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Intel 10th Generation Comet Lake Desktop Processors and 400-Series Chipsets Announced, Here's what's New

Intel today launched its 10th generation Core desktop processor family and its companion Intel 400-series chipsets. Based on the 14 nm++ silicon fabrication process and built in the new LGA1200 package, the processors are based on the "Comet Lake" microarchitecture. The core design of "Comet Lake" and its IPC are identical to those of "Skylake," however Intel brought significant enhancements to the processor's clock-speed boosting algorithm, increased core- or thread counts across the board, and introduced new features that could interest enthusiasts and overclockers. The uncore component remains largely unchanged from the previous-generation, with support for DDR4 memory and PCI-Express gen 3.0. Use of these processors requires a new socket LGA1200 motherboard, they won't work on older LGA1151 motherboards. You can install any LGA115x-compatible cooler on LGA1200, provided it meets the thermal requirements of the processor you're using.

At the heart of the 10th generation Core processor family is a new 10-core monolithic processor die, which retains the same basic structure as the previous-generation 8-core "Coffee Lake Refresh" die, and 4-core "Skylake." The cores are arranged in two rows, sandwiched by the processor's uncore and iGPU blocks. A ring-bus interconnect binds the various components. The cache hierarchy is unchanged from previous generations as well, with 32 KB each of L1I and L1D caches; 256 KB of dedicated L2 cache per core, and 20 MB of shared L3 cache. The iGPU is the same Gen 9.5 based UHD 630 graphics. As we mentioned earlier, much of Intel's innovation for the 10th generation is with the processor's microcode (boosting algorithms).
Intel Core i9-10900K 10th Gen Intel Core Desktop Comet Lake Lineup 10th Gen Intel Core Desktop Comet Lake Lineup 10th Gen Intel Core Desktop Comet Lake Lineup

Intel i225 "Foxville" 2.5GbE PHY Has a Flaw Affecting Performance, "Rocket Lake-S" 2H-2020 Production Confirmed

Intel's i225 "Foxville" family of 2.5 Gbps wired Ethernet controllers have a design flaw that affects performance, according to an official advisory sent by Intel out to its motherboard- and OEM PC partners (notebook- and pre-built desktop manufacturers). There are no security implications of this advisory. The i225 family of 2.5 GbE chips are being extensively implemented in upcoming motherboard, desktop and notebook designs. The i225 "Foxville" family consists of the i225-V targeted at motherboards and notebooks with Intel chipsets that have integrated MAC; while the slightly pricier i225-LM has an embedded MAC, and targeted at other platforms (extensively found in high-end and upcoming AMD motherboards).

According to the advisory, there is a variance in the inter-packet gap (IPG), the interval between data packets transmitted on the physical layer. This variance can cause packet loss, resulting in reduced throughput (i.e. a performance loss). Interestingly, the IPG variance is seen only when the PHY is networked with select kinds of 2.5 GbE compliant routers and switches. Specific models of Netgear, Juniper, and AQuantia infrastructure chipsets exhibit this variance, while those by Cisco, Huawei, Buffalo, and Aruba, don't. Intel is continuing to re-evaluate the chip with more 2.5 GbE devices, and will update the list in the slide below as needed. There is no mitigation, besides manually setting the controller to work in 1 GbE mode in Intel Network Connections driver control panel. Intel is working on a new stepping of these chips, but those will come out only in the second half of 2020, aligned with "Rocket Lake-S" entering mass-production. This slide inadvertently confirms that its next-generation Core "Rocket Lake-S" processor will enter production in 2H-2020.

Rivet Networks Announces Killer Ethernet E3100-series 2.5GbE NICs Based on Intel "Foxville" PHYs

Rivet Networks today formally launched its 2.5 Gbps Killer Ethernet E3100-series NICs targeted at gaming notebooks and motherboards. These 2.5 GbE solutions are based on Intel's i225-series "Foxville" PHY chips. The new E3100G is based on the i225-V, and is targeted at platforms that have chipset-integrated MAC (most Intel chipsets). The E3100X is based on the i225-LM, and has an integrated MAC, making it better suited for gaming notebooks with Ryzen 4000H-series processors. The software side of things is where Rivet's innovations are.

The Killer Prioritization Engine detects network traffic from games and prioritizes it. This should improve latencies when competitive gamers are also streaming on the side. Under extreme network stress (think gaming+streaming+downloads), Rivet claims the tech can improve gaming latencies by up to 3 times. Next up is GameFast tech, an optimized HSP component of the driver that reduces CPU utilization by up to 10% and the network stack's memory footprint by 20%, compared to other 2.5 GbE solutions. Lastly, there's support for DoubleShot Pro, Killer's network teaming tech that lets you combine bandwidth of your wired and wireless network interface for up to 4.9 Gbps bandwidth. The Killer Control Center 2.0 app gives you control over this and the other features.

Intel Readies the i225-V "Foxville" Low-cost 2.5 Gbps Ethernet PHY

Intel is readying the i225-V "Foxville," its new generation of low-cost Ethernet PHY controllers for client-segment motherboards and notebooks. With it, the company will be mainstreaming 2.5 Gbps as the client-segment wired-networking standard, after nearly 15 years of 1 GbE dominance. The i225-V is expected to feature in the upcoming wave of socket LGA2066 motherboards for Intel's "Cascade Lake-X" HEDT processors, followed by the company's 400-series chipset that launches alongside the "Comet Lake-S" MSDT processors. The i225-V isn't the first of its kind, with the likes of Realtek and Broadcom having already launched 2.5 GbE PHYs. The Intel chip, however, is expected to mainstream the standard as it's currently the most popular GbE PHY brand with the success of the i219-V and i218-V.

Much like the i219-V, the i225-V is a low-cost PHY that relies on PCH-based Ethernet MAC and its proprietary PCIe-based bus that runs at half the data-rate of PCIe. This is precisely why the i219-V doesn't feature on AMD motherboards, but rather its pricier sibling, the i211-AT, which comes with an integrated MAC and a standard PCIe interface. Both chips are known to offer identical throughput performance, however, the i211-AT edges ahead with some features such as TCP segmentation, direct cache access, etc. The i219-V sells for as little as $1.5 per chip in high-volume reels to motherboard manufacturers, and the i225-V is expected to be priced roughly similar. In contrast, the i211-AT goes for almost $3.25 a pop. Intel is yet to publish documentation that details software features of the i225-V, but the Linux community is already on the job at developing drivers. 2.5 GbE uses existing Cat5E/Cat6 cabling requirements as 1 GbE, and hence has a better chance at mainstreaming compared to 10 GbE, which has been around for a decade, with little success in the client segment.
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