It looks as though Intel is readying a new round of processors with up to 10 cores and 20 threads, based on a breakdown of a recent graphics drivers patches for Linux. The driver code references unreleased Comet Lake desktop CPUs, including dual-core, quad-core, hexa-core, octa-core, and deca-core models.
This is not the first we have heard of Comet Lake, or even an accompanying 10-core/20-thread chip from Intel that is rumored to be part of the series. Word of Comet Lake leaked to the web late last year, supposedly originating from a partner meeting. At the time, though, there were not many details to be gleaned.
That is actually still true, though at least with driver code in the wild, a launch seems more plausible. There are two places where we are seeing references to Comet Lake so far. The first is in the patch notes for the graphics driver.
"Comet Lake is a [sic] Intel processor containing Gen9 Intel HD Graphics. This patch adds the initial set of PCI IDs. Comet Lake comes off of Coffee Lake—adding the IDs to Coffee Lake ID list," the patch notes state.
The second place is over on GitHub, and it's there that we see the various core counts. Here's a partial screen grab of the relevant section...
The above is related to Coreboot, an open source firmware platform (formerly known as LinuxBIOS) that is is aimed at replacing the proprietary BIOS and UEFI solutions found in most computers. While we still don't have much information on the actual architecture, the GitHub listing breaks down the different core configurations.
It would not surprise us to see Intel launch a 10-core/20-thread desktop processor. Recent efforts by AMD have kept Intel on its toes, and with the Ryzen 3000 series rumored to offer up to 16-cores, the pressure is on Intel to keep up.
In other words, it's going to be an interesting year.