Intel paints it black with new Comet Lake CPU coolers in an effort to catch up with AMD

Intel Comet Lake cooler
(Image credit: / Tom’s Hardware)

Intel is supplying a revamped and upgraded CPU cooler with its top-end Comet Lake processors, at least over in Asia according to reports.

Tom’s Hardware did some digging and found that some reviewers in China (and also Vietnam) who had purchased retail boxed versions of Intel Core i7 CPUs had found that they came with a new official cooler which looks different with an all-black design. The cooler also has an upgrade in the form of a copper base plate, too.

Oddly, Intel made no mention of any change initially, but the company has since spoken to Tom’s to confirm that these coolers are present only with the following 10th-gen Comet Lake processors: Core i9-10900 and 10900F, plus the Core i7-10700 and 10700F.

Chips with the ‘F’ designation don’t have an integrated GPU, and note that the unlocked ‘K’ processors – designed to be overclocked – do not have this new stock cooler (obviously the enthusiasts buying these chips will want a more powerful third-party cooler anyway).

Note also that a few Intel Xeon W-1200 workstation processors also have this cooling solution bundled.

Cool for cats

In terms of their spec, the all-black coolers benefit from an 80W TDP rating, thanks to the aforementioned upgraded copper base – an increase from the previous 65W models.

These are designed for use with Intel’s LGA 1200 socket, which was introduced with Comet Lake, but as the socket is the same size as the previous-gen motherboards, it’ll work fine with those too.

This is good news for Comet Lake buyers then, as the all-black cooler certainly looks better than its predecessor, and it gives a solid bump in cooling performance.

That said, 80W likely isn’t quite enough to allow these higher-end processors to really stretch their legs, at least not when fully pushing it with demanding bursty workloads, as Tom’s points out. We’ll only really know when tests can be run on the coolers, though.

Even though it’s a positive move, there are certainly those out there who are wishing Intel had done more to upgrade the cooler. This new all-black affair still doesn’t quite match up to the kind of stock coolers that AMD has been supplying for some time now – including nifty-looking Wraith Prism RGB models with high-end Ryzen 3000 processors which are pretty effective cooling solutions indeed.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).