Of course, there’s no guarantee any of these new processors will hit those boost clocks. Turbo Boost Max and Thermal Velocity Boost will help, along with some good old-fashioned overclocking, but only one of Intel’s latest mobile processors will be totally unlocked—the Core i9-10980HK, which makes sense since it’s the highest-end mobile processor, but there isn’t an ‘H’ version, a partially unlocked CPU, as there was in the previous 9th generation. Instead, the middle 6-core/12-thread Core i7 is partially unlocked. What the heck does it mean to be partially unlocked, anyway?
While Turbo Boost Max and Thermal Velocity Boost are like temporary overclocks, having a CPU fully unlocked means you can overclock one or all cores to consistently run at a higher frequency. If you have a partially unlocked CPU, that means the OEM can set the frequency higher if they want, but it will vary by device, and the OEM might not even say if they did do that or not. With Intel’s 9th-gen mobile processors, OEMs could set the partially clocked CPUs up to 400 MHz higher than the boost clock, which would mean that a Core i7-9850H could theoretically reach up to 5.0 GHz. If OEMs choose do that this time around with the Core i7-10850H, they might be able to reach up to 5.5 GHz. Again, this will extremely dependent on the individual laptop. Your thinner and smaller laptops probably won’t be capable of overclocking like that as they’ll get too hot too quickly.
Keeping all that in mind, it seems like Intel is working hard to retain the title of ‘best computer processors,’ but that doesn’t mean AMD’s Ryzen 9 4000-series are something to overlook. They do have lower boost clocks, but higher base clocks, and they are faster than Intel’s Core i9 9th-gen mobile processors. (PC World has a nice, synthetic benchmark breakdown, if benchmarks are your thing.) If you want something faster at an equal or slightly lower price, AMD is the way to go. However, Intel seems one step ahead with its high-end 10th-gen mobile CPUs. Hopefully we’ll get our hands on some laptops to test s
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