What’s New: Intel 10th Generation “Comet lake-S” Desktop CPUs.

Intel 10th Generation "Comet Lake-S" processors are looking good but no new things, all are old stuff with little improvements.

Intel launched its 10th generation “comet lake” desktop CPUs and 400 Series chipset to power the new processors. All the processors from core i9 to Pentium are now hyper-threaded, except Celeron. Intel had skipped hyperthreading from most of the CPU from the last few generations and in the previous 9th generation Intel totally removed SMT from all core i3,i5,i7, and introduced new line-up Core i9 with hyperthreading, which had made no sense. The new processors are based on “Comet Lake” microarchitecture, all the core design and its IPC are identical to old gen “Skylake”. Fabricated in the 14nm process node but in the advanced form of 14nm++, support of PCI Express 3.0 and iGPU is unchanged still intel’s UHD graphics 630 and 610 are being used.

Now it’s not all old stuff in the new package, Intel has changed many things here. Intel launched its first 10 Core processor Core i9 in consumer-grade and Intel Claimed that the core i9-10900K Processor is the world’s fastest gaming processor in which speeds reaching up to a maximum of 5.3 GHz with Intel Thermal Velocity Boost out of the box. Intel did the significant enhancements to the processor’s clock-speed, increased the core/thread counts, improved the boosting algorithm, and added some new features that could attract the enthusiasts and overclockers. To run the new CPU new LGA1200 socket 400 Series motherboard is required, no backward compatibility to any 300 chipset motherboard. But any LGA115X socket cooler can be used in the new LGA1200 Socket. Memory support is weird here, Core i9 and Core i7 support DDR4 2933 MHz memory whereas Core i5 and below all supports DDR4 2666 MHz memory.

Let’s talk about the processors. Core i9-10900K is 10 core/20 thread part, base frequency is 3.7 GHz and max turbo up to 5.3 GHz in single-core with Intel thermal velocity boost technology. Turbo Boost 3.0 max provides up to 5.2 GHz and Turbo boost 2.0 max provides up to 5.1 GHz in single-core and 4.8 GHz in all core. TDP values are,125W for unlocked processors and 65W for locked processors. There also an “F” variant without Integrated GPU, Core i9-10900KF which is cheaper than i9-10900K, both the CPUs are unlocked for further overclocking. Core i9-10900 is locked but has the iGPU and i9-10900F is also locked but also does not have iGPU. Total, there are 4 SKUs under Core i9.

Core i7-10700K has 8 core/16 thread, base frequency is 3.8 GHz and max boost frequency is 5.1 GHz. Core i7-10700K is a rebranded Core i9-9900K. There are a total of four SKUs under core i7. Core i7-10700K, 10700KF, both the CPU is unlocked and 10700KF lacks iGPU. Core i7-10700, 10700F both CPUs are locked but Core i7-10700F lacks iGPU. TDP values are 125W for unlocked processors, and 65W for locked processors.  

All Core i5 10th generation processors are hyperthreaded, features 6 core/12 threads. TDP of K and KF variants are 125W and all others have 65W. There are a total of 6 SKUs of core i5. Core i5-10600K, 10600KF, 10600, 10500, 10400, 10400F. Core i5 is a good balance between performance and price for the average consumers or gamers, like the budget-friendly core i5-10400F.

This time Core i3 line up doesn’t have any unlocked CPU, which nobody cares about in this segment. All core i3-10320, 10300, 10100 has 4 core/8 thread and iGPU. New 10th generation core i3’s specs (especially 10320) are very similar to the 7th Gen Core i7 series processors. 10th Gen Pentium Gold which has 2 Core/4 Thread and 2 core/2 Thread Celeron also launched

What’s New

So overall the new 10th Generation “Comet Lake” processors are not very new and many things are unchanged from the past few generations like microarchitecture, IPC (though, the frequency is improved) even process node is the same 14nm. As we all know Intel is struggling hard with their 10nm parts. So, there are few things listed below that Intel has done to the CPUs.

Intel Hyperthreading Technology: Intel Hyperthreading Technology: Now across 10th Gen Intel Core i9 to i3 processors all are hyperthreaded. prior, Intel had removed hyperthreading from most of the CPUs and reserved the hyperthreading for top tier CPUs. but now entire core i9, i7, i5, i3, and Pentium CPU has hyperthreading Enabled, Which enhanced the efficiency of the processors.

Different Turbo Boost Technology: Intel worked very hard to their different turbo boost algorithm to achieve the higher clock speed out of the box. Turbo Boost 2.0: This is the most basic boosting technology, available across all 10th gen Core i9, Core i7, Core i5, and Core i3 CPUs.

Turbo Boost MAX 3.0 is now available on 10th Gen Core i9 and Core i7 CPUs. Turbo boost 3.0 identifies the best performing cores to provide increased performance.

Thermal Velocity Boost is available on 10th Gen Core i9 CPUs which gives the frequency beyond the turbo boost max 3.0 but here is one condition, CPU’s temperature must be 70 degrees or lower and turbo power limit must be available. The frequency gain duration is depending on the workload, capabilities of the individual processor, and cooling solution. Frequencies may reduce over time and longer workload may start at the max frequency but the frequency drops as processor temperature increases.

Enhanced Core and memory overclocking: Now we can Enable or disable hyperthreading from any individual core. There is an option to set hyperthreading on a per-core basis, not fully disables or enabled. PCI Express bus and DMI overclocking, as of now, not very sure how it will work but this time overclockers are getting many things to tweak. Enhanced voltage/frequency curve controls, Intel is updating extreme tuning utility alongside these processors, which lets you set the voltage at individual frequencies, for much finer control of overclocking parameters.

Improves thermal Performance:  Intel has provided thick IHS and made the die thin to remain in the same height specs. This should increase the heat transfer rate and TIM is also soldered.

The new 10th Generations processors may be more power-hungry as well as can do the more heat output than ever. Intel still uses the 14nm process node, due to that the power efficiency of the CPUs is not enough, resulting in high TDP. New LGA1200 Socket Z490 motherboards feature 8+4 pin EPS (CPU power) input configuration and the higher-end boards even have dual 8-pin EPS setups, these extra pins provide more power to CPU when needed for high performance. The better cooling solution will be required to provide adequate good temperature to the CPUs and the thermal velocity boost also requires a good temperature. And maybe old cooler, especially small ones, will not work adequately for high-end CPUs.  

Intel is aggressive for the price and all the new processors are at the same price as the last generation. The Core i9-10900K is priced at $488, i9-10900KF price is $472, a little cheaper than the “K” variant. The core i7-10700K priced at $374, i7-10700KF price is $349, Core i5-10600K priced at $262 and the i5-10400F price is $157. Intel Core i5-9400F is been very popular because of the affordability and the performance, we are getting. This time at the same price point we are getting core i5-10400F with hyperthreading. Core i3-10320 priced at $154, i3-10100 price is $122. Indian prices are not available yet, will update soon.

Intel 400 Series Chipset

New Z490 Chipset is launched for the new 10th Generation Core processors. Z490 Chipset is built on the 14nm process. It supports 6-port SATA 6 Gbps AHCI/RAID controller, 4-port USB 3.2 gen 2 controllers with Gen 2 x2 (20 Gbps) capability up to 12 USB 3.2 gen 1 (5 Gbps) ports, and HD Audio bus with Intel Smart Sound (low-power audio encoding/decoding) capability which lets you issue voice commands to your PC even in standby mode. One integrated MAC for either an i225-V “Foxville” 2.5 GbE or cheaper i219-V “Jacksonville” 1 GbE controller. The chipset also comes with preparation for the Intel AX201 WLAN card over the CNVi interface (802.11ax Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5). More 400 series motherboard will arrive, like H410, B460, and H470 sooner or later.

Socket LGA1200 and Z490 chipset are connected over DMI 3.0. It offers 24 PCI Express 3.0 lanes with 16 PEG lanes from processors so a total of 40 lanes. Motherboard designers utilize this PCIe lane budget to deploy up to three M.2 NVMe slots, and several high-bandwidth devices such as additional USB 3.2 host controllers, Thunderbolt 3 controllers, 10 GbE networking, etc.

Availability of the new 10th generation core desktop processors and Z490 motherboards will be available from all retail channels and online partners worldwide from May–June 2020.

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