Intel this morning is taking the wraps off of a new Core i9 processor that it’s adding to its family of Comet Lake desktop CPUs. Taking its place as the closest thing to a budget option in the i9 pile, the i9-10850K is a slightly lower-clocked version of Intel’s flagship 10-core i9-10900K processor. Overall the chip is clocked 100MHz slower than the 10900K in every aspect, from base clocks to turbo clocks, a rather small increment at a time when Intel’s chips boost to over 5000Mhz. Meanwhile, bulk pricing for the 10850K is $453/chip, shaving off $35 from the 10900K.

Intel 10th Gen Comet Lake
Core i9 and Core i7
AnandTech Cores Base
Core i9
i9-10900K 10C/20T 3.7 5.1 4.8 5.2 5.3 4.9 125 630 $488
i9-10900KF 10C/20T 3.7 5.1 4.8 5.2 5.3 4.9 125 - $472
i9-10900 10C/20T 2.8 5.0 4.5 5.1 5.2 4.6 65 630 $439
i9-10900F 10C/20T 2.8 5.0 4.5 5.1 5.2 4.6 65 - $422
i9-10900T 10C/20T 1.9 4.5 3.7 4.6 - - 35 630 $439
i9-10850K 10C/20T 3.6 5.0 4.7 5.1 5.2 4.8 125 630 $453
Core i7
i7-10700K 8C/16T 3.8 5.0 4.7 5.1 - - 125 630 $374
i7-10700KF 8C/16T 3.8 5.0 4.7 5.1 - - 125 - $349
i7-10700 8C/16T 2.9 4.7 4.6 4.8 - - 65 630 $323
i7-10700F 8C/16T 2.9 4.7 4.6 4.8 - - 65 - $298
i7-10700T 8C/16T 2.0 4.4 3.7 4.5 - - 35 630 $325

Aside from clockspeeds, the Core i9-10850K is a fairly unremarkable processor within Intel’s larger lineup. The chip features the same fully-enabled 10-core configuration as the 10900K, as well as Comet Lake’s full UHD 630 integrated GPU. The unlocked chip also features the same Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB) capabilities as the flagship i9, and like company’s other high-end K-series parts, this is nominally a 125 Watt TDP processor. So for all practical purposes this is a 10900K clocked 100MHz lower, and that’s it.

More curious, perhaps, is why Intel is even bothering to release the chip. While the company does keep a fairly fine-grained and highly-binned product lineup, 100MHz is a small difference even by Intel’s usual standards. On paper at least, the 10850K will deliver better than 97% of the 10900K’s performance; so Intel has created a SKU that’s not even 3% different from its other full-TDP i9 parts.

Our best guess at this point is that, having pushed its 14nm process and Skylake CPU architecture as far as it can go with its fifth rendition, that the company has been amassing chips that can’t quite reach the 10900K’s lofty clockspeeds. Judging from overclocking results as well as ongoing issues with retail shortages, Intel is seemingly playing on the very far edge of their frequency rage, so even 100MHz in headroom can make the difference between whether a chip passes validation or not. Though any kind of de facto price cut is also undoubtedly helpful for Intel against AMD’s highly-competitive Ryzen 3000 series lineup.

Moving on, today’s processor release isn’t just an OEM release, but is a retail release as well. Listings for the BX8070110850K began appearing for the chip even before today’s announcement, confirming that the chip will soon be for sale as a proper boxed CPU release. Intel's official bulk pricing for the chip is $453, which is $35 less than the $488 10900K. But as always, it should be noted that Intel's list price is in quantities of 1000, so individual chip pricing will be higher. And with the 10900K in short supply and even the i7-10700K going for over $400, I wouldn't be too surprised to see the 10850K start at well over list price once it hits the major retailers.

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  • GreenReaper - Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - link

    Some of us like living on the edge. Also, black humour is a thing, you know?
    (Though they'll probably have to change the name now, come to think of it...)
  • IBM760XL - Monday, July 27, 2020 - link

    I'll wait for the Core i9-10825K that's 200 MHz lower than the 10900K.

    Seriously, though, I appreciate the paragraph about, "why have this chip" and discussing being at the top of the frequency range. What's interesting is if only 100 MHz is enough to account for a considerable amount of chips. Looking at the product stack, I would have expected something more in between the 10900 and 10900K - say 3.2 or 3.3 GHz and 95W TDP. Although that would present a "what do we name it?" conundrum.
  • yeeeeman - Monday, July 27, 2020 - link

    this need to be 300-350$ to sell well.
  • Foeketijn - Monday, July 27, 2020 - link

    You don't care about how many you can sell, you care about how many you have you can sell.
  • pepoluan - Monday, July 27, 2020 - link

    AMD: After releasing their Zen 2 lineup, releases the XT lineup with slightly higher clock speed.

    Intel: After releasing their "10th gen" (?) lineup, releases the... uh, more of same? lineup ... with slightly lower clock speed.

    I just can't.
  • edzieba - Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - link

    Or in other words:

    AMD releases a near-identical CPU with a minuscule performance bump for the same price - Thanks AMD!
    Intel releases a near-identical CPU with a minuscule performance drop but a large price drop - Screw you Intel!
  • Midwayman - Monday, July 27, 2020 - link

    This makes no sense as a K chip. Anyone who wants an unlocked chip would know these are the rejects from binning.
  • drexnx - Monday, July 27, 2020 - link

    maybe for air binning, but leaky chips usually work better for extreme OC efforts.
  • artk2219 - Monday, July 27, 2020 - link

    Possibly, keep in mind they dont test every chip though and there definitely could be some that overclock just as well as the 10900k, but as always you you take your chances. Probably worth it though if its atleast 10 percent less. You lose 3 percent performance, but your only paying 90 percent as much. That seems like a reasonable enough argument for me, although i'd still recommend going with a Ryzen 7 or Ryzen 9 over it for most things.
  • Beaver M. - Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - link

    They might not thoroughly test every chip, but they have their indicators on which chip is good and which is not. Or which chip can be a 10900K and which cannot.

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