Skip to main content

Intel’s newest 10th-gen chips bring blazing 5.3GHz speed, trail AMD in cores

Intel has launched a new series of laptop processors, the 10th-gen Comet Lake-H chips. These are 45-watt CPUs meant for gaming laptops and powerful content creation machines.

This comes hot on the heels of an aggressive attack from its rival, AMD. The company’s new Ryzen 4000 laptop processors bring eight-core, sixteen-thread power to laptops as small as the new Zephyrus G14. It’s impressive.

The headlining features are a new eight-core Core i7 and a monster Core i9 with turbo speeds of up to 5.3GHz. Is this enough to take back the momentum from AMD?

Comet Lake-H Specs

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Intel’s H-series processors are some of the most important chips in their lineup. Whether it’s a gaming laptop like a Razer Blade or a content creation device like the Dell XPS 15, it likely has one of these chips at its heart.

Intel expects over 100 designs to use Comet Lake-H chips this year, which includes over 30 laptops that are under 0.78 inches thick.

Here’s how the lineup of H-series chips looks this year:

Cores/Threads Base clock Turbo frequencies


Cache TDP
Intel Core i9-10980HK 8/16 2.4GHz 5.3GHz 16MB 45w
Intel Core i7-10875H 8/16 2.3GHz 5.1GHz 16MB 45w
Intel Core i7-10850H 6/12 2.7GHz 5.1GHz 12MB 45w
Intel Core i7-10750H 6/12 2.6GHz 5.0GHz 12MB 45w
Intel Core i5-10400H 4/8 2.6GHz 4.6GHz 8MB 45w
Intel Core i5-10300H 4/8 2.6GHz 4.5GHz 8MB 45w

The first eight-core Core i9 was released in 2019, and an eight-core Core i9 is once again at the top of the stack. Its headline feature is the 5.3GHz turbo frequency. This is a big jump over last year’s Core i9, which topped out at 4.9GHz. In terms of clock speed, it’s even faster than the latest 9900K and 9900KS desktop parts.

Intel is using its TVB (Thermal Velocity Boost) 3.0 for short bursts of clocked-up frequencies. These speeds aren’t meant to be sustained, but are made for quick, bursty workloads like photo editing, or loading certain games. With TVB 2.0, the feature was reserved for the Core i9 parts, but this year, it has been extended to the Core i7 chips as well.

What about all-core turbo? Intel has downplayed its sustained all-core clock speeds in recent generations, and that hasn’t changed in Comet Lake-H. An Intel representative did mention the Core i9 chip can boost to 4.4GHz with all cores activated.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The previous mobile Core i9 was a popular choice in laptops like the 16-inch MacBook Pro and Dell XPS 15, machines meant for content creation that can use those extra cores. Historically, it has been avoided by gaming laptops. But this year, Intel has renamed its locked Core i9 as the Core i7-10875H. It has the same clock speed, core count, and cache size as the last year’s Core i9-9980H. Intel is aligning its chips with AMD’s eight-core lineup, which includes a Ryzen 9 4900H and Ryzen 7 4800H.

It should be noted that while Intel is stressing its high single-core boost speeds, the Ryzen chips offer higher base clocks. The Ryzen 9 4900H sits at 3.3GHz and the Ryzen 7 4900H at 2.9GHz.

Further down the stack, Intel’s lineup is familiar, with two six-core Core i7s and two four-core Core i5s. These processors get the same 8% uptick in boost clocks, and a minor bump in base clock. AMD’s respective Ryzen 5 chip has two more cores, four more threads, and a higher 3.0GHz base clock speed.


Intel’s briefing didn’t focus much on comparisons against AMD, or even Intel’s own 9th-gen chips. Rather, the company focused on the performance benefits for a buyer looking to upgrade their three-year-old laptop. Intel boasts up to 54% better game performance, two times faster 4K video renders, and 44% better overall performance.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why show these changes? Well, Intel deduces the people most likely to buy a gaming laptop in 2020 are upgrading from at least a three-year-old PC. These numbers also include the vast increase in graphics capabilities, which Intel is not responsible for.

Intel says it expects Comet Lake-H to provide a double-digit percentage increase over last year’s chips. It wasn’t specific on what types of workloads or games would deliver that degree of improvement.

Clock speeds are often limited by each laptop’s thermal restrictions and chassis design, meaning many often don’t hit the speeds Intel quotes. Intel did mention that this year over 60% of Core i9 models would be able to hit at least the 5.0GHz threshold.


Comet Lake-H is the successor to the 9th-gen Coffee Lake-H chips that shipped in 2019 laptops.

Intel no longer likes to mention what process node its chips use, happily branding everything new as “10th-generation.” These Comet Lake-H chips are, however, are based on the 14nm process the company has used for many years now.

Comet Lake first debuted in 2019 with its U chips for small laptops. Confusingly, it was launched alongside Intel’s flashier 10nm Ice Lake processors under the same branding of “10th-generation.” Intel continues to push 10nm in lower-powered devices with its second iteration (Tiger Lake) set for later this year.

Intel’s 10nm process equates roughly to the 7nm chips AMD already uses. Smaller nodes mean more transistors, which should, in theory, allow for higher clock speeds and more efficiency throughout.

On desktop and H-series laptops, Comet Lake continues to use 14nm. Currently, Comet Lake desktop chips are rumored to extend up to ten cores and twenty threads.

Intel won’t move to 10nm in 2020 on these platforms, but we are expecting them to launch under codename Alder Lake in late 2021 or early 2022.

Four Thunderbolt 3 ports on Windows

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The MacBook Pro has long enjoyed the use of four Thunderbolt 3 ports. That feature is now coming to Windows laptops too, exclusively with Intel’s 10th-gen Comet Lake-H chips.

Intel has done this by supporting two separate Thunderbolt controllers, with two ports each. In the past, Windows laptops were limited to just two.

This isn’t a change you’ll likely see in gaming laptops, but you can expect content creation devices to follow Apple’s lead. The days of HDMI and USB-A are numbered.

Faster memory, Wi-Fi 6, and more

Intel’s new Comet Lake-H chips support faster dual-channel DDR4 memory at 2,933MHz. Ryzen 4000 chips support even faster 3,200MHz DDR4 RAM.

All 10th-gen Comet Lake H processors feature integrated Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) support, which Intel first introduced in 2019. Gig+ promises around 75% lower latency, three times faster downloads, and twice the bandwidth. These benefits require a Wi-Fi 6 router to fully take advantage of the new standard.

Intel also announced a new one-click overclocking interface called Intel Speed Optimizer. This is only available in the unlocked Core i9-10980HK.

Release date

Laptops that include 10th-gen Comet Lake H processors will be available for pre-order starting now, with the first systems shipping on April 15.

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Larsen
Senior Editor, Computing
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
Intel 12th-gen Alder Lake hits unbelievable frame rates in leaked benchmark
Promotional image of an Intel Core processor.

An early sample of Intel's unreleased 12th-gen Alder Lake-S processor for desktop was spotted in a benchmark for the game Dota 2. The desktop processor was configured with 32GB of DDR5 memory, according to the benchmark data, running at 4,800MHz, and the system was equipped with Nvidia's discrete GeForce RTX 3080 graphics.

According to benchmark data, the overall rig clocked in just shy of 120 frames per second on the game, with frame rates topping 549 fps at the highest and hitting just below 47 fps at the lowest. The high performance shows that, despite earlier speculations, Alder Lake will in fact be suitable for enthusiasts and high-end gaming. Intel's use of heterogeneous cores on the platform's hybrid architecture design had led some to speculate that the processor may not work for AAA gaming, but this appears not to be the case, according to HotHardware.

Read more
Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake desktops may have a new release date
Promotional image of an Intel Core processor.

Intel's 12th Gen Alder Lake-S platform could arrive on your desktop by the holidays. The chipmaker has told its partners that 10nm Alder Lake-S could launch in November, Wccftech reported, noting that the timeline could change. The platform featuring up to 16 cores and 24 threads was previewed earlier this year at the virtual CES conference, and it's unclear if the global semiconductor shortage will still have an impact on Alder Lake's expected November launch. Intel previously stated that chip supplies will remain constrained into 2022.

Alder Lake introduces big changes to Intel's processor architecture design. With Alder Lake, Intel is using a heterogenous core design, mixing big Sunny Cove cores with smaller Gracemont cores. Intel's change mirrors what Arm has been doing for smartphones and tablets for years, and the move is expected to boost performance while also driving power efficiency by combining high-efficiency cores with high-performance cores.

Read more
Intel teases up to 230-frames-per-second gaming on upcoming 11th-gen laptops
intel 11th gen h series 230 fps teaser video gaming laptops

In a new video post on Twitter, Intel teased that its 11th-generation H-series mobile processors will be arriving soon in new gaming laptops. The chip-maker said that its upcoming 11th-generation Core i9 H-series mobile processor was "built to hit frame rates like no other." The H-series mobile CPU was initially announced earlier this year at CES 2021 but has been limited to 35-watt chips in smaller gaming laptops.

In the video, Intel showed that its Core H-series silicon on an ultrathin gaming laptop was able to achieve frame rates in excess of 230 frames per second -- up to 238 fps in certain scenes. However, Twitter users were quick to point out that Intel may have selected scenes in the game to help it achieve better frame rates.

Read more