Intel Core i9-10920X Review

Written by Antony Leather

February 13, 2020 | 10:00

Tags: #14nm #cascade-lake-x #lga2066 #x299

Companies: #intel

Manufacturer: Intel

UK price (as reviewed): £711.53 (inc. VAT)

US price (as reviewed): $TBC (exc. tax)

The Core i9-10940X offers a modicum of value and bang for your buck in certain scenarios, but the Core i9-10900X doesn't do enough to set itself apart from either Intel or AMD's flagship mainstream offerings, it's anybody's guess as to how the 12-core part in Intel's HEDT Cascade Lake stack will perform. Is it too close to mainstream performance or does the Core i9-10920X manage to offer that little bit extra that makes it, plus the extra PCIe lanes and memory channels, worth the cash? 

To start with, there's the ongoing issue surrounding price and availability. The CPU simply couldn't be found in the US when we wrote this, at anything resembling a sensible price, and rather than list the highly-conservative pricing Intel threw around a few months ago, which was based on 1K unit prices anyway, we've left that bit blank for now. In the UK, things aren't much clearer. Where there is stock, it's expensive, but there are still far more reasonable pre-order options, with some of the better ones being around £700, which is around £120 less than the Core i9-10940X, or the same as the Ryzen 9 3950X, and a tad cheaper than the Threadripper 2950X, all of which are in contention here to give the Intel 12-core CPU a hard time. No pressure, then.

Base Freq Turbo Boost Max 2.0 Freq All-core boost Freq Turbo Boost Max Tech 3.0 Freq Cores/Threads L3 Cache TDP Price (USD 1K)
Intel Core i9-10980XE 3GHz 4.6GHz 3.8GHz 4.8GHz 18/36 24.75MB 165W $979
Intel Core i9-10940X 3.3GHz 4.6GHz 4.1GHz 4.8GHz 14/28 19.25MB 165W $784
Intel Core i9-10920X 3.5GHz 4.6GHz 4.3GHz 4.8GHz 12/24 19.25MB 165W $689
Intel Core i9-10900X 3.7GHz 4.5GHz 4.3GHz 4.7GHz 10/20 19.25MB 165W $590
Frequencies are fairly similar across the board, at least with the 10-, 12- and 14-core parts. The Core i9-10940X and Core i9-10920X have a maximum Turbo Boost Max 2.0 frequency of 4.6GHz and a peak Turbo Boost Max Tech 3.0 frequency of 4.8GHz, with just 100MHz separating all four CPUs here. The all-core boost, though, is the joint-highest at 4.3GHz. Of course, as we've seen with the other three CPUs, there's little point getting them to run at stock speed. It's all about their massive overclocks, and with the Core i9-10940X adding 800MHz to it all-core boost frequency here, we have high hopes for the Core i9-10920X, too.

Once again, we're dealing with a 165W TDP, 14nm manufacturing process and with 12 cores, courtesy of HyperThreading, you get 24 threads. There's 1MB L2 cache per core and 19.25MB total L3 cache. As we've mentioned with other Cascade Lake-X CPUs, we're likely not dealing with much of an upgrade path here, either - this is already the third generation of LGA2066 CPUs. On the plus side, though, the CPU's £711 price tag is barely half that demanded by its predecessor... and even now, the Core i9-9920X can be found retailing for more than the new kid on the block. Needless to say, you should wait for stock to arrive if you're considering reaching for your wallet, but that's just one of many other considerations, as we shall see.

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