Intel gives an outlook on the upcoming CPU architecture

Tiger Lake relies on a newly developed CPU core and new graphics processors. The SoC integrates Thunderbolt 4, USB 4 and PCIe Gen 4. In 2021, Intel will introduce SoCs with different cores that are trimmed for performance or energy efficiency.

Intel has presented the first details of the upcoming Tiger Lake CPU generation. It is based on the new Willow Cove micro-architecture, which in turn uses the new 10-nanometer SuperFin technology – a further development of the FinFET transistor.

Intel (Image: Intel)Thanks to the Willow Cove CPU cores, the Tiger Lake system-on-a-chip should enable a significant performance boost compared to the Ice Lake architecture. New Xe graphics cores should also increase the energy efficiency of the integrated graphics chips.

SuperFin, in turn, combines a revised FinFET transistor with a new capacitor called SuperMIM. Further improvements, including in manufacturing and the arrangement of the components, are intended to reduce resistances and enable higher voltages.

Tiger Lake chips integrate four Willow Cove cores and a low-power version of the Xe graphics cores called the Xe-LP. The SoC also contains chips for Thunderbolt 4, USB 4 and PCIe Gen 4. Willow Cove is said to have a new caching architecture and better protect against certain hardware attacks.

For the new Xe graphics architecture, Intel promises scalability in the range from teraflops to petaflops. It is Intel’s “most efficient micro-architecture for PC and mobile computing platforms”. This year Intel also wants to bring a separate graphics card called DG1 on the market. For data centers, Intel is also developing a high-performance variant called Xe-HP. Intel also intends to serve the market for gaming PCs in the future, with the Xe-HPG graphics cores optimized for this purpose.

Intel announced another SoC for 2021. Alder Lake will follow the example of modern mobile processors and combine different powerful CPU cores. They are developed under the names Golden Cove and Gracemont, with one core trimmed for performance and the other for energy efficiency.

Intel has been struggling for a long time with problems when switching to new manufacturing processes that allow smaller structures. Most recently, the company even separated from its technology boss. Previously, it postponed the start of the first 7-nanometer processors by six months.

While Intel is still struggling with 10 nanometer chips, AMD is already bringing desktop CPUs with integrated graphics on the market that are manufactured using a 7 nanometer process. TSMC has also already made the step to 7 nanometer structures and is about to produce 5 nanometer chips.

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