Comet Lake S: When a 65- becomes a 224-watt CPU


A few weeks after the release of the Comet Lake S like the Core i9-10900K / i5-10600K (test), Intel published the technical documents of the CPUs. These show that the processors can use a lot more energy in the short term than the TDP of 125 watts, 65 watts and 35 watts suggests. Even with cheaper boards with a B460 or H470 chip, a CPU behaves completely different depending on the board than the specifications (PDF # 1, PDF # 2) would be expected.

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The background is that the TDP (Thermal Design Power) – i.e. the thermal power loss – is only one of many values ​​at Intel. Specifically, the TDP corresponds to the permanent power consumption (PL1), but due to the thermal inertia of the CPU and cooler, Intel also allows significantly more energy to be supplied in the short term (PL2). The duration of this boost is determined by the Turbo Time Parameter (TAU), which also includes factors such as an exponentially weighted moving average (EWMA) that can reduce the TAU.

A Core i9-10900K, for example, runs continuously at 125 watts, but can also absorb 250 watts for up to 56 seconds. A Core i5-10400, on the other hand, is designed for 65 watts, for example, but Intel allows 134 watts for up to 28 seconds. In the case of the T models with 35 watts, however, the manufacturer provides peaks of sometimes 92 watts up to 123 watts, which can lead to smaller CPU coolers causing their fans to turn up and become (un) loud. In the worst case, the power supply’s performance is not sufficient for the peak loads.

Cores / threads Clock PL1 PL2 DEW
Core i9-10900K (F) 10C / 20T 3.7 to 5.3 GHz 125 watts 250 watts 56 sec
Core i9-10900 (F) 10C / 20T 2.8 to 5.2 GHz 65 watts 224 watts 28 sec
Core i9-10900T 10C / 20T 1.9 to 4.6 GHz 35 watts 123 watts 28 sec
Core i7-10700K (F) 8C / 16T 3.8 to 5.1 GHz 125 watts 229 watts 56 sec
Core i7-10700 (F) 8C / 16T 2.9 to 4.8 GHz 65 watts 224 watts 28 sec
Core i7-10700T 8C / 16T 2.0 to 4.5 GHz 35 watts 123 watts 28 sec
Core i5-10600K (F) 6C / 12T 4.1 to 4.8 GHz 125 watts 182 watts 56 sec
Core i5-10600 6C / 12T 3.3 to 4.8 GHz 65 watts 134 watts 28 sec
Core i5-10600T 6C / 12T 2.4 to 4.0 GHz 35 watts 92 watts 28 sec
Core i5-10500 6C / 12T 3.1 to 4.5 GHz 65 watts 134 watts 28 sec
Core i5-10500T 6C / 12T 2.3 to 3.8 GHz 35 watts 92 watts 28 sec
Core i5-10400 (F) 6C / 12T 2.9 to 4.3 GHz 65 watts 134 watts 28 sec
Core i5-10400T 6C / 12T 2.0 to 3.6 GHz 35 watts 92 watts 28 sec
Core i3-10320 4C / 8T 3.8 to 4.6 GHz 65 watts 90 watts 28 sec
Core i3-10300 4C / 8T 3.7 to 4.4 GHz 65 watts 90 watts 28 sec
Core i3-10300T 4C / 8T 3.0 to 3.9 GHz 35 watts 55 watts 28 sec
Core i3-10100 4C / 8T 3.6 to 4.3 GHz 65 watts 90 watts 28 sec
Core i3-10100T 4C / 8T 3.0 to 3.8 GHz 35 watts 55 watts 28 sec

Comet Lake S – PL1, PL2, TAU according to Intel

According to Intel, the values ​​for PL1, PL2 and TAU are only recommendations. Mainboard partners are free to adjust their boards differently and, for example, open the PL1 upwards. For example, a 65-watt chip becomes a 125-watt or even 255-watt model, which in the Core i7-10700 without K brings the processor’s clock rates close to that of a Core i7-10700K. Even with models such as the Core i5-10400F, the power consumption without a corresponding PL1 is significantly higher than 65 watts, because it rises far under render load over 100 watts. With the T models, manufacturers seem to adhere to Intel’s suggestions, but we have not been able to check this so far.

Some boards do not explain what is hidden in automatic settings – others do. With tools like Aida64 or HW info However, it can be shown which values ​​for PL1, PL2 and TAU the respective mainboard has preset.

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