Following last week's leak of a supposed Intel roadmap that highlighted the Santa Clara chipmaker's mobile CPU release schedule, another roadmap is now making the rounds, and this time it seemingly reveals Intel's desktop strategy. Of particular interest is Intel's upcoming Comet Lake-S family, which includes CPUs with up to 10 cores and 20 threads.
We all owe a tip of the hat to AMD for putting the pressure on Intel to release CPUs with higher core and thread counts into the mainstream sector. Intel has responded to Ryzen with 8-core/16-thread processors comprising its higher-end 9th generation Core family, and looking ahead, more 8-core CPUs are coming, along with 10-core chips in early 2020.
Things can get confusing in a hurry when juggling so many different codenames, and Intel hasn't helped matters by assigning multiple generational tags to its 14-nanometer node. We won't get into all that, but the important thing to note is that Comet Lake-S is the successor to Coffee Lake Refresh (Coffee Lake-R), which represents a further extension of 14nm manufacturing.
According to the leaked roadmap, which is claimed to be from an internal Dell presentation, Comet Lake-S will feature 2-core, 4-core, 6-core, 8-core processors, and 10-core CPUs. Since they are still based on Intel's 14nm node that dates back to Skylake (albeit refined), they will not introduce any drastic changes, though we do expect faster clockspeeds and better power efficiency from these 14nm++ parts.
One thing that will be interesting to see is if Intel continues to use a soldered TIM (thermal interface material), as it reintroduced with its 9th generation Core lineup, including the Core i9-9900K. While a more costly solution than using grease, it does a better job of transferring heat and keeping temps in checks, so keep your fingers crossed. If nothing else, we expect soldered TIM to be found on the 10-core lineup.
Comet Lake-S is scheduled to ship out to consumers in the first quarter of 2020, followed by a commercial launch in the second quarter. While not shown on the roadmap, Comet Lake-S will carry Intel's desktop processor lineup through the entire year until Rocket Lake debuts in 2021, which could be Intel's final run on 14nm.
On the server side of the equation, Comet Lake Xeon-E CPUs are bound for a first-quarter release in 2020 as well. As with the desktop lineup, the upcoming Xeon parts will feature up to 10 cores, along with PCIe Gen 3 support. PCi Gen 4 support will come with Intel's Rocket Lake-based Xeon processors in 2021.