Intel Comet Lake CPU overclocking looks limited unless you buy a Core i9, going by MSI’s findings

(Image credit: Intel)

MSI has revealed some data on Intel’s imminent Comet Lake desktop processors which sheds at least some light on how well they overclock – and the answer, apparently, is not particularly well, unless you’re forking out for a Core i9 model.

MSI’s Eric van Beurden and Michiel Berkhout revealed their findings on the overclocking potential of Intel’s silicon in a livestream, testing Core i5, i7 and i9 models from the 10th-gen Comet Lake-S range, as spotted by Videocardz.

They evaluated batches of the CPUs and then gave percentages of the processors which fell into three categories – level A, B, or C. Level A were the top-tier CPUs with lots of headroom for overclocking, whereas B-grade chips were at the level of Intel’s advertising, and C-grade were a little below that expected performance (in terms of overclocking, that is – not baseline performance, it’s important to note).

The really interesting statistic is that 27% of Core i9-10900K (and KF) chips tested were A-grade processors, but the figures were much lower with the corresponding Core i7-10700 (just 5%) and Core i5-10600 (2%) models.

So at least going by these stats from MSI, your chances of getting a Core i7 or i5 with good overclocking potential would seem to be very slim indeed, but we've reached out to Intel for comment anyways. The better news is that when it came to C-grade CPUs, percentages were pretty uniform at 27%, 32% and 31% for Core i9, i7 and i5 chips respectively.

Making the grade

In other words, while you may be much less likely to get an A-grade chip with Core i7 and i5 offerings, you will likely hit B-grade, and there is no greater chance of getting a C-grade affair; at least according to these findings.

Note that even with these supposedly C-grade processors, there should be absolutely no danger that it won’t perform to its advertised base specs as mentioned – these chips are just going to be an underwhelming proposition when it comes to overclocking.

As the folks from MSI observed, those buying higher-end Comet Lake CPUs will likely find them to be a much more suitable proposition for overclocking, but that makes sense in terms of Intel using the best silicon for the most expensive chips. And of course those buying Core i9 processors are likely to be the ones going for high-end motherboards, hefty cooling solutions and big overclocks anyway.

Via Tom’s Hardware

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).