It looks like Intel may not be done with upping the core count of their mainstream processors. A rumor coming from the Far East seems to indicate that Intel is planning to put more cores on the mainstream desktop lineup with their new family that is allegedly going to be called Comet Lake.
Intel's Comet Lake-S Desktop Processors Rumored To Pack Up To 10 Cores on 14nm Die
The rumor comes straight from Taiwanese forums where it was mentioned that a 10 Core CPU under the Comet Lake-S family was mentioned during a partner meeting. The family will still be based on the 14nm process node and was recently listed in an updated DT/IOTG roadmap. The roadmap updates every quarter but we haven't seen such roadmap in public yet.
There are no other details mentioned except a mention that the CPU may use a dual ring bus interconnect. Now a single ring bus can definitely handle 10 cores, even more since it allows it but this would be an interesting change if Intel does go with the dual ring design considering their core to core latency has been on point for a while on the mainstream side compared to the competitors who rely more aggressively on interconnects due to cores allocated to dual dies, hence slightly affecting the latency speeds.
The other thing is that a single die 10 core design would be a much harder job to cool down. Especially when Intel's current 8 core/16 thread parts generate too much heat. Since the process isn't shrinking down any time soon and the core architecture being the same, the package will have to stuff more components which will output a lot more heat than an 8 core part.
One route Intel can go is tweaking the frequencies. The Core i9-9900K is the fastest clocked 8 core / 16 thread chip designed to date but for a 10 core part, Intel can tone down the all core frequency to a more feasible limit. One thing is for sure, you'd need a really good AIO or custom loop liquid cooling solution to cool this 10 core chip. In terms of pricing, we can see the CPU fall above the $500 US range since the 9900K sells for that much on retail. If 14nm supply doesn't return to a normal state by the time the 10 core part launches, we can expect a price of around $550-$600 US.
Intel Desktop CPU Generations Comparison:
|Intel Sandy Bridge||Intel Ivy Bridge||Intel Haswell||Intel Broadwell||Intel Skylake||Intel Kaby Lake||Intel Coffee Lake||Intel Coffee Lake Refresh||Intel Comet Lake||Intel Rocket Lake|
|Processor Architecture||Sandy Bridge||Ivy Bridge||Haswell||Broadwell||Skylake||Kaby Lake||Coffee Lake||Coffee Lake||Comet Lake||Rocket Lake|
|Processors Cores (Max)||4/8||4/8||4/8||4/8||4/8||4/8||6/12||8/16||10/20||10/20?|
|Platform Socket||LGA 1155||LGA 1155||LGA 1150||LGA 1150||LGA 1151||LGA 1151||LGA 1151||LGA 1151||LGA 1200||TBD|
|Platform||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA|
As for the performance numbers, we can expect the 10 core part to destroy every previous entrant by Intel in the mainstream department with relative ease in multi-core benchmarks. Of course, we can't judge final performance figures based on rumor data and especially considering that we don't know that if it could be a ring bus or dual ring design but I guess it will be one chip to look forward to in 2019, especially when it will possibly be competing with a 7nm Zen 2 based mainstream CPU with potentially higher core count.