Intel’s 10th generation of Desktop CPUs, dubbed ‘Comet Lake’, are coming out next year. The entire CPU lineup was leaked a couple of weeks ago. The leak promised up to 10 cores, 20 threads, an 80W TDP, a W480 chipset and a new LGA 1200 socket. All of the Comet Lake SKUs will also be supporting multi-threading.

In this article, we will try to cover all of this and more that we know about Intel’s upcoming Comet Lake desktop CPUs.

Before we move on to the details, let us start with a quick list of all the things that the 10th generation Comet Lake CPUs are promising to deliver:

The lineup that was leaked last week consisted of seven segments: Core i9, Core i7, Core i5, Core i3, Pentium, Celeron and Xeon W. The CPUs with 10 and 8 cores will be based on the Comet Lake-S 10+2 wafer. The others will be based on the Comet Lake-S 6+ 2 wafer.

There have been a lot of rumors floating around about the performance capability of the Comet Lake S CPUs. Leaked slides from Intel show that in multi-threaded compute workloads, the next gen Comet Lake S family of CPUs perform 18% better than their predecessors. The slides also show that in regular Windows based work, the 10th gen processors perform 8% better than the 9th gen CPUs.

This isn’t exactly a comfortable time for Intel. Competition is heating up with AMD. The latter is releasing a new 16-core mainstream desktop CPU, the Ryzen 9 3950X later this month along with a couple of third generation Ryzen Threadrippers. And while it is clear that the Threadrippers are HEDT CPUs and won’t be competing with Intel’s Comet Lake CPUs, the problem of the Ryzen 9 3950X is challenging for Intel. The 16-core monster has been going head-on with high-end Intel CPUs such as the 18-core Core i9-9980XE. The 3950X has been given a pricetag of $750 dollars. Compare that with the i9-9980XE’s $2000 pricetag and you’ll see exactly how much of a pickle Intel are in.

The reason behind the massive success of AMD’s third generation Ryzen series is has been the Zen 2 architecture. In Zen 2, the CPU cores and the I/O components are fabricated separately, the former using TSMC’s 7nm process whereas the latter using GlobalFoundries’ 12nm process. These two are then held together by Infinity Fabric.This has in turn helped AMD vastly improve on the performance of their CPUs without a big hike in price.

With all this in mind, the only choice left for Intel would be to implement a massive cut in the price tag of the upcoming CPUs. So, at this point it is fairly certain that Intel’s next gen ‘Comet Lake’ desktop CPUs will be priced significantly lower than their predecessors.

As of now, Intel hasn’t made any official statements regarding the release of the next gen desktop CPUs. But all signs seem to point at a release date of 2020. Intel launched low power mobile Comet Lake CPUs earlier in August. But we are certain we will not be seeing any desktop CPU of this new generation until next year.

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Late in September this year, it was reported that Intel had registered the 10th Gen Comet Lake CPUswith the Eurasion Economic Commission (EEC). This SDP (Software Development Platform) registration usually means that Intel must be close to releasing the CPUs. There seems to be an exception with the Comet Lake CPUs however, as there is no sign of them being released in 2019.

One of the key sidenotes on the next generation of Intel processors is their compatibility. Intel will be using a new socket for their Comet Lake CPUs. The LGA 1200 socket will be the same size as  the LGA 1151 socket. But keying in the socket has been shifted, which is why Comet Lake CPUs will not be compatible (neither mechanically nor electrically) with Coffee Lake motherboards. According to Intel, the new socket will improve power delivery and will also support all future incremental I/O features.

Intel is also reportedly planning to release several new chipsets within the 400-series family. These include the Z490 (for the ‘K’ unlocked SKUs), the Q470 (for high end Intel vPro), the W480 (for entry level workstations) and the H410 (the entry level option).  The H410 chipset will feature a very cut down design which means it will not be pin-compatible with the Q470 or the W480 chipsets.

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