After years of delays, this year Intel plans to begin shipping large volumes of 10nm chips for the first time. The company’s 10nm Ice Lake chips are already shipping to OEMs and we should see laptops, tablets, and other devices with the 9 watt to 28 watt chips in time for the 2019 holiday season.
But it looks like Intel isn’t done with 14nm chips just yet.
After I reported that the ECS Liva Z3 Plus mini PC with a “next-generation Core i SoC” would probably have an Ice Lake chip, FanlessTech pointed out that it would actually have a Comet Lake processor.
While Intel hasn’t officially said much about the upcoming Comet Lake processor lineup, Anandtech has a bit of information.
In a nutshell, Comet Lake is said to be a 14nm U-series chip with the same 15 watt TDP typically used for thin-and-light laptop processors.
That’s not to say it doesn’t make sense for Intel to build a 15 watt chip for small form-factor desktop computers. PC makers (including Intel) have been using 15 watt chips for tiny desktops for years.
What’s a bit strange is that the company will offer two different U-series chips this year: Ice Lake-U and Comet Lake-U.
Anandtech speculates that this could be Intel’s way of ensuring it can produce enough chips to meet demand after years of struggling with its 10nm manufacturing process (and an associated shortage of 14nm chips).
It’ll be interesting to see how Comet Lake-U and Ice Lake-U chips compare in terms of performance and efficiency. Since battery life isn’t an issue for desktop processors, I wouldn’t be surprised if Comet Lake chips support higher clock speeds and run a littler hotter than their mobile counterparts in order to offer similar or better performance.
We should know more later this year. The new chips are expected to ship to OEMs in the fourth quarter of 2019.