounting holes).

I hit a few hiccups during the build, all a result of my fumbling fingers, but soon enough it was up and running. I could see that the i5-10600K was proving significantly better performer than the 8400 it replaced. It’s touted as a great CPU choice for gamers which works for me.

The Payoff

I tested the CPU using Geekbench, CPU-Z, Realbench and Maxon’s Cinebench R23 benchmarking tools.

Using Cinebench, I tested both the 10600K and 8400 on core performance. The 8400 returned a single core reading of 4802 (I forgot to do a multi-core test before swapping out CPUs) and the 10600K returned scores of1253 (single-core) and 8918 (multi-core).

Geekbench returned a score of 1256 (single-core) and 6483 (multi-core). CPU-Z returned scores of 513.7 (single thread) and 3813 (multi-thread) for the 10600K.

Realbench tests image editing, H.264 video encoding speeds, OpenCL and heavy multitasking and delivered a score of 145,369.

To be honest, I have no idea what any of these numbers mean in terms of whether a CPU is good or not but in general world PC usage, the Intel i5-10600K performed remarkably well and faster than my previous 8th Generation i5 8400 did so I’m extremely happy.

So, that’s it for this build post. In a future post, I’ll test the 10600K’s gaming performance.

A huge thanks to Intel Australia/New Zealand for the test i5-10600K CPU.