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Intel Publishes 10th-gen Core Turbo Power Limits and Tau Timing Values

Intel has published the official Tau times and exact power limits of their 10th-gen Core CPUs based on the Comet Lake architecture. While Tau times and Power Limits have been around for a while, they were never much in the public eye due to less cores managing to fit in their target TDPs but that changed once Intel started cramming more cores into their dies.  We’ve reviewed both Core i9 10900K and Core i7 10700K and have noted motherboard behavior playing a role in how performance should be properly read from these CPUs. Intel is employing Power Limits to dictate performance targets with Turbo as well the target base clocks of the CPUs.  PL1 can be summarized as the same as the TDP of the CPU while Power Limit 2 or PL2 is the TDP that the CPU will try to meet for its boost clocks. The amount of time that a CPU will spend in PL2 is known as Tau and given the perfect conditions of temperature and power, the CPU can use up its entire Tau time for a certain task before dropping to PL1.

These values can be overridden by motherboards and most often top-end boards will ignore Tau times and implement a permanent Boost TDP for the CPU.

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BossMac Suba

Owner and lead reviewer for Back2Gaming. More than 10-year of corporate IT experience as well as consumer IT journalism. His extensive skill set and experience in communicating complicated technical details into easily understandable bits. He's been with you since dial-up and the ISA slot. His favorite animal is the scapegoat.

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