Intel’s 10th-generation H-series laptop computer CPUs break 5GHz

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  • The immediate snack of the Comet Lake H-series of the 10th generation: 45 W TDP, four / six / eight cores with hyperthreading, very high turbo clock speeds.


    Intel Corporation

  • You should definitely look for the asterisk at the end of the "fastest mobile processor". It refers to the turbo clock speed, not necessarily the overall performance.


    Intel Corporation

  • Intel relies heavily on the raw turbo clock speed of the Comet Lake H series.


    Intel Corporation

Yesterday Intel announced the launch of its latest laptop CPUs, the tenth generation Comet Lake H series. If you are not familiar with all the details of the CPU naming schemes, parts of the H series (for both Intel and AMD) are special high performance parts with a much higher thermal design performance than the standard U series. Use in systems with more powerful, more discreet Graphic.

Pay close attention to the word "fastest"

  • When Intel says "fastest" here, it still refers to the turbo clock speed. We strongly recommend reading the fine print.


    Intel Corporation

  • Always read the fine print. (1/3)


    Intel Corporation

  • Always read the fine print. (2/3)


    Intel Corporation

  • Always read the fine print. (3/3)


    Intel Corporation

The big news that Intel is pushing for the Comet Lake H-series tenth series is its high turbo clock speed. All i7 SKUs as well as the lone i9 are able to break 5 GHz at the upper end of their Turbo clock rate.

Most consumers would define the "fastest" processor in terms of actual performance – time to complete benchmarks, frames per second achieved in AAA game titles, and so on. Intel talks a lot about the "fastest" processor, but seems to be careful to hide its definitions in the small print.

Footnote 22, referred to at the end of "10-10980HK: The Fastest Mobile Processor" is:

Based on the highest achievable maximum turbo frequency of the Intel Core i9-10980HK of 5.3 GHz, which exceeds all other mobile products available from April 2020. Includes the use of Intel Thermal Velocity Boost. The user experience varies depending on the workload. See end notes for details.

For reference, Intel's Thermal Velocity Boost roughly corresponds to AMD's Precision Boost Overdrive – it is an automatic, dynamic overclocking mode that takes temperature and power levels into account when deciding how far into the red area a core can be driven a little extra performance.

While it is certainly true that the 5.3 GHz turbo claimed here for the i9-10980HK – or even the 5 GHz turbo for the lowest tier i7, the i7-10750H – has higher maximum clock speeds than we have seen from the factory so far, it seems to us likely that many users will not reach quite as high clock speeds – or can keep them there for a very long time.

One last note about clock rates: The i9-10980HK is completely frequency locked. We have no idea how to put extra cooling in a laptop case to support extra overclocking out of spec – but if that's your dream, the i9-10980HK is ready to do it. May the force be with you.

Much faster than January 2017

  • It's been a difficult year to be an Intel CPU Marketing Associate. Every claim to performance in relation to the new H series relates to three-year-old PCs. None contains raw numbers.


    Intel Corporation

  • That would be impressive performance gains over the competition – or even over the previous year. Unfortunately, they have been profits since January 2017.


    Intel Corporation

  • "Better than what we did over three years ago" is no big boast.


    Intel Corporation

  • Intel keeps pace on this slide with the topic "It's faster than January 2017" and compares i7 CPUs.


    Intel Corporation

In the performance diagrams in Intel's slides, the new SKUs are only compared to seventh generation Intel CPUs – and not to desktop parts. The foil announcing the 10th generation i9-10980HK, which is amazingly faster for enthusiasts compared to a three-year-old PC, seems to imply this – but in terms of footnotes, the comparisons refer to laptop parts of the seventh Generation. Even the part actually compared is not consistent in this slide. Game FPS is compared to an i7-7920HQ, while overall performance, video rendering and export are compared to an i7-7820HK.

To be honest, these slides are a mess. It's hard to get a solid grasp of how strong the 10th generation H series is against anything useful – whether it's parts of the Comet Lake U series, AMD's Ryzen 4000 parts, or even a simple generation against Generation trades in Coffee Lake i9-9980HK last year. None of the benchmarks shown here offer any direct, raw figures – so there is really nothing to learn here, except "faster than our products from 2017".

Intel had no performance slides for the i5 H series at all, but we are confident that these will also be faster than comparable 2017 models.

Conclusions

We try hard not to outwit a CPU manufacturer who has had a bad year or two – the hardware market really needs multiple sources to keep compatible products profitable and consumer friendly. With that in mind, it seems clear that Intel is going into a very, very bad year in 2020. And we have to keep in mind that a frequent complaint by readers – "They are evaluating their marketing slides" – is inevitably on time this time. because there is so little real data.

Intel's presentation of the latest and fastest laptop parts is clearly aimed at users considering upgrading from a much older model and looking no further than Intel itself. And to be fair, we agree with their conclusions in this regard – you will absolutely see a significant performance boost when you upgrade a 2017-era laptop to a 2020-era laptop.

If your only criteria is: "Will this be faster than the laptop I have?" And you are firmly anchored in the Intel team. The 10th generation Comet Lake H series will not disappoint. However, consumers looking for either the fastest system or the smartest purchase should wait until some of these systems go on the road for independent testing.

The good

  • Definitely faster than models from January 2017
  • Crazy high turbo speeds, serious overclocking technology
  • AX201 Wi-Fi 6 support
  • Thunderbolt 3 support
  • DDR4-2933 RAM, up to 128 GB

Evil

  • It is unlikely to compete strongly with AMD Ryzen 4000 models.
  • No Deep Learning Boost / AVX-512 support
  • In systems without discrete graphics, the On-Die-UHD 620 cannot hang with Iris + from Ice Lake or Vega from Ryzen 4000.

The Ugly

  • No mention of battery life
  • No performance films of the i5 H series at all
  • No useful comparisons with modern parts at all

Collection picture of the Intel Corporation

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