Intel 10th Gen ‘Comet Lake’ vs 9th Gen ‘Coffee Lake’

DSC02747

Last Updated:

To spice up the incredible two-horse race that is computer processing, Intel recently released their 10th Generation Comet Lake CPUs. The new line of processors takes over from the older 9th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs, offering more cores, more threads, and of course, more power.

Intel has been playing second fiddle to AMD in recent years and aims to close the gap with the Ryzen Zen 2 CPUs. AMD was clearly ahead of the 9th Gen Coffee Lake in terms of computational power, price, and everything else aside from single-core performance – but is that still the case with Intel’s 10th Gen?

Architecture

Intel’s latest Comet Lake CPUs are built on an advanced version of Intel’s latest 14nm process, which has been refreshed since Skylake’s debut. It is faster than previous generations we have seen but it doesn’t have the same impact that Intels mobile Ice Lake CPUs have had.

10th generation intel chart

Comet Lake Vs Coffee Lake: Generational Changes At A Glance

All of Intel’s 10th generation Comet Lake CPUs feature an updated platform controller hub with a CNVio2 controller (connectivity integration), Wi-Fi 6, and external AX201 CRF module support. 

Comet Lake-S compared to the Coffee Lake-S refresh, features up to 10 cores, hyperthreading on all models, single-core turbo boost up to 5.3GHz which is 300MHz higher, all-core turbo boost up to 4.9 GHz, DDR4-2933 memory support for the i7 and i9, and DDR4-2666 for i3, Pentium Gold, and Celeron.

Comet Lake-H compared to Coffee Lake-H refresh features higher turbo frequencies by up to 500MHz, DDR4-2933 memory support, and thermal velocity boost for i7 and i9 processors.

9th Gen Coffee Lake Outshone By AMD’s Ryzen Zen 2

Unfortunately, while Intel’s 9th generation of chips featured strong single-core performance, hyperthreading was exclusive to the Core i9 processors. This was something AMD took full advantage of with their mid and high-range processors (Ryzen 5 3600X, Ryzen 7 3700X, 3800X, and Ryzen 9 3900X).

Intel’s 9th Gen L3 cache was also lacking in comparison, with their flagship 9th Gen CPU featuring an L3 cache of 16MB. AMD, however, has an L3 cache of 32MB on their mid-range 3600X processor. As Intel’s 9th Gen launch was essentially a refresh, they used the same 14-nanometer manufacturing process, whereas AMD was using a 7-nanometer process.

Could Intel’s 10th Gen Comet Lake CPUs Compete?

Intel’s 10th Gen Comet Lake CPUs were released earlier in the year with the ability to toggle hyperthreading on and off on a core-by-core basis. This new feature may catch the eye of overclocking enthusiasts but for everyday users, it’s hardly noteworthy. This feature when active basically lowers heat and power draws, with toggling also allowing all cores using hyperthreading to remain in turbo mode for longer.

As previously mentioned, hyperthreading has been added to all the 10th gen Intel CPUs. This closes the gap slightly on AMD’s utter domination but the launch left much to be desired. Benchmarking has shown that Intels i9 still does superb across a multitude of tests and for a similar price to the older Coffee Lake i9. Intel’s i9-10900K went head to head with AMD’s 3900X and came out on top ever so slightly when overclocked to 5.1GHz. This wasn’t that surprising but what was interesting was the performance outshone the Coffee Lake Champion, the 9900K. 

The latest 10th Gen chips were launched with a new LGA 1200 chipset, meaning they aren’t compatible with the Z390 motherboards. The newly launched Z490 boards now head up the best housing for your Comet Lake chips. This was another blow in terms of the AMD Vs. Intel battle as AMD processors and the motherboards that are made for them allow for older generations to be used on the same chipset, which is superb for the general consumer.

Final Word

In short, Intel’s 10th generation Comet Lake is the better way to go compared to the Coffee Lake 9th gen chips. More cores, more threads, and of course higher speeds. Hyperthreading now exists across the entire new range, all the way down to the i3 and this can only be a good thing. The main issue with the new Comet Lake isn’t the benchmarking results but whether it is worth upgrading to in the first place.

In any case, if you are an avid Intel consumer and only want the very best performance no matter the cost, there is still some sense for your next build to include the 10th Generation of chips. For the rest of us who go for value, there is still much to be said about AMD’s Ryzen line up. Intel’s lower end of processors looked interesting at first but under closer inspection, I’d still be favoring AMD’s APUs for gaming.