By Mike Peterson
Thursday, April 02, 2020, 10:09 a.m. Pacific time (1:09 p.m. ET)
Intel has released details of a new line of 10th generation Core processors for high-end laptops, although the improvements over what is currently available are actually relatively small.
If Apple chooses Intel processors this year for its MacBook Pros, 10th generation Intel chips are a likely choice.
Apple is already using 10th generation Intel chips in its latest MacBook Air, although those announced today by Intel with 45W H-series processors for high-end laptops like the MacBook Pro.
Overall, the new H-series chips, part of the Comet Lake series, are fairly quiet when it comes to upgrades. They show minor changes in clock speed and Wi-Fi 6 support, but are still built using Intel 14nm architecture.
Across the lineup, base clock speeds are exactly the same as the 9th generation chips used in the current 16-inch MacBook Pro. Turbo Boost speeds however exceeded 5 GHz for the first time.
For example, the high-end Core i9 chip has a clock speed of 2.4 GHz but a maximum Turbo Boost of 5.3 GHz, compared to 5.0 GHz in the previous iteration. Intel calls the Core i9 the “fastest mobile processor in the world”.
Bumps similar to Turbo Boost clock speeds can be seen across the range. The low-end Intel Core i5 has a clock speed of 4.5 GHz compared to 4.1 GHz. A 10th generation Core i7 operates at 5 GHz, compared to 4.5 GHz in last year’s processor.
The Core i7-9850H and Core i7-9750H also incorporate Intel’s “thermal speed boost”, a feature that was limited to Core i9 chips last year. The highest-end Core i9 is still the only one to be unlocked.
Intel’s latest chips also support two-channel DDR4-2993 memory. The previous generation supports DDR4-2666.
The chips also support the 802.11ax standard, also known as Wi-Fi 6. This is a new Wi-Fi technology that should allow better speeds, increased energy efficiency and lower latency than previous standards, although devices must have Wi-Fi 6. Compatible chips to use it.
Apple’s latest iPhone and iPad Pro models already support Wi-Fi 6, but none of the company’s Macs do – even the 16-inch MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air 2020.
Of course, since Apple only launched the 16-inch MacBook Pro in November, chances are we’re still months away from a refresh.
In addition, often accurate analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also predicted that Apple will launch its first ARM-based MacBook model with custom silicon in the fourth quarter of 2020 or the first quarter of 2021, with more ARM devices coming later this year.