Intel is expected to finally refresh its mainstream desktop platform with the introduction of the 14 nm “Comet Lake-S” processors, in Q2-2020. This sees the introduction of the new LGA1200 socket and Intel 400-series chipsets, led by the Z490 Express at the top. Platform maps of these PCI-Express gen 3.0 based chipsets make them look largely similar to current 300-series platform, with a few changes. For starters, Intel introducing its biggest ACPI change since C6/C7 power states that debuted with “Haswell;” with the introduction of C10 and S0ix Modern Standby power-states, which give your PC an iPad-like availability while sipping minimal power. This idea is slightly different from Smart Connect, in that your web-connected apps and processor work at an extremely low-power (fanless) state, rather than waking your machine up from time to time for the apps to refresh. 400-series chipset motherboards will also feature updated networking interfaces, such as support for 2.5 GbE wired LAN with an Intel i225-series PHY, 802.11ax WiFi 6 WLAN, etc.
HyperThreading will play a big role in making Intel’s processor lineup competitive with AMD’s given that the underlying microarchitecture offers an identical core design to “Skylake” circa 2015. The entry-level Core i3 chips will be 4-core/8-thread, Core i5 6-core/12-thread, Core i7 8-core/16-thread; and leading the pack will be the Core i9-10900K, a 10-core/20-thread processor. According to a WCCFTech report, this processor will debut in April 2020, which means at CES 2020 in January, we’ll get to see some of the first socket LGA1200 motherboards, some even based on the Z490. The platform also mentions an interesting specification: “enhanced core and memory overclocking.” This could be the secret ingredient that makes the i9-10900K competitive with the likes of the Ryzen 9 3900X. The LGA1200 platform could be forwards-compatible with “Rocket Lake,” which could herald IPC increases on the platform by implementing “Willow Cove” CPU cores.