Intel’s new 10nm “Ice Lake” processors with Gen11 graphics may have kicked off the launch of the chip makers 10th-gen Core processor lineup. But not all 10th-gen chips will be Ice Lake.
The company’s new “Comet Lake” processors chips for laptops, 2-in-1 tablets, and other low-power devices are manufactured using the same 14nm process Intel has been using since launching its “Skylake” chips in 2015.
As Intel ramps up production of 10nm chips, Comet Lake will help the company meet demand for new processors. While says there are 35+ computers with Ice Lake chips on the way, there are 90+ models powered by Comet Lake processors.
In other words we’re going to see more Comet Lake-based PCs this year than models with Ice Lake chips.
Like Ice Lake, Comet Lake chips will be available in U-series (15 watt) and Y-series (7 watt) versions.
While Comet Lake chips may not have all the same features as their Ice Lake counterparts, Intel is promising some significant enhancements over its previous-gen laptop processors.
And the company is trying to justify the existing of two different 10th-gen chips that both look like they’re designed for the same types of devices: thin and light laptops and 2-in-1 tablets.
So while all 10th-gen Intel chips feature integrated support for WiFi 6 (802.11ax) and Thunderbolt 3, here’s the key difference between the two chip families:
- Ice Lake features Intel Gen11 graphics with up to an Iris Plus GPU
- Comet Lake supports up to 6-cores/12 threads, CPU frequencies up to 4.9 GHz, and Intel Gen9.5 graphics.
In other words, Intel says you should get better gaming, video, and artificial intelligence performance using integrated graphics if you opt for an Ice Lake processor.
But if you’re going to be getting a system with a discrete GPU anyway, Comet Lake may actually be a better option, since it will offer higher CPU frequencies (at least for some chips).
Intel says Comet Lake brings a roughly 15 to 40 percent performance boost over a year-old computer in some situations… particularly for multitasking performance.
At launch, Intel is releasing four Comet Lake U chips and four Comet Lake Y processors:
|Processor||Cores / Threads||Graphics (EUs)||Cache||Nominal TDP/ ConfigUP TDP||Base Freq (GHz)||Max Single Core Turbo (GHz)||Max All Core Turbo (GHz)||Graphics Max Freq (MHz)||Memory support|
|i7-10710U||6/12||24||12MB||15W/25W||1.1||4.7||3.9||1.15||LPDDR4x 2933/LPDDR3 2133/DDR4 2666|
|i7-10510U||4/8||24||8MB||15W/25W||1.8||4.9||4.3||1.15||LPDDR4x 2933/LPDDR3 2133/DDR4 2666|
|i5-10210U||4/8||24||6MB||15W/25W||1.6||4.2||3.9||1.1||LPDDR4x 2933/LPDDR3 2133/DDR4 2666|
|i3-10110U||2/4||23||4MB||15W/25W||2.1||4.1||3.7||1.05||LPDDR4x 2933/LPDDR3 2133/DDR4 2666|
I’m particularly excited to see that 10th-gen Intel Core Y-series chips will now be available with up to 4-cores/8-threads, which should bring a significant performance boost to fanless laptops and 2-in-1 tablets as well as next-gen mini-laptops from companies like GPD and One Netbook (the latter has already announced it’s working on a device with a 10th-gen Intel processor).
Anyway, so now there are two chip families that share the 10th-gen name. In a nutshell one offers better CPU performance and the other offers better graphics. But how do you tell the chips apart at a glance?
Theoretically all the info you need is in the model numbers. But it’s a bit confusing.
- If the chip number has a 10 at the beginning, it’s a 10th-gen chip.
- If it has a Gx (where x is a number) at the end, it’s an Ice Lake processor.
- If it has a U or Y at the end, it’s a Comet Lake chip.
The U and Y tell you about the power consumption — U is aimed at mainstream thin and light laptops, while Y is designed for 2-in-1 tablets, ultraportable systems, and fanless computers.
But while Ice Lake chips are divided into U and Y families, you won’t see those letters in the name. Instead you have to look at the second set of numbers.
Numbers that end in a multiple of 10 (like Core i3-1030G4, Core i7-1060G7, or Core i3-1000G1) are Y-series chips. If the number ends in a 5 or 8, it’s U-series chip (examples include the Core i3-1005G1, Core i5-1035G4, and COre i7-1068G7).
Finally, the G in the Ice Lake chip names stands for graphics, so you can look to the last number to figure out what kind of GPU a chip has. The higher the number, the better the graphics.
Here are some examples:
- Core i3-1000G1 is a Y-series chip with Intel UHD graphics with 32 execution units.
- Core i3-1005G1 is a U-series chip with Intel UHD graphics with 32 execution units.
- Core i5-1030G4 is a Y-series chip with Iris Plus graphics 64 execution units.
- Core i5-1035G4 is a U-series chip with Intel UHD graphics with 48 execution units.
- Core i7-1060G7 is a Y-series chip with Iris Plus graphics with 64 execution units
- Core i7-1065G7 is a U-series chip with Iris Plus graphics with 64 execution units.
Confused yet? Here are some graphics that might help (a little):