Intel Core i9-10900F power requirements leaked – and you’ll need a beefy CPU cooler

Intel Comet Lake
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel’s Core i9-10900 is a power-hungry beast of a processor which will need a seriously powerful cooling solution, if the latest from the rumor mill turns out to be correct.

For the uninitiated, this may be the 10-core flagship CPU of the Comet Lake range which the chip giant is supposedly ready to reveal at the end of April.

We’ve already heard speculation concerning Intel’s alleged struggles to get the power demands of this processor under control (which indeed may be part of the puzzle when it comes to the delay of Comet Lake), and a post on Twitter seemingly underlines the situation here.

Assuming the details posted on Weibo are correct – pinches of condiments handy, as ever – what we see is the Core i9-10900F (F means there’s no integrated GPU) flooring it in a stress test scenario, with an all-core boost of 4.6GHz, drawing 224W in terms of PL2 (‘power level 2’, or power usage under Turbo).

As PC Gamer points out, this is well in excess of the PL2 rating of the current-gen Core i9-9900KS, which hits 5GHz across 8-cores while pulling just over 170W.

What’s perhaps even more of an eye-opener is that this 170W figure is the PL1 rating for the 10900, meaning that it’s the power consumption under normal usage (outside of short-term boosts, which can’t be sustained).

Ryzen rules for efficiency

If you bring AMD’s far more efficient Ryzen 3rd-gen CPUs in for comparison, matters look even worse, with the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X flagship toting 16-cores – over 50% more than Intel’s Comet Lake kingpin – and hitting around 145W when under full load.

The power-efficiency gap is shaping up to be nothing less than startling at this point, but this is no big surprise given that Intel is having to continue to try and get the most out of its long-in-the-tooth 14nm process, an increasingly difficult endeavor.

The suggestion is that the Core i9-10900 will need a seriously beefy cooler to ensure you’re getting anything like the best out of it, and PC Gamer mentions a 240mm liquid cooling solution. Arguably, anyone spending the money to purchase this Comet Lake 10-core flagship – it doubtless won’t come cheap – will likely to be looking to fork out for one of the best CPU coolers, anyway.

But nonetheless, if these leaked details prove to be on the money, there’s no two ways about it: Intel is driving things worryingly high with its 10-core chip’s power demands. And what we’ve heard on the laptop CPU front about the powerful Core i9-10980HK, and what it might do to battery life, is no more comforting, either.

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).