Intel Comet Lake Processor Lineup Launches: Includes First 6-Core U-Series Part
New Mobile SKUs Include First 6-Core U-Series Processor
Intel officially launched 10nm “Ice Lake” mobile processors on August 1st, and today they are adding eight new 14nm “Comet Lake” SKUs to the 10th Gen lineup slated to ship by holiday 2019.
The new 10th Gen Intel Core processors range from Intel Core i3 to Intel Core i7 and feature:
- Up to 6 cores and 12 threads
- Up to 4.9 GHz max turbo frequency
- Up to 12MB Intel Smart Cache
- Configurable up to 25W for maximum performance (U-series)
- Configurable down to 4.5W for 4-core fanless designs (Y-series)
- Up to 1.15 GHz graphics frequency
- LPDDR4x, LPDDR3, DDR4 memory speed increase to 2666 MT/s
With these new Comet Lake mobile parts Intel is addressing performance improvements to general productivity as well as scaling up to the demands of multi-threaded workloads; and doing this while conforming to constraints of thin-and-light and 2-in-1 laptop designs.
“Earlier this month, Intel launched the first products in 10th Gen Intel Core processor family, which were developed on the 10nm process technology and focus on bringing high-performance artificial intelligence (AI) to the PC at scale, a big leap forward in graphics performance and best-in-class connectivity. The new processors introduced today share the same leading platform connectivity, while expanding the family with processors for scaling performance and frequencies for modern productivity workloads. The result is a complete family of processors that complement each other, giving people choices for what usages matter most to them and re-imagining the possibilities of a modern laptop experience.”
Intel Comet Lake Brings More Cores/Threads to the U-Series
Though still based on the Skylake architecture we should still see improvements to IPC (instruction per clock) with Comet Lake to help set them apart from Coffee Lake in single-threaded tasks. Intel is promising “double-digit performance gains compared to the previous generation”, and one decidedly non-trivial aspect of this comparison to existing parts is core count, as Intel’s double-digit claim specifically compares the Core i7-8565U (4c/8t) to the new 6-core Core i7-10710U.
In fact this Core i7-10710U is Intel’s first 6-core U-series processor, bringing higher multi-threaded performance down to a (configurable) 15W/25W TDP. Previously the only available 6-core/12-thread mobile parts were the Coffee Lake-H CPUs, which were intended for larger form-factors with their 45W TDP (though Apple did force them into the MacBook Pro with mixed results).
Intel Comet Lake and Ice Lake Differences
While there are improvements to the CPU architecture from both Ice Lake and Comet Lake, along with higher core counts for these newly announced mobile parts, one thing you may have noticed in the slide above listing Comet Lake SKUs is the lack of Iris Pro graphics with these new parts, as the new Gen11 graphics are currently exclusive to the 10nm Ice Lake lineup.
Memory speeds are also lower with this new lineup, with Ice Lake configurable up to LPDDR4x-3733 or DDR4-3200, and Comet Lake limited to LPDDR4x-2933 and DDR4-2666. The importance of higher memory speeds sans Iris Pro graphics is debatable, of course, and we will likely see discrete GPU solutions in thin-and-light workstations using these Comet Lake parts.
Comet Lake offers the same level of high-speed connectivity integration as Ice Lake, including Thunderbolt 3 and Wi-Fi 6, and supports Optane Memory H10 with Solid State Storage.
A notable difference between Ice Lake and Comet Lake, and one which may perplex shoppers comparing specs this holiday season, is the continuing evolution of Intel’s Processor Numbers. The nomenclature, while not exactly indecipherable (as demonstrated in the slide below), is nonetheless a bit elaborate for the average laptop shopper.
Intel Comet Lake: 10th Gen at 14nm
The launch of additional 10th Gen parts at 14nm might raise a few eyebrows, and Intel seems to have addressed this in their press release for Comet Lake:
“The new 10th Gen Intel Core processors leverage the improvements in intra-node optimizations on Intel’s highly optimized 14nm process technology that enable up to 16% overall performance gains and over 41% better productivity and multitasking on Microsoft Office 365 compared with the previous generation — all without compromising battery life.”
While in the end performance and battery life are paramount in a laptop, certainly there was very little fanfare about the process technology of these Comet Lake SKUs. Still, bringing 6c/12t performance to 25W and under TDPs and hitting some of the clock speeds we see from this lineup (up to 4.9 GHz) might assuage any fears about cutting-edge performance on the older process node.
Intel Comet Lake Availability
As to availability of these new Comet Lake parts, Intel says that “more than 90 additional designs based on the 10th Gen Intel Core processor family will hit the shelves for the holiday season”. It sounds as if we can expect a veritable deluge of new laptop models between Ice Lake and Comet Lake by December.