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Intel Clarifies on 10nm Desktop CPUs: Still on the Table, Likely in 2021

Intel in a quick rebuttal to the earlier reports from Monday, clarified that desktop processors based on the 10 nm silicon fabrication node are still on the company's roadmap. "We continue to make great progress on 10 nm, and our current roadmap of 10 nm products includes desktop," the company said in its one-liner. Monday's reports predicted a horror story where Intel would drag its 14 nm "Skylake" derived microarchitecture through to 2022, at which point it would be 7 years old.

The Tom's Hardware report that posts the statement, however, pins 14 nm to still last till 2021, if not the 2022 date predicted in the HardwareLuxx report. Intel will sell "Comet Lake" through 2020, succeeded by "Rocket Lake," which takes up much of 2021. Towards the end of 2021, Intel will release a desktop processor based on its matured 10 nm++ silicon fabrication node, which will lead the company into 2022, when it finally launches 7 nm EUV-based desktop chips.

Intel Scraps 10nm for Desktop, Brazen it Out with 14nm Skylake Till 2022?

In a shocking piece of news, Intel has reportedly scrapped plans to launch its 10 nm "Ice Lake" microarchitecture on the client desktop platform. The company will confine its 10 nm microarchitectures, "Ice Lake" and "Tiger Lake" to only the mobile platform, while the desktop platform will see derivatives of "Skylake" hold Intel's fort under the year 2022! Intel gambles that with HyperThreading enabled across the board and increased clock-speeds, it can restore competitiveness with AMD's 7 nm "Zen 2" Ryzen processors with its "Comet Lake" silicon that offers core-counts of up to 10.

"Comet Lake" will be succeeded in 2021 by the 14 nm "Rocket Lake" silicon, which somehow combines a Gen12 iGPU with "Skylake" derived CPU cores, and possibly increased core-counts and clock speeds over "Comet Lake." It's only 2022 that Intel will ship out a truly new microarchitecture on the desktop platform, with "Meteor Lake." This chip will be built on Intel's swanky 7 nm EUV silicon fabrication node, and possibly integrate CPU cores more advanced than even "Willow Cove," possibly "Golden Cove."

Intel Core i3-10100 Put Through SANDRA, Beats i3-9100 by 31% in Multimedia Tests

Intel's 10th generation Core desktop processor lineup, based on the 14 nm "Comet Lake" silicon, will begin with the Core i3-10100 succeeding the Core i3-9100 and i3-8100. To squeeze the most out of the microarchitecture that's essentially identical to "Skylake," Intel has decided to enable HyperThreading across the Core processor family, which means the i3-10100 is a 4-core/8-thread chip. Interestingly, Intel has given it just 6 MB of shared L3 cache. It's likely that the slightly beefed up i3-103xx will be differentiated with 8 MB of L3 cache. The chip has the same 3.60 GHz nominal frequency, and an unknown degree of Turbo Boost. The current-gen i3-9100 features Turbo Boost, so it's likely that its successor will also get the feature.

A SiSoft SANDRA online database entry for the i3-10100 surfaced, where it has an overall score of 382.61 MPix/s using multimedia tests, a significal step up from the roughly 290 MPix/s of the i3-9100 (a 31 percent performance increase). This increase in performance can be attributed to HyperThreading, as SANDRA's multimedia tests leverage it efficiently. Intel is expected to launch the Core i3-10100 around the $120 mark, competing with AMD's Ryzen 3 3200G.

Next-Gen Intel Core i3 to Sport Hyper Threading?

TUM_APISAK has done of his well-regarded snoopings again, and this one could have relevant information for the democratization of threads in next-gen Intel products. Intel has been slowly (as they can) increasing the amount of cores and threads in their respective product lines across i3, i5, and i7 CPUs after AMD's Ryzen onslaught. Luckily, from two core, four-thread Core i3 of a few years ago, we now seem to be entering a new era for entry-level computing, with a new SiSoftware benchmark seemingly showing an Intel next-gen "Comet Lake" Core i3 CPU sporting 4 physical threads with Hyper Threading enabled (so, basically, the equivalent of Skylake Core i7's from just three years ago).

The benchmark submission lists what appears to be a four-core, eight-thread Core i3-10100. It sports a 3.6 GHz base clock, which likely isn't final, so take that frequency with a grain of salt. This shuffle in the low-end definitely means an upscale in Intel's more powerful lineups, with HyperThreading likely being active for all of their product stack across Comet Lake - 4C, 8T Core i3; 6C, 12T Core i5; 8C, 16T Core i7; and a likely 10C, 20T Core i9 10900K that straddles the line between consumer and HEDT platforms. Of course, remember these are still built upon the 14 nm process, give or take a few "+" symbols, so don't expect too much in terms of energy efficiency gains.

Dozens of GIGABYTE Intel 400-series Chipset Motherboards Show Up at the EEC

Intel is inching closer to the launch of its socket LGA1200 mainstream desktop platform based on its 400-series chipset and 14 nm "Comet Lake-S" silicon. The platform provides a forward upgrade path to the company's 10 nm "Ice Lake-S" processors when they come out. "Comet Lake-S" is a derivative of the "Skylake" microarchitecture that's been scaled up to 10 CPU cores, and HyperThreading enabled across the board, with clock speeds pushed to the limits of the 14 nm silicon fabrication process. The TDP of some of these parts is reportedly set as high as 125 W. GIGABYTE is ready with dozens of motherboards for these processors, based on one of five chipsets - Z490, H470, Q470, B460, and H410.

The Intel Z490 Express will be the top-end chipset geared toward gamers and enthusiasts wanting to overclock their processors. The H470 will be a slight step down, and possibly lack multi-GPU and CPU overclocking support. The Q470 is its twin with certain enterprise-relevant features. The B460 is the mid-range chipset, targeting a spectrum of users including gamers who don't overclock their CPU. The H410 will be the entry-level chipset for everyone else. What's interesting about GIGABYTE's list of motherboards filed for regulatory clearance from the Eurasian Economic Commission, is that is looks partial. There are far too few AORUS-branded products.

AMD Updates Roadmaps to Lock RDNA2 and Zen 3 onto 7nm+, with 2020 Launch Window

AMD updated its technology roadmaps to reflect a 2020 launch window for its upcoming CPU and graphics architectures, "Zen 3" and RDNA2. The two will be based on 7 nm+ , which is AMD-speak for the 7 nanometer EUV silicon fabrication process at TSMC, that promises a significant 20 percent increase in transistor-densities, giving AMD high transistor budgets and more clock-speed headroom. The roadmap slides however hint that unlike the "Zen 2" and RDNA simultaneous launch on 7th July 2019, the next-generation launches may not be simultaneous.

The slide for CPU microarchitecture states that the design phase of "Zen 3" is complete, and that the microarchitecture team has already moved on to develop "Zen 4." This means AMD is now developing products that implement "Zen 3." On the other hand, RDNA2 is still in design phase. The crude x-axis on both slides that denotes year of expected shipping, too appears to suggest that "Zen 3" based products will precede RDNA2 based ones. "Zen 3" will be AMD's first response to Intel's "Comet Lake-S" or even "Ice Lake-S," if the latter comes to fruition before Computex 2020. In the run up to RDNA2, AMD will scale up RDNA a notch larger with the "Navi 12" silicon to compete with graphics cards based on NVIDIA's "TU104" silicon. "Zen 2" will receive product stack additions in the form of a new 16-core Ryzen 9-series chip later this month, and the 3rd generation Ryzen Threadripper family.

MSI Unveils New Creator Laptops Powered by 10th Gen Intel "Comet Lake" Processors

Taking the lead in producing laptops for creators, MSI continues to expand its dream-weaver series, now unveiling a complete product line designed specifically for creatives and content creators. MSI presents the world's very first laptops equipped with the latest best-in-class processors; its newest technological innovation will make a grand debut with Intel at the IFA exhibition from September 6th to 11th. The industry pioneering Prestige 14 & 15 feature the most powerful 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and True Pixel display. A must-have product paired with top-performing technology that will undoubtedly fulfill and enhance the life's work of creators.

As creative devices and software continue to improve, heavy computing ability has become a crucial function for creators. MSI, always striving to create breakthrough technologies and achieve innovative excellence, has introduced the pioneering Prestige and Modern series. Outfitted with the latest processor, the Prestige series are the world's first laptops powered by a 10th Gen Intel 6-core CPU and deliver at least 50% faster performance for a more fluid creative workflow, especially during multi-threaded processing.

Intel Expands 10th Gen Intel Core Mobile Processor Family

Today, Intel introduced eight additional 10th Gen Intel Core processors for modern laptop computing. The new mobile PC processors (formerly code-named "Comet Lake") are tailor-made to deliver increased productivity and performance scaling for demanding, multi-threaded workloads while still enabling thin-and-light laptop and 2 in 1 designs with uncompromising battery life. These processors are performance powerhouses that bring double digit performance gains compared with the previous generation. The lineup also includes Intel's first 6-core processor in the U-series, faster CPU frequencies, faster memory interfaces and the industry redefining connectivity with Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and broader scaling of Thunderbolt 3. More than 90 additional designs based on the 10th Gen Intel Core processor family will hit the shelves for the holiday season.

"Our 10th Gen Intel Core mobile processors provide customers with the industry-leading range of products that deliver the best balance of performance, features, power and design for their specific needs. From multitasking to everyday content creation, the newest additions to the family scale performance for even higher levels of productivity -- in addition to offering best-in-class platform connectivity via Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and Thunderbolt 3 that people expect with 10th Gen," said Chris Walker, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Mobility Client Platforms in the Client Computing Group.

Intel "Comet Lake" Not Before 2020, "Ice Lake-S" Not Before Q3-2020, Roadmap Suggests

Earlier this week, news of Intel's 10th generation Core "Comet Lake" processors did rounds as the company's short-term response to AMD's 3rd generation Ryzen processors. According to slides leaked to the web by Hong Kong-based tech publication XFastest, "Comet Lake" isn't Intel's short-term reaction to "Zen 2," but rather all it has left to launch. These processors won't launch before 2020, the slide suggests, meaning that AMD will enjoy a free rein over the processor market until the turn of the year, including the all-important Holday shopping season.

More importantly, the slide suggests that "Comet Lake" will have a market presence spanning Q1 and Q2 2020, meaning that the 10 nm "Ice Lake" won't arrive on the desktop platform until at least Q3 2020. It's likely that the LGA1200 platform which debuts with "Comet Lake" will extend to "Ice Lake," so consumers aren't forced to buy a new motherboard within a span of six months. The platform diagram put out in another slide junks the idea of an on-package MCM of the processor and PCH dies (which was likely ripped off from the "Ice Lake-Y" MCM platform diagram).

Intel 10th Generation Core "Comet Lake" Lineup Detailed

Intel's short-term reaction to AMD's 3rd generation Ryzen processor family is the 10th generation Core "Comet Lake." These processors are based on existing "Skylake" cores, but have core-counts increased at the top-end, and HyperThreading enabled across the entire lineup. The Core i3 series are now 4-core/8-thread; the Core i5 series a 6-core/12-thread, the Core i7 series are 8-core/16-thread, and the new Core i9 series are 10-core/20-thread. Besides core-counts, Intel has given its 14 nanometer node one last step of refinement to come up with the new 14 nm+++ nodelet. This enables Intel to significantly dial up clock speeds across the board. These processors come in the new LGA1159 package, and are not backwards-compatible with LGA1151 motherboards. These chips also appear to feature an on-package PCH, instead of chipset on the motherboard.

Leading the pack is the Core i9-10900KF, a 10-core/20-thread chip clocked at 4.60 GHz with 5.20 GHz Turbo Boost, 20 MB of shared L3 cache, native support for DDR4-3200, and a TDP of 105 W. Intel's new 10-core die appears to physically lack an iGPU, since none of the other Core i9 10-core models offer integrated graphics. For this reason, all three processor models have the "F" brand extension denoting lack of integrated graphics. The i9-10900KF is closely followed by the i9-10900F clocked at 4.40/5.20 GHz, the lack of an unlocked multiplier, and 95 W TDP rating. The most affordable 10-core part is the i9-10800F, clocked at 4.20 GHz with 5.00 GHz boost, and a TDP of just 65 W. Intel has set ambitious prices for these chips. The i9-10900KF is priced at $499, followed by the i9-10900F at $449, and the i9-10800F at $409.

Intel Drivers Reveal 400, 495 Series Chipsets for Comet Lake, Ice Lake - New Year, New Socket, Same 14 nm Process

Data extracted from Intel's latest Server Chipset Driver (10.1.18010.8141) mentions support for new chipsets, which will bring about compatibility for the company's upcoming Comet Lake chips. Comet Lake, if you remember, is Intel's latest gasp in the 14 nm process for CPUs, and should bring up to 10 cores to the consumer segment. The increase in maximum number of cores will naturally be Intel's justification for the need for new chipsets and sockets, due to "electrical incompatibilities" and increased requirements in the power delivery subsystem.

If you're looking for the latest and greatest changes to Intel's architecture and manufacturing process, you'll have to wait for Ice Lake, for which the 495 series chipset brings compatibility. But for that one, you'll have to wait until 2020. Let's see what AMD's Ryzen 2 brings to the table against Intel's current (and up to 10 nm Comet Lake) offerings. Even excluding platform longevity, AMD's architecture and core density really has been giving Intel a run for its money.

Intel Switches Gears to 7nm Post 10nm, First Node Live in 2021

Intel's semiconductor manufacturing business has had a terrible past 5 years as it struggled to execute its 10 nanometer roadmap forcing the company's processor designers to re-hash the "Skylake" microarchitecture for 5 generations of Core processors, including the upcoming "Comet Lake." Its truly next-generation microarchitecture, codenamed "Ice Lake," which features a new CPU core design called "Sunny Cove," comes out toward the end of 2019, with desktop rollouts expected 2020. It turns out that the 10 nm process it's designed for, will have a rather short reign at Intel's fabs. Speaking at an investor's summit on Wednesday, Intel put out its silicon fabrication roadmap that sees an accelerated roll-out of Intel's own 7 nm process.

When it goes live and fit for mass production some time in 2021, Intel's 7 nm process will be a staggering 3 years behind TSMC, which fired up its 7 nm node in 2018. AMD is already mass-producing CPUs and GPUs on this node. Unlike TSMC, Intel will implement EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography straightaway. TSMC began 7 nm with DUV (deep ultraviolet) in 2018, and its EUV node went live in March. Samsung's 7 nm EUV node went up last October. Intel's roadmap doesn't show a leap from its current 10 nm node to 7 nm EUV, though. Intel will refine the 10 nm node to squeeze out energy-efficiency, with a refreshed 10 nm+ node that goes live some time in 2020.

Intel 10nm Ice Lake to Quantitatively Debut Within 2019

Intel put out interesting details about its upcoming 10 nanometer "Ice Lake" CPU microarchitecture rollout in its recent quarterly financial results call. The company has started qualification of its 10 nm "Ice Lake" processors. This involves sending engineering samples to OEMs, system integrators and other relevant industry partners, and getting the chips approved for their future product designs. The first implementation of "Ice Lake" will not be a desktop processor, but rather a low-power mobile SoC designed for ultraportables, codenamed "Ice Lake-U." This SoC packs a 4-core/8-thread CPU based on the "Sunny Cove" core design, and Gen11 GT2 integrated graphics with 64 execution units and nearly 1 TFLOP/s compute power. This SoC will also support WiFi 6 and LPDDR4X memory.

Intel CEO Bob Swan also remarked that the company has doubled its 10 nm yield expectations. "On the [10 nm] process technology front, our teams executed well in Q1 and our velocity is increasing," he said, adding "We remain on track to have volume client systems on shelves for the holiday selling season. And over the past four months, the organization drove a nearly 2X improvement in the rate at which 10nm products move through our factories." Intel is prioritizing enterprise over desktop, as "Ice Lake-U" will be followed by "Ice Lake-SP" Xeon rollout in 2020. There was no mention of desktop implementations such as "Ice Lake-S." Intel is rumored to be preparing a stopgap microarchitecture for the desktop platform to compete with AMD "Matisse" Zen 2 AM4 processors, codenamed "Comet Lake." This is essentially a Skylake 10-core die fabbed on existing 14 nm++ node. AMD in its CES keynote announced an achievement of per-core performance parity with Intel, so it could be interesting to see how Intel hopes 10 "Skylake" cores match up to 12-16 "Zen 2" cores.

Intel to Refresh its LGA2066 HEDT Platform This Summer?

Intel is rumored to refresh its high-end desktop (HEDT) platforms this Summer with new products based on the "Cascade Lake" microarchitecture. Intel now has two HEDT platforms, LGA2066 and LGA3647. The new "Cascade Lake-X" silicon will target the LGA2066 platform, and could see the light of the day by June, on the sidelines of Computex 2019. A higher core-count model with 6-channel memory, will be launched for the LGA3647 socket as early as April. So if you've very recently fronted $3,000 on a Xeon W-3175X, here's a bucket of remorse. Both chips will be built on existing 14 nm process, and will bring innovations such as Optane Persistent Memory support, Intel Deep Learning Boost (DLBOOST) extensions with VNNI instruction-set, and hardware mitigation against more variants of "Meltdown" and "Spectre."

Elsewhere in the industry, and sticking with Intel, we've known since November 2018 of the existence of "Comet Lake," which is a 10-core silicon for the LGA1151 platform, and which is yet another "Skylake" derivative built on existing 14 nm process. This chip is real, and will be Intel's last line of defense against AMD's first 7 nm "Zen 2" socket AM4 processors, with core-counts of 12-16.

AMD 3rd Generation Ryzen Confirmed for Computex 2019

In a development that could explain why Intel is frantically stitching together 10 cores with the "Comet Lake" silicon, a slide leaked from a private event hosted by motherboard major GIGABYTE reveals that AMD's third generation Ryzen desktop platform could launch as early as Computex 2019 (June). The platform will include AMD's first client-segment processor based on its "Zen 2" microarchitecture, codenamed "Matisse," and its companion chipset, the AMD X570.

3rd generation Ryzen with X570 is expected to be the world's first mainstream desktop platform to feature PCI-Express gen 4.0. AMD could maintain the processor's backwards compatibility with older 300-series and 400-series chipset motherboards by shaping its PCI-Express implementation to use external re-drivers based on the motherboard. This could make 500-series motherboards slightly pricier than current AM4 motherboards. Backwards compatibility could mean that unless you really need PCIe gen 4.0, you should be able to save money by opting for older motherboards.

14nm 6th Time Over: Intel Readies 10-core "Comet Lake" Die to Preempt "Zen 2" AM4

If Intel's now-defunct "tick-tock" product development cadence held its ground, the 14 nm silicon fabrication node should have seen just two micro-architectures, "Broadwell" and "Skylake," with "Broadwell" being an incrementally improved optical shrink of 22 nm "Haswell," and "Skylake" being a newer micro-architecture built on a then more matured 14 nm node. Intel's silicon fabrication node advancement went off the rails in 2015-16, and 14 nm would go on to be the base for three more "generations," including the 7th generation "Kaby Lake," the 8th generation "Coffee Lake," and 9th generation "Coffee Lake Refresh." The latter two saw Intel increase core-counts after AMD broke its slumber. It turns out that Intel won't let the 8-core "Coffee Lake Refresh" die pull the weight of Intel's competitiveness and prestige through 2019, and is planning yet another stopgap, codenamed "Comet Lake."

Intel's next silicon fabrication node, 10 nm, takes off only toward the end of 2019, and AMD is expected to launch its 7 nm "Zen 2" architecture much sooner than that (debuts in December 2018). Intel probably fears AMD could launch client-segment "Zen 2" processors before Intel's first 10 nm client-segment products, to cash in on its competitive edge. Intel is looking to blunt that with "Comet Lake." Designed for the LGA115x mainstream-desktop platform, "Comet Lake" is a 10-core processor die built on 14 nm, and could be the foundation of the 10th generation Core processor family. It's unlikely that the underlying core design is changed from "Skylake" (circa 2016). It could retain the same cache hierarchy, with 256 KB per core L2 cache, and 20 MB shared L3 cache. All is not rosy in the AMD camp. The first AMD 7 nm processors will target the enterprise segment and not client, and CEO Lisa Su in her quarterly financial results calls has been evasive about when the first 7 nm client-segment products could come out. There was some chatter in September of a "Zen+" based 10-core socket AM4 product leading up to them.
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