In what seems to be an unprecedented move, even for Intel, Comet Lake might end up taking residence on not one, but two new sockets: Chip detective @momomo_us recently discovered a string in the latest version of CPU-Z that references the LGA1159 socket, which may complement the LGA1200 socket that we already know is coming for Comet Lake.
Now CPU-Z screenshots of Comet Lake processors show an LGA1159 socket, which is backed up by the discovery of the socket in CPU-Z's identification strings. Pictures of purported LGA1159 Comet Lake CPUs have also emerged.
At this point, it's unclear if the new socket is real, but if it is, we have a few theories of what Intel could be up to.
We suspect that Intel plans to split support for Comet Lake between different platforms, with the 125W K-series chips likely requiring the LGA1200 socket while the remaining 65W and 35W Comet Lake parts will get by with the LGA1159 socket. This separation sounds reasonable as the high-end Comet Lake chips have steeper power requirements and the extra pins in the LGA1200 socket can provide the necessary juice.
If our assumption is valid, Intel could potentially position the LGA1200 socket as a "value HEDT" (high-end desktop) platform. We hope the chipmaker doesn't roll with this strategy as it wouldn't fare well with enthusiasts, considering that rival AMD has already brought HEDT-like performance to mainstream motherboards with the Ryzen 9 3950X 16-core chip that continues to leverage the advantages of the company's long-lived AM4 socket.
A couple of days ago, Iranian news outlet Tnews shared two very interesting Comet Lake slides that help support our assumption. The first slide shows three divisions for Comet Lake: Enthusiast (125W), Mainstream (65W) and Low Power (35W). The K-series which, in all likelihood is comprised of the Core i9-10900K, i7-10700K and i5-10600K, can be configured to 95W at lower clock speeds. However, the real nugget lays in the second slide.
The second slide clearly shows that the Comet Lake chipsets are divided into two major categories. The W480, Q470, Z490 and H470 chipsets allegedly employ the CML PCH-H chipset, while the lower-end B460 and H410 chipsets are seemingly based of the CML PCH-V chipset. It's not confirmed, but we think the 'H' stands for High-Performance while the 'V' alludes to Value.
It's plausible that W480, Q470, Z490 and H470 motherboards come with the LGA1200 socket, while the B460 and H410 motherboards utilize the LGA1159 socket. It's conceivable that the 65W and 35W Comet Lake chips would work fine on any Intel 400-series motherboard, but the high-end 125W parts are likely only compatible with the four high-performance models.
There is little doubt that there will be two sockets for Comet Lake, we're just not sure how Intel is going to sell that idea to consumers.