A new ten-core Intel Comet Lake development kit has appeared in the EEC database suggesting we’re getting a lot closer to a potential launch of a Ryzen-rivalling Intel processor than some might think. The suggestion has been that Comet Lake, the next step on Intel’s plus-ridden 14nm journey, wouldn’t arrive in our desktops until 2020 at the earliest. But with what looks like a hardware qualification kit in recent listings we could see a more mainstream Intel deca-core CPU this year.
That’s maybe not a huge surprise given Intel passim. The Core i9 9900K launched late last year as the vanguard of the Gen 9 processors, while we had to wait a while to see the full range launched later on. But with this ten-core chip – presumably the Core i9 10900K – going into qualification now that should mean Intel’s new top gaming processor is pretty much done and dusted.
The EEC listing references a Comet Lake-S 10 +2 processor, and the product code indicates that it is definitely, definitely a desktop CPU because of the DT prefix. The bracketed ‘Qual’ would point to this latest development kit featuring completed Comet Lake silicon for qualification with system integrators and motherboard manufacturers.
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We saw a software development platform for the ten-core Comet Lake-S CPUs appear around six weeks ago, again via a Eurasian Economic Commision registration, which was listed as a ‘Beta’ kit.
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This latest Comet Lake-S listing seems to feature finished silicon, and will be Intel’s great chip hope to combat all the processor positivity now surrounding AMD’s own multi-core CPUs. Intel’s very much playing catchup right now, with AMD having a 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X already in the market and a 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X on the way in September.
Quite what a likely $500 ten-core CPU will be able to deliver, on what is a known 14nm Skylake derivative architecture, is tough to tell. Intel is offering an IPC increase with its Sunny Cove cores, but they’re not due on the desktop for a good while yet. Maybe Intel will swallow the silicon bullet and start to drop its premium pricing model. After all, even though it will be the highest core-count processor Intel has created outside the HEDT game, a ten-core CPU is going to have a mighty tough time going up against a 16-core Ryzen.
But it looks like we won’t have long to wait to find out how tough, as we could be heading for an AMD Ryzen 9 3950X vs Intel Core i9 10900K head-to-head this autumn. Bring it on.