The "Ice Lake" family of chips announced on August 1 are based on Intel's next-gen "Ice Lake" architecture and are the company's first mass-market chips to be manufactured on a 10nm process, whereas the newly announced "Comet Lake" family still uses a mature 14nm manufacturing process and is an incremental update to the current "Coffee Lake" design. They're now launching Comet Lake, a lineup of processors based on an old 14nm architecture that's being marketed as 10th Gen and it uses the 10-series names.
The new Comet Lake processors apparently enable 16% overall performance gains and over 41% better productivity and multitasking on apps like Microsoft's Office 365 suite. The company began the practice with its 9th-Gen chips as it dealt with the fallout of its oft-delayed 10nm process, and has likely made a decision to continue shipping 14nm processors to assure enough supply of new laptop chips as it continues to ramp up 10nm production. For the best integrated graphics performance, see Ice Lake. Except on Ice Lake, which reserves the last two characters for the level of graphics. That makes sense, as the Comet Lake chips don't come with Gen11 graphics and therefore do not have the "Gx" identifier, but that hardly helps the average consumer. One would reasonably assume that the Comet Lake-U-powered XPS 13 will be the XPS 13 9390 similar to the XPS 13 9380, 9370, 9360, and 9350 models that precede it. The next three numbers (710 in this example) denote the specific model while the U (or Y) is the product line.
"These processors are performance powerhouses that bring double digit performance gains compared with the previous generation", Intel explained today.
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Most models will be available starting in October. Comet Lake's highest-end processor has six cores and a max turbo frequency of 4.9Ghz whereas Ice Lake tops out at four cores and 4.1Ghz.
Intel just introduced another 10th Gen processor, and things are about to get very confusing for customers. Comet Lake is the next iteration of the long-running 14-nanometer chip while Ice Lake is the first of Intel's hotly-anticipated 10-nanometer node. Conversely, if graphics matter more to you, Ice Lake and its Intel Iris Plus graphics should be a definite step up.
Given Comet Lake has been created to target more performance-orientated laptops, one might ask why the Y-Series processors are needed when Intel has Ice Lake.