“We have something big to share”, Intel says in the press invitations it has sent to announce a digital event that will take place on September 2.
Intel is not at its best. The transition to 10-nanometer technological processes is being problematic and has led to significant production delays that have accumulated for more than a year. The rivals have advanced. AMD has gained market share in desktop and consumer notebooks thanks to successful Ryzen, professional teams with the “Pro” versions or workstations with the new Threadripper.
On the other hand, NVIDIA has just achieved a historic milestone by outperforming Intel in market capitalization, gaining space on its own ground: data centers. Finally, the announcement of Apple silicon, with which the most important technology in the world will replace Intel processors in their Mac in favor of ARM, it’s a depth bomb of unpredictable consequences in the industry.
Intel event What are we waiting for?
Of course, the chip giant has cash, technology, personnel, and ultimately the ability to overcome the current situation. And it is on the way to update its entire catalog with important news. We review what Intel could present.
It will be the successor processing platform of the current “Ice Lake”, it will be destined -in principle- for mobile computing and will be marketed as the eleventh generation of core processors. It will include CPU optimizations, AI accelerators, and standalone integrated graphics based on the new Xe graphics architecture.
The Tiger Lake will be installed on the most compact motherboards ever made by Intel, which will come in handy for use in ultraportables, convertibles and 2-in-1s. Your CPU will deliver significant performance advancements with Willow Cove cores, level optimization of transistors, a 50% increase in L3 cache and working frequencies, AI accelerators and reduced latencies. It will also offer GPU enhancements with the new integrated Gen12. And all this while maintaining a minimum consumption.
Intel promised in its previous announcement «A drastic increase in performance in the AI section and a quantum leap in graphics performance». They will also be the first to have built-in support for the new Thunderbolt 4 interface, in full connectivity capability with Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, USB 4.0, and support for mobile broadband.
Another of the processing platforms that the chip giant is developing are the successors of the current «Comet Lake-S» and will be destined for desktop machines. Although they will continue to be manufactured in 14 nm ++ processes, they will improve the performance section and support for new technologies.
Intel cited a «New architecture» CPU, where the newest would be the new 500 series chipset that would include together with the LGA 1200 socket. Supposedly, it will be a 14 nm adaptation of the Willow Cove cores while maintaining the number of physical cores in Comet Lake, but with a significant increase in CPI of up to 20% compared to the current generation.
One of the most important novelties would be -at last- the support for PCI Express 4.0, the most advanced interface of current PCs. It would have 20 lanes in total and the CPU will connect directly and there will be 4 additional lanes (x16 for the GPU and x4 for the NVME drive). Another novelty will be the latest generation integrated graphics, Gen12, with significant performance improvement. There will be no lack of support for Thunderbolt and the rest of the advanced connectivity components.
Intel had to be aware (for a long time) of Apple’s strategy in favor of ARM. The answer is Lakefield, a new platform for Intel since it is the first that combines processing cores of different architectures. This design will sound familiar to you because ARM has been using it for years with big.LITTLE technology and we can find it on millions of smartphones or tablets.
The idea is to combine high performance CPU cores with other types of lower power cores, but with higher energy efficiency and lower cost to balance performance, battery life and the final sale price. Intel may have left the smartphone market, but it does not mean that it is going to be left out of the mobility segment and the first Lakefields, such as the Core i5-L16G7, are intended for the new generation of folding devices such as the Surface Neo of Microsoft.
Lakefield will be offered to all Intel partners and we have already seen some advancements such as the Samsung Galaxy Book S, and Lenovo announcements with the Yoga and HP. Intel’s new mobility platform will be the first on the market to support Windows 10X.
Intel launched an ambitious strategy for its graphics business, with the premiere of a new department led by Raja Koduri (former head of AMD’s Radeon Technologies group). The group will improve the integrated graphics of Intel processors and will also launch the first dedicated graphics of the chip giant in 20 years.
For the (unofficial) tests that have been coming, Intel will make an important leap in the graphics section with the integrated Gen12 graphics, offering sufficient performance so as not to have to mount additional dedicated graphics on a good number of models, at least those that do not engage in games.
More interesting will be the dedicated graphics (codename DG1), if as it promises it can compete with those offered by NVIDIA and AMD, at least at some performance levels. The green giant overwhelmingly dominates the dedicated graphics market and prices for the upper-middle range are high. The alternatives that may come are always positive and we hope very much for the new Intel strategy.
The Intel event will take place virtually on September 2 and we’ll tell you if it’s as “big” as advertised. We believe so because of everything discussed.