Meet Intel’s new 10th Gen Comet Lake processors

Intel recently announced its newest Comet Lake 10th Gen processors.
Image: Intel Corporation

On Wednesday, Intel announced eight new processors for its growing 10th Gen lineup. Interestingly, the most notable thing about the Comet Lake processors might be… their naming.

Unfortunately, the CPUs themselves don’t look overly impressive. While they are a slight upgrade over Intel’s previous generation, they can’t compete with the company’s Ice Lake line. The Comet Lake chips have also dropped the convenient integrated Iris Plus graphics of Ice Lake. Even so, analysts expect that the new chips will appear in more affordable machines, and possibly even Surface products, by the holiday season.

Uninspiring Performance

Perhaps the biggest gripe that users have about the new Comet Lake processors is that they use Intel’s 14nm build. Most of the Ice Lake processors feature 10nm processes, making them more efficient.

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However, the decision to make the chips 14nm isn’t a deal-breaker. In tests, the new Intel Core i7-10710U (hence the notable naming) has the bragging rights of being the company’s first hexacore U-series processor. It’s 12 threads give it a higher max clock speed than some of the higher-end Ice Lake chips.

Even so, the new 14nm processors fall behind in terms of efficiency. This means that machines featuring them will have a shorter battery life than those containing 10nm chips.

Nonetheless, the processors are expected to arrive in some machines with Intel’s “Project Athena” branding. This serves as a guarantee that the device lasts at least nine hours on battery power.

Bye, Bye Graphics

Another notable feature missing from Intel’s new Comet Lake lineup is the impressive integrated Gen11 graphics system. This allows Ice Lake chips to render gaming smoothly at up to 1080p resolution.

So, consumers hoping to game on their laptop without a dedicated graphics card are out of luck if it contains one of the new Comet Lake processors. Of course, some games will render, but graphics-heavy titles will cause trouble for the chip.

Meanwhile, the lack of graphics means that Intel created yet another naming convention for the new lineup. Tech-savvy shoppers can determine if a machine’s processor belongs to the new Comet Lake line by looking for a “U” or “Y” in the model name. Still, Intel adding another set of naming rules to its already convoluted system is rather annoying.

Holiday Upgrades

It’s getting close to the time of year when tech companies start announcing products that will be available at the start of the holiday season. Intel’s new chip lineup is no different. The company expects that the 10th Gen Comet Lake processors will hit the markets just in time for holiday device upgrades.

Though its better-performing 10nm processors will be found in more expensive machines, Comet Lake chips won’t be hard to find. They will power devices like 2-in-1 laptops, Ultrabooks, and maybe even new Surfaces and MacBooks.

While Intel’s new chip lineup does take some steps forward, it isn’t a total win. By sacrificing some efficiency and graphics, the company’s new offerings have left some consumers unenthused. Nonetheless, the chips will power the next generation of the devices—at least for a year or two.