In an unexpected move, Intel has officially launched its Core i9-10850K processor slotting neatly into the gap between the i9-10900K and the i9-10800K.
Interestingly, the Core i9-10850K CPU offers only a 100MHz clock reduction compared to the 10900K for the sake of a £40-50 price difference. That means a base clock of 3.6GHz, single-core boost of 5GHz, and all core boost of 4.7GHz. Notice how everything works out as 100MHz lower than the Core i9-10900K? That also applies when running on Thermal Velocity Boost with single-threads achieving 5.2GHz and 4.8GHz across all cores. The TDP remains the same as the 10900K at 125W with the same Tau and PL1/PL2 values too.
The Core i9-10850K processor is also still compatible with Intel's Z490, H470 and B460-based motherboards, much like its ever so slightly more powerful sibling.
So, what's going on? There are some cynical murmurings as to why this is the case. Notably, some analysts reckon that the Core i9-10850K processor has come about from i9-10900K chips that weren't up to scratch and couldn't achieve what was expected of them. With such a small difference between the two chips, it would certainly make a lot of sense, giving a home to processors that haven't passed validation.
Of course, Intel has explained that the "i9-10850K is based on immediate feedback we've received from customers, including to further expand options and different price points." To an extent, that would make sense too, especially as the price difference between the 10850K and the 10900K is much larger in the US due to availability issues for the 10900K.
Either way, no one could really blame Intel for repurposing one-time chips for the 10900K and turning them into 10850K chips for less. It's a tiny clock reduction change with the only real-world difference here being that if you plan on overclocking, you'd be wise to stick with the i9-10900K in case ever so slightly lesser chips are being used, otherwise the Core i9-10850K processor will be more than good enough for most at that price.
Right now, you can grab the latest i9-10850K on Scan for £480 with the i9-10900K for £530 so there's not a vast sum of money separating them. Both CPUs have a pre-order date of 14th August.
October 15 2020 | 14:00