Earlier this month, Intel detailed its 10th-generation 'Ice Lake' CPUs, its 10nm chips for laptops and ultrabooks, after years of delays. But if you thought that that meant that all of the 10th generation will be 10nm, you'd be wrong. In fact, if you thought that that was the end of the story for just ultrabooks, you'd be wrong on that front as well.
Today, the chip manufacturer introduced its Comet Lake lineup, 14nm processors from the U-series and the Y-series. Indeed, these 14nm chips are going to sit right next to Ice Lake in the 10th-generation family of mobile processors.
Of course, Intel knows that having two completely different families of processors in the 10th-gen U-series and Y-series will be confusing, so they're going to be named differently. You might recall that with Ice Lake, the product names no longer have the 'U' or 'Y' suffix, as it's been replaced by 'G1', 'G4', and 'G7', indicating graphics power. Comet Lake will use the old naming scheme that we're all familiar with, such as Core i7-10710U and Core i5-10510Y.
Intel says that Comet Lake is primarily aimed at productivity - although sources have told me that the 14nm lineup is due to supply issues with the 10nm chips - promising up to 16% better overall performance than Whiskey Lake and up to 41% better Office 365 performance. One key difference is that these CPUs all include Intel UHD Graphics, rather than the more powerful Iris Plus graphics that are built into Ice Lake. Another key difference is that the Core i7 goes up to six cores in the U-series for the first time.
As was the case with Ice Lake as well, some of the biggest improvements come from the Y-series, which is built for fanless PCs and has historically offered poor performance. The Core i5 and i7 models are now quad-core with eight threads, and they offer a 7W TDP, although Ice Lake is still 9W.
Architecturally, the chips aren't all that different from the 14nm ones that we've been using for a few years now. As was the case with the eighth-generation 'Whiskey Lake' processors, they have Wi-Fi 6 built into them, but Thunderbolt 3 isn't integrated into the chips like it is with Ice Lake.
Comet Lake will start arriving in new PCs this holiday season. Dell today announced the new XPS 13 along with some new Inspiron laptops using Comet Lake, although it's still using Ice Lake in the XPS 13 2-in-1. Naturally, there will be more announcements at IFA in September.