For the first time in a very long time, Intel finds itself in a real dogfight with AMD across the board in the consumer sector, from budget CPUs all the way up to enthusiast-grade processors. Not to be outdone by the recent Ryzen launch, Intel might be prepping a new batch of Comet Lake chips as it continues to squeeze everything it can from its 14-nanometer node.
Sure, the world is waiting for Intel to blitz the market in significant volume with 10nm CPUs—those are due out in force by the end of the year, though likely with a focus on mobile initially, with 10nm desktop chips to follow in 2020. We will have to wait and see. Meanwhile, AMD just barreled through the gate with its 7nm Ryzen 3000 series lineup.
Without taking a deep dive in process nodes, the short of it is, Intel's 10nm node is roughly on par with AMD's 7nm node. In that respect, Intel may not be as far behind architecturally as it appears. Nevertheless, AMD is firing on all cylinders while Intel is still mostly pushing 14nm silicon. So it goes with the upcoming Comet Lake processors, which are being built on a revised 14nm+++ node. Here's a look at the supposedly leaked lineup...
Click to Enlarge (Source: Twitter/@sohachi)
Assuming the slide is legitimate (and there are plenty clues that it isn't, such as the ordering of the chips from slowest to fastest rather than the other way around), Intel is prepping 13 new 10th generation Core processors. The lineup culminates in a trio of 10-core/20-thread processors, the fastest of which is the Core i9-10900KF at 105W (TDP)—it has a 3.2GHz base clock, 4.6GHz all-core boost clock, and 5.2GHz single-core boost clock. It also sports 20MB of L3 cache, as do the other two 10-core/20-thread parts.
According to the leaked slide, the Core i9-10900KF is going to land at $499. That puts it squarely in competition with AMD's Ryzen 9 3900X, which is a 12-core/24-thread CPU clocked at 3.8GHz to 4.6GHz. Whether the faster clocks and other changes that might be present would put the Core i9 part on top will be interesting to see. As it stands, the Ryzen 9 3900X is a beast in multi-threaded performance, and trades blows with Intel's latest silicon in single-threaded workloads (the Core i9-9900K is generally ahead by a smidgen in single-threaded workloads).
The pricing from top to bottom is also interesting, given that the entire lineup supports Hyper Threading. That includes the Core i3-10100, a 4-core/8-thread part with a 3.7GHz base clock and 4.4GHz max boost clock, priced at $129.
While the specs and pricing look promising, the slide also indicates a new LGA1159 socket. This could point to the updated Comet Lake lineup requiring a new motherboard. If so, the timing is a bit quirky, with 10nm parts somewhat around the corner. Maybe the average user might not care, but enthusiasts may scoff at investing in a new foundation for yet another 14nm release this late in the game.
Performance per dollar is what really matters, though, and for that will have to wait and see how things shake out. All that said, this slide looks suspect to us, given its makeup and dubious origin (the Twitter user that spotted this said it came from an "anonymous guy" on 5ch, without any followup information). That's not to say that some of the model names and even the specs might prove true in the long run. But definitely take this with a giant heap of salt.