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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  • Chaitanya - Monday, July 27, 2020 - link

    A lot of spam comments.
    Also what is the point of this CPU?
  • drothgery - Monday, July 27, 2020 - link

    10 cores from Intel for less money (though the lack of an MSRP is a problem for that)? Not knocking a chip down to an i7 with one core that couldn't quite hit 5 GHz?
  • surt - Monday, July 27, 2020 - link

    I would guess Intel is struggling to sell 7 series parts because they don't compete well with AMD. By creating a lower price 9 series part they can try to push their 9 series further down market.
  • pepoluan - Monday, July 27, 2020 - link

    My guess: Intel has a YUUUGE stock of chips that missed the bin and couldn't make it as 10900. Indicative of yield/quality problems as Intel keeps flogging their fabs...
  • 0ldman79 - Monday, July 27, 2020 - link

    Intel doesn't seem to be having issues with 14nm other than 14nm has it's limits.

    The chip probably allowed a sizable improvement in yields. 100MHz doesn't really make that much of a difference in performance but by allowing this they increased sell-able 10 core chips. That last little bit of clock speed is always costly to attain, that's just how it works.
  • Beaver M. - Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - link

    14nm is at its limits. Especially a chip like the 10900K. Period.
    Of course yields will be better than in 2015, but still not perfect.
    Looking at the horrible availability of 10900Ks compared to other ones, its pretty obvious the yield could be much better.
    Seems to be that many chips only barely miss the 10900K requirements and so they simply made a 10850K.
  • Chaitanya - Monday, July 27, 2020 - link

    At this rate we will few more SKUs with 100mhz lower clocks and with SKU no in decrements of 50 in coming months.
  • Eug - Monday, July 27, 2020 - link

    I'm still waiting for the mythical i9-10910.
  • GreenReaper - Monday, July 27, 2020 - link

    If, as prior commenters say, Google is paying $99 to $140 per hour for doing work online, then it barely matters how much it costs - you could buy one with less than a full day's wages!

    The TDP is 125W, if you trust that. But there are differences other than CPU speed. Unlike the 10900K, it's listed as ineligible for vPro or SIPP, and lacks TXT:

    Of course, higher-end Intel CPUs at MSRP are in short supply; the i9-10900K goes for more than £500 in the UK - and even Intel's ARK can only find it at $525 from Walmart (confusingly promoted as "from $599.99", seemingly based on the first offered price, not the lowest):
  • damianrobertjones - Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - link

    "If, as prior commenters say, Google is paying $99 to $140 per hour for doing work online"

    That's really weird thing to start with? You've almost made your post into spam.

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