Intel was finally ready to acknowledge its 10nm technology at its Keynote event at CES 2019. Three new processor families were introduced, namely Ice Lake, Lakefield, and Snow Ridge.
Ice Lake – 10nm from Intel
Ice Lake will be the Intel’s first volume client processor based on the 10nm process node. The base model is going to have four cores, eight threads, and 64 GPU Execution Units for taking care of the graphics. Intel told that they’re moving the die area even closer to the graphics unit in their Gen11 graphics architecture to get better performance. According to Intel, this will be its first standard (GT-2) processor with 1 TFLOP of integrated graphics performance.
These processors are expected to support LPDDR4X memory. Intel also stated that an increase in integrated graphics from a 24 EU configuration to a 64 EU configuration needed an increase in the memory bandwidth up to at least 50 GB/s.
Talking about connectivity, Ice Lake will be able to use Wi-Fi 6 (802.11
Software support includes the new VNNI instructions, openVINO toolkit support, Cryptographic ISA instructions, and Overworld. These chips will have hardware-enabled Spectre v2 alleviations and security level at par with Cascade Lake.
Image Processing Unit on this chip is upgraded to a fourth generational model. IPU on the Ice Lake will have a concurrent imaging pipeline for machine learning and with support for a single IR/RGB camera for login and authentication. The IPU has also been made more power efficient by giving it more performance or power states.
Improved Battery Life on Ice Lake
Intel again showed how important battery life is for them by showcasing two additional ways in which they’re trying to get even more usage-time from these Ice Lake chips. The company said that they did a top-to-bottom analysis of the system to determine which exact parts of that system are the most power hungry and tried to reduce the power consumption without affecting the performance. Because of that, and the new 1watt display tech that the company introduced at Computex, an optimized Intel device should now be able to get 25+ hours of battery life.
Intel also worked on redesigning the board specifications for thin, compact devices. For a typical 12 inch laptop, they were able to free up enough space for about 10 percent more battery life. This feat becomes even more interesting considering this was done without reducing the number of components on the board.
Lakefield – Hybrid of Core and Atom architecture
Intel showed off a new class of chip at its Architecture Day in December, it was a hybrid x86 CPU. Hybrid because it used both Core and Atom architecture CPU cores which has been done for the first time by Intel. Another interesting thing about that chip was its use of ‘Foveros’. Foveros is Intel’s 3D active interposer technology that puts the cores and graphics on a chip on an interposer. The unique thing about Foveros is that instead of using the interposer as just a platform to route signals, it puts the IO in the interposer. This design makes the chip much smaller in dimensions.
That chip finally got a name at this CES, Lakefield. The chip will be using one Sunny Cove core, four Tremont Atom cores, and Gen11 graphics on a chip manufactured on 10nm process node.
Lakefield is expected to start production in
Project Athena – For the future
Project Athena is Intel’s collaboration with other OEM’s to design devices that are ready for new technologies like 5G, Artificial Intelligence in the next decade.
Intel will be talking to OEMs, its partners, customers, developers about what could be done to improve the user experience using new technologies in the future.