Intel 10th-gen Comet Lake: Everything we know so far

Comet Lake is Intel's second round of 10th-gen processors. Here's what to know

Intel has had a rough go of things in 2019, facing stiff competition from AMD’s new Ryzen 3000 processors and Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 8cx. But it’s ready to swing back hard with its next range of processors, starting with mobile in 2019. The new 10th-gen Comet Lake chips will increase core counts, clock speeds, and more, to help Intel maintain its competitive edge while we await die shrunk chips in the years to come.

If you’re interested in buying a new Intel CPU, these are the best ones out there right now.

Availability and pricing

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Intel has pledged as many as 85 different laptops sporting Comet Lake chips will be released before the end of the year, but so far there are only a handful of options that are close to making their debut. We’d hold out for 2020 if you want the greatest spread of options.

That’s probably what you’ll have to do if you want to upgrade on desktop too, as Intel has been cagey about Comet Lake release dates on that platform. Fortunately, a leaked desktop roadmap that appeared online in July 2019, showed that Intel plans to debut Comet Lake in Q1 2020, at the earliest. It was also slated to maintain its relevance in the desktop space in Q2. The rest of the year wasn’t mentioned in the roadmap. It may just be where that particular roadmap ended, or maybe Intel then plans to bring its 10nm Ice Lake CPUs to desktop in the latter-half of 2020.

As for pricing, it will likely run the gamut. The roadmap suggests that Comet Lake will replace the entire desktop CPU stack, from Core i3-9100, right through Core i9-9900K, so we expect prices to range from around $100, all the way up to $500. That’s backed up by other leaked information, though we aren’t certain that slide is entirely accurate yet.

Architecture

Both desktop and mobile lineups of Comet Lake processors are based on the same underlying architecture. This isn’t the 10nm, Sunny Cove design that powers Intel’s Ice Lake CPUs, but more of what has become typically Intel, at this point. Like several generations that went before it, Comet Lake will be based on a 14nm process node, though a further enhanced one to allow for some performance improvements over its eighth and ninth-generation counterparts.

These chips will need a new chipset, which will be known as the 400-series. That brings with it a number of feature improvements like Thunderbolt 3 technology; more advanced, energy-efficient standby; Wi-Fi 6 support; Bluetooth 5 support, and support for USB 3.2.

Mobile Comet Lake

Intel has made an official announcement with regards to Comet Lake mobile, giving us a much better idea of what to expect from laptops equipped with the new chips. Like their desktop counterparts, they too will support exciting new connectivity options thanks to the new chipset, as well as enhanced boost algorithms and increased core-counts. 

The mainstream Comet Lake mobile CPUs will be Intel’s U-Series range, which has the following line up and specifications:

  Cores/Threads Graphics (execution units) Cache Base clock Boost clock (single-core) Boost clock (all-core) TDP
Intel Core i7-10710U 6/12 24 12MB 1.1GHz 4.7GHz 1.15GHz 15w/25w
Intel Core i7-10510U 4/8 24 8MB 1.8GHz 4.9GHz 1.15GHz 15w/25w
Intel Core i5-10210U 4/8 24 6MB 1.6GHz 4.2GHz 1.10GHz 15w/25w
Intel Core i3-10110U 2/4 23 4MB 2.1GHz 4.1GHz 1.00GHz 15w/25w

Most of these chips are to be expected from a new generation of Intel mobile CPUs, but the Core i7-10710U is an intriguing addition. With six cores and 12 threads, it’s by far the most capable multithreaded processor in the lineup. Its boost clock and base clock do suffer a little, however, suggesting that in some scenarios, the Core i7-10510U could be the more capable chip.

The rest of the range has analogs in the previous generation of Whiskey Lake processors and merely receives small clock speed bumps for a slight performance increase.

For more energy efficient devices, Intel’s Y-Series will pick up the slack, offering more modest core counts and clock speeds, at a much lower power and thermal requirement:

  Cores/Threads Graphics (execution units) Cache Base clock Boost clock (single-core) Boost clock (all-core) TDP
Intel Core i7-10510Y 4/8 24 8MB 1.2GHz 4.5GHz 3.2GHz 4.5w/7w/9w
Intel Core i5-10310Y 4/8 24 6MB 1.1GHz 4.1GHz 2.8GHz 5.5w/7w/9w
Intel Core i5-10210Y 4/8 24 6MB 1.0GHz 4.0GHz 2.7GHz 4.5w/7w/9w
Intel Core i3-10110Y 2/4 24 4MB 1.0GHz 4.0GHz 3.7GHz 5.5w/7w/9w

Typically Y-series CPUs have been locked at two cores, but this time around Intel offers a number of quad-core options with specifications not too dissimilar to its recent Ice Lake chips. These will still be 14nm, however, and lack the high-end, 11th generation graphics that Ice Lake chips enjoy.

These should still be plenty capable for their size and form, though. Four cores and eight-threads at just 4.5w is an exciting prospect.

Desktop Comet Lake

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Intel hasn’t officially announced Come Lake desktop specifications, but we do have a leaked slide which suggests an expansive and capable lineup. We wouldn’t take them as gospel, but we can cross reference some elements with the leaked roadmap to highlight points that are likely to be correct. Thanks to the leaked roadmap details, we know that Comet Lake will offer up to 10 cores and 20 threads, with a new and enhanced Turbo Boost algorithm for higher and more sustained clock speeds.

TDP numbers seem off, however, as the leaked roadmap suggests that the top chip will have a TDP of 125w — that’s 30w higher than even the 9900K and much closer to Intel’s HEDT chips. This may be due to Intel being more accurate with the TDP of its chips when boosting, but it may be that we’re looking at a 5GHz+ 10-core CPU that is just exceedingly power hungry. More mainstream processors will have 65w and 35w TDPs.

TechPowerUp is convinced that we’ll see hyperthreading on even Core i5 CPUs this generation, to try to close the multithreaded performance gap with AMD. We will also see an enhanced version of ninth-generation graphics on these chips, named the UHD 700-series. That won’t be as capable as the 11th-series we’ve seen with Ice Lake CPUs, however.

All K-series Comet Lake processors will support new core and memory overclocking, but every Comet Lake CPU will move to a new socket design: LGA 1200. That means that you’ll need to buy a new motherboard if you want to upgrade to Intel’s new desktop CPUs in 2020.

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