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Windows 10 Scheduler Aware of "Lakefield" Hybrid Topologies, Benchmarked

A performance review of the Intel Core i5-L16G7 "Lakefield" Hybrid processor (powering a Samsung Galaxy S notebook) was recently published by Golem.de, which provides an in-depth look at Intel's ambitious new processor design that sets in motion the two new philosophies Intel will build its future processors on - packaging modularity provided by innovative new chip packaging technologies such as Foveros; and Hybrid processing, where there are two sets of CPU cores with vastly different microarchitectures and significantly different performance/Watt curves that let the processor respond to different kinds of workloads while keeping power-draw low. This concept was commercially proliferated first by Arm, with its big.LITTLE topology that took to the market around 2013. The "Lakefield" i5-L16G7 combines a high-performance "Sunny Cove" CPU core with four smaller "Tremont" cores, and Gen11 iGPU.

The Golem.de report reveals that Windows 10 thread scheduler is aware of the hybrid multi-core topology of "Lakefield," and that it is able to classify workloads at a very advanced level so the right kind of core is in use at any given time. The "Sunny Cove" core is called upon when interactive vast serial processing loads are in demand. This could even be something like launching applications, new tabs in a multi-process web-browser, or less-parallelized media encoding. The four "Tremont" cores keep the machine "cruising," handling much of the operational workload of an application, and is also better tuned to cope with highly parallelized workloads. This is similar to a hybrid automobile, where the combustion engine provides tractive effort from 0 kph, while the electric motor sustains a cruising speed.

Intel Launches Lakefield Hybrid Processors: Uncompromised PC Experiences for Innovative Form-Factors

Today, Intel launched Intel Core processors with Intel Hybrid Technology, code-named "Lakefield." Leveraging Intel's Foveros 3D packaging technology and featuring a hybrid CPU architecture for power and performance scalability, Lakefield processors are the smallest to deliver Intel Core performance and full Windows compatibility across productivity and content creation experiences for ultra-light and innovative form factors.

"Intel Core processors with Intel Hybrid Technology are the touchstone of Intel's vision for advancing the PC industry by taking an experience-based approach to designing silicon with a unique combination of architectures and IPs. Combined with Intel's deepened co-engineering with our partners, these processors unlock the potential for innovative device categories of the future," said Chris Walker, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Mobile Client Platforms.

Intel "Elkhart Lake" Processor Put Through 3DMark

One of the first performance benchmarks of Intel's upcoming low-power processor codenamed "Elkhart Lake," surfaced on the Futuremark database, courtesy of TUM_APISAK. The chip scores 571 points, with a graphics score of 590 and physics score of 3801. The graphics score of the Gen11-based iGPU is behind the Intel UHD 630 gen 9.5 iGPU found in heavier desktop processors since "Kaby Lake," but we predict it's being dragged behind by the CPU (3801 points physics vs. roughly 17000 points of a 6-core "Coffee Lake" processor. The chip goes on to score 170 points in Time Spy, with 148 points graphics- and 1131 points physics-scores. Perhaps Cloud Gate would've been a more apt test.

The "Elkhart Lake" silicon is built on Intel's 10 nm silicon fabrication process, and will power the next generation of Pentium Silver and Celeron processors. The chip features up to 4 CPU cores based on the "Tremont" low-power architecture, and an iGPU based on the newer Gen11 architecture. It features a single-channel memory controller that supports DDR4 and LPDDR4/x memory types. The chip in these 3DMark tests is a 4-core variant, likely a Pentium Silver engineering sample, with its CPU clocked at 1.90 GHz, and is paired with LPDDR4x memory. The chip comes in 5 W, 9 W, and 12 W TDP variants.

Intel "Elkhart Lake" Atom Processor Surfaces on Chinese Components Marketplace, "Tremont" Meets Gen11

Intel's next-generation Atom processor is codenamed "Elkhart Lake." Built on the 10 nm silicon fabrication process, the chip combines up to four CPU cores based on the "Tremont" microarchitecture, with an iGPU based on the Gen11 architecture, and a single-channel memory interface that supports DDR4 and LPDDR4. Differentiation of the processor include 2-core and 4-core CPU variants, and TDP variants spanning 6 W, 9 W, and 12 W. "Tremont" is a lightweight CPU core by Intel that lacks AVX capabilities. Besides "Elkhart Lake," the core is featured in the "Lakefield" Core heterogenous processors as the their low-power cores.

Chinese electronics B2B marketplace CogoBuy.com has the processor listed, although without listing out any processor model numbers. The marketplace is accepting RFQs (requests for quotations) for bulk purchase of these BGA chips on trays, without listing prices. Also listed is an "industrial variant" of the chip, which has an increased TJmax of 110 °C (compared to 105 °C of the standard variant). The Gen11 iGPU wasn't detailed, but it's likely to have a lower execution unit count than the variant found on "Ice Lake" processors, while retaining its display- and media-engines (ability to pull 8K60 displays).

Intel Jasper Lake CPU Appears with Gen11 Graphics

Intel is preparing to update its low-end segment designed for embedded solutions, with a next-generation CPU codenamed Jasper Lake. Thanks to the popular hardware finder and leaker, _rogame has found a benchmark showing that Intel is about to bless low-end with a lot of neat stuff. The benchmark results show a four-core, four threaded CPU running at 1.1 GHz base clock with a 1.12 GHz boost clock. Even though these clocks are low, this is only a sample and the actual frequency will be much higher, expecting to be near 3 GHz. The CPU was spotted in a configuration rocking 32 GB of DDR4 SODIMM memory.

Jasper Lake is meant to be a successor to Gemini Lake and it will use Intel's Tremont CPU architecture designed for low-power scenarios. Designed on a 10 nm manufacturing node from Intel, this CPU should bring x86 processors to a wide range of embedded systems. Although the benchmark didn't mention which graphics the CPU will be paired with, _rogame speculates that Intel will use Gen11 graphics IP. That will bring a nice update over Gemini Lake's Gen9.5 graphics. That alone should bring better display output options and more speed. These CPUs are designed for Atom/Pentium/Celeron lineup, just like Gemini Lake before them.

Update: Updated the article to reflect the targeted CPU category.
Intel Tremont Intel Jasper Lake

GDP Win Max is an 8-inch Gaming Laptop with Intel's Ice Lake CPU

GDP, a company specializing in the creation of tiny laptops designed for gaming, has just announced the latest addition to its family of tiny notebooks - the GDP Win Max gaming laptop. This model is an 8-inch gaming laptop packing a lot for its size. On the outside, this laptop is equipped with joysticks on both sides, so there is even an option to directly play games using these joysticks instead of the built-in keyboard. The display of the device is an IPS screen that features a 1280×800 resolution, resulting in a 16:10 aspect ratio of the display. What's more important, however, is what is under the hood of the small body.

It is powered by Intel's latest Ice Lake CPU - the Intel Core i5-1035G7. Being a 4 core/ 8 threaded CPU with Gen11 Iris Plus 940 graphics it is accompanied by 16 GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 512 GB SSD. GDP has provided some of the benchmark results of this configuration which you can check out below, however, please take these with a grain of salt. As far as I/O goes, this small laptop is rather well equipped with plenty of ports. There is one Thunderbolt 3 port to connect to external GPU is it is needed. There is one USB Type-C 3.1 Gen2 port and two USB Type-A 3.1 Gen1 ports for the connection of external peripherals. If you wish to connect the laptop to the outside screen, there are options of HDMI, USB Type-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports for connection. A welcome addition to I/O is the inclusion of the RJ45 connector, meaning that if you have access to ethernet you can easily plug it into this laptop.
GDP Win Max GDP Win Max GDP Win Max Benchmarks GDP Win Max Benchmarks

Intel iGPU+dGPU Multi-Adapter Tech Shows Promise Thanks to its Realistic Goals

Intel is revisiting the concept of asymmetric multi-GPU introduced with DirectX 12. The company posted an elaborate technical slide-deck it originally planned to present to game developers at the now-cancelled GDC 2020. The technology shows promise because the company isn't insulting developers' intelligence by proposing that the iGPU lying dormant be made to shoulder the game's entire rendering pipeline for a single-digit percentage performance boost. Rather, it has come up with innovating augments to the rendering path such that only certain lightweight compute aspects of the game's rendering be passed on to the iGPU's execution units, so it has a more meaningful contribution to overall performance. To that effect, Intel is on the path of coming up with SDK that can be integrated with existing game engines.

Microsoft DirectX 12 introduced the holy grail of multi-GPU technology, under its Explicit Multi-Adapter specification. This allows game engines to send rendering traffic to any combinations or makes of GPUs that support the API, to achieve a performance uplift over single GPU. This was met with lukewarm reception from AMD and NVIDIA, and far too few DirectX 12 games actually support it. Intel proposes a specialization of explicit multi-adapter approach, in which the iGPU's execution units are made to process various low-bandwidth elements both during the rendering and post-processing stages, such as Occlusion Culling, AI, game physics, etc. Intel's method leverages cross-adapter shared resources sitting in system memory (main memory), and D3D12 asynchronous compute, which creates separate processing queues for rendering and compute.

Trio of Intel 10th Gen "Ice Lake" NG Processors Show Up on Intel Website

Three new 10th generation Core "Ice Lake-U" notebook processors surfaced on Intel website with a curious new nomenclature, possibly ahead of their "Q2-2020" launch. The three follow the processor model numbering convention of 10x0NGy, where x denotes the key model differentiator, and y the iGPU tier differentiator. Among the three parts are the Core i7-1060NG7, the Core i5-1030NG7, and the Core i3-1000NG4. The i5-1060NG7 and i5-1030NG7 are 10-Watt parts and feature 4-core/8-thread "Sunny Cove" CPUs, while the i3-1000NG4 packs a 2-core/4-thread "Sunny Cove" CPU, and is rated at 9 W TDP.

What sets the Core i5 apart from the Core i7, besides CPU clock speeds, are L3 cache sizes: 8 MB for the Core i7, and 6 MB for the i5. The Core i3 packs 4 MB. With an eye clearly on ultra-portable notebooks, these chips only feature dual-channel LPDDR4 memory interfaces, with memory clock speeds of up to 3733 MT/s. The i7-1060NG7 CPU ticks at 1.20 GHz and up to 3.80 GHz Turbo Boost; while the i5-1030NG7 runs between 1.10 GHz to 3.50 GHz. The i3-1000NG4 is clocked 1.10 GHz with 3.20 GHz Turbo Boost. The Core i7 and Core i5 parts pack an identical Gen11 iGPU: Iris Plus clocked between 300 MHz to 1.10 GHz for the i7 and up to 1.05 GHz for the i5. The Core i3 features 300-900 MHz iGPU clock speeds and fewer execution units.

Microsoft DirectX 12 Ultimate: Why it Helps Gamers Pick Future Proof Graphics Cards

Microsoft Thursday released the DirectX 12 Ultimate logo. This is not a new API with any new features, but rather a differentiator for graphics cards and game consoles that support four key modern features of DirectX 12. This helps consumers recognize the newer and upcoming GPUs, and tell them apart from some older DirectX 12 capable GPUs that were released in the mid-2010s. For a GPU to be eligible for the DirectX 12 Ultimate logo, it must feature hardware acceleration for ray-tracing with the DXR API; must support Mesh Shaders, Variable Rate Shading (VRS), and Sampler Feedback (all of the four). The upcoming Xbox Series X console features this logo by default. Microsoft made it absolutely clear that the DirectX 12 Ultimate logo isn't meant as a compatibility barrier, and that these games will work on older hardware, too.

As it stands, the "Navi"-based Radeon RX 5000 series are "obsolete", just like some Turing cards from the GeForce GTX 16-series. At this time, the only shipping product which features the logo is NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 20-series and the TITAN RTX, as they support all the above features.

Intel Core i5-L16G7 is the first "Lakefield" SKU Appearance, Possible Prelude to New Nomenclature?

Intel Core i5-L16G7 is the first commercial SKU that implements Intel's "Lakefield" heterogenous x86 processor architecture. This 5-core chip features one high-performance "Sunny Cove" CPU core, and four smaller "Tremont" low-power cores, with an intelligent scheduler balancing workloads between the two core types. This is essentially similar to ARM big.LITTLE. The idea being that the device idles most of the time, when lower-powered CPU cores can hold the fort; performance cores kick in only when really needed, until which time they remain power-gated. Thai PC enthusiast TUM_APISAK discovered the first public appearance of the i5-L16G7 in an unreleased Samsung device that has the Userbenchmark device ID string "SAMSUNG_NP_767XCL."

Clock speeds of the processor are listed as "1.40 GHz base, with 1.75 GHz turbo," but it's possible that the two core types have different clock-speed bands, just like the cores on big.LITTLE SoCs. Other key components of "Lakefield" include an iGPU based on the Gen11 graphics architecture, and an LPDDR4X memory controller. "Lakefield" implements Foveros packaging, in which high-density component dies based on newer silicon fabrication nodes are integrated with silicon interposers based on older fabrication processes, which facilitate microscopic high-density wiring between the dies. In case of "Lakefield," the Foveros package features a 10 nm "compute field" die sitting atop a 22 nm "base field" interposer.

Intel to Detail Xe Graphics Card Architecture at GDC

This year's Game Developers Conference (GDC) that will take place in March is forming to become a very interesting one. According to the GDC schedule platform, Intel is having a presentation about its upcoming Xe graphics card architecture. Saying that "Intel's brand new Xe Architecture, has been teased for a while, and is scheduled for release later this year! This update brings a significant compute, geometry and throughput improvements over today's widely used Gen9 and Gen11 graphics.", Intel is giving us a slight hint of what is to come.

Presented by Intel's senior developer relations engineer, Antonie Cohade, the talk will include an in-depth look of the Xe hardware architecture and its implementations. Said to introduce "powerful new features", the talk about Xe graphics should include a mention of the latest trend in the world of 3D graphics, ray tracing, and show us what are the capabilities of the new GPU architecture.

Intel Unveils Xe DG1-SDV Graphics Card, Demonstrates Intent to Seriously Compete in the Gaming Space

At a media event on Wednesday, Intel invited us to check out their first working modern discrete graphics card, the Xe DG1 Software Development Vehicle (developer-edition). Leading the event was our host Ari Rauch, Intel Vice President and General Manager for Graphics Technology Engineering and dGPU Business. Much like gruff developer-editions of game consoles released to developers several quarters ahead of market launch, the DG1-SDV allows software developers to discover and learn the Xe graphics architecture, and develop optimization processes for their current and future software within their organizations. We walked into the event expecting to see a big ugly PCB with a bare fan-heatsink and a contraption that sort-of looks like a graphics card; but were pleasantly surprised with what we saw: a rather professional product design.

What we didn't get at the event, through, was a juicy technical breakdown of the Xe graphics architecture, and its various components that add up to the GPU. We still left pleasantly surprised for what we were shown: it works! The DG1-SDV is able to play games at 1080p, even if they are technically lightweight titles like "Warframe," and aren't maxing out settings. The SDV is a 15.2 cm-long graphics card that relies on the PCI-Express slot for power entirely (and hence pulling less than 75 W).

Ray Tracing and Variable-Rate Shading Design Goals for AMD RDNA2

Hardware-accelerated ray tracing and variable-rate shading will be the design focal points for AMD's next-generation RDNA2 graphics architecture. Microsoft's reveal of its Xbox Series X console attributed both features to AMD's "next generation RDNA" architecture (which logically happens to be RDNA2). The Xbox Series X uses a semi-custom SoC that features CPU cores based on the "Zen 2" microarchitecture and a GPU based on RDNA2. It's highly likely that the SoC could be fabricated on TSMC's 7 nm EUV node, as the RDNA2 graphics architecture is optimized for that. This would mean an optical shrink of "Zen 2" to 7 nm EUV. Besides the SoC that powers Xbox Series X, AMD is expected to leverage 7 nm EUV for its RDNA2 discrete GPUs and CPU chiplets based on its "Zen 3" microarchitecture in 2020.

Variable-rate shading (VRS) is an API-level feature that lets GPUs conserve resources by shading certain areas of a scene at a lower rate than the other, without perceptible difference to the viewer. Microsoft developed two tiers of VRS for its DirectX 12 API, tier-1 is currently supported by NVIDIA "Turing" and Intel Gen11 architectures, while tier-2 is supported by "Turing." The current RDNA architecture doesn't support either tiers. Hardware-accelerated ray-tracing is the cornerstone of NVIDIA's "Turing" RTX 20-series graphics cards, and AMD is catching up to it. Microsoft already standardized it on the software-side with the DXR (DirectX Raytracing) API. A combination of VRS and dynamic render-resolution will be crucial for next-gen consoles to achieve playability at 4K, and to even boast of being 8K-capable.

Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 iGPU Beats AMD RX Vega 10: Benchmarks

Intel is taking big strides forward with its Gen11 integrated graphics architecture. Its performance-configured variant, the Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7, featured in the Core i7-1065G7 "Ice Lake" processor, is found to beat AMD Radeon RX Vega 10 iGPU, found in the Ryzen 7 2700U processor ("Raven Ridge"), by as much as 16 percent in 3DMark 11, a staggering 23 percent in 3DMark FireStrike 1080p. Notebook Check put the two iGPUs through these, and a few game tests to derive an initial verdict that Intel's iGPU has caught up with AMD's RX Vega 10. AMD has since updated its iGPU incrementally with the "Picasso" silicon, providing it with higher clock speeds and updated display and multimedia engines.

The machines tested here are the Lenovo Ideapad S540-14API for the AMD chip, and Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL with the i7-1065G7. The Iris Plus G7 packs 64 Gen11 execution units, while the Radeon RX Vega 10 has 640 stream processors based on the "Vega" architecture. Over in the gaming performance, and we see the Intel iGPU 2 percent faster than the RX Vega 10 at Bioshock Infinite at 1080p, 12 percent slower at Dota 2 Reborn 1080p, and 8 percent faster at XPlane 11.11.

TechPowerUp GPU-Z v2.25.0 Released

TechPowerUp today released the latest version of TechPowerUp GPU-Z, the definitive graphics subsystem information, diagnostic, and monitoring utility. Version 2.25.0 adds several new features, support for more GPUs, and fixes various bugs. To begin with, you'll notice that the main screen displays a second row of APIs supported by your graphics card. These include Vulkan, DirectX Raytracing, DirectML, and OpenGL. The last one in particular help you figure out if your graphics drivers have been supplied by Microsoft of your computer's OEM (and lack OpenGL or Vulkan ICDs). Among the new GPUs supported are Quadro P2200, Quadro RTX 4000 Mobile, Quadro T1000 Mobile; AMD Radeon Pro WX 3200, Barco MXRT 7600, 780E Graphics, HD 8330E; and Intel Gen11 "Ice Lake."

With GPU-Z 2.25.0, we've improved AMD Radeon "Navi" support even further, by making the clock-speed measurement more accurate, and displaying base, gaming, and boost clocks in the "Advanced" tab. A workaround is added for the AMD bug that causes fan-speeds to lock when idle fan-stop is engaged on custom-design "Navi" graphics cards; and a faulty "65535 RPM" fan-speed reading for "Navi." A BSOD caused in QEMU/KVM machines by MSR register access has also been fixed. Grab it from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 2.25.0
The change-log follows.

Intel Releases Graphics Drivers with Integer Upscaling - Only Available on Ice Lake

Intel over the weekend posted Graphics Software 25.20.100.7155, which delivers the much touted integer upscaling feature, branded as "Retro Scaling" by the company. The feature is a global toggle in the Graphics Command Center, which when enabled, upscales low-resolution retro games in a nearest-neighbor pixel multiplication model that looks better, when compared to classic bilinear upscaling, which alters the color data of multiplied pixels, causing the upscaled image to look blurry. This is a godsend for those playing old games on emulators, or even some of the newer indie games that retain a retro aesthetic.

Here's the catch - the feature is only available for Intel's Gen11 iGPU, found in the company's 10 nm "Ice Lake" processors. Intel currently ships "Ice Lake" only in its low-voltage and very low z-height packages, targeting notebooks and convertibles. The older Gen9.5 GPUs don't get access to the feature. The only other company with such a feature is NVIDIA, and even it restricts integer upscaling to only its latest "Turing" GPUs. Both NVIDIA and Intel leverage programmable scaling filters, instead of taking the programmable shader route. Intel is marking the feature as "beta" for now. Grab the drivers from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: Intel Graphics Software 25.20.100.7155 DCH

NVIDIA Beats Intel to Integer Scaling, but not on all Cards

NVIDIA, with its GeForce 436.02 Gamescom-special drivers. among several new features and performance updates, introduced integer scaling, a resolution upscaling algorithm that scales up extremely low-resolution visuals to a more eye-pleasing blocky pixellated lines by multiplying pixels in a "nearest-neighbor" pattern without changing their color, as opposed to bilinear upscaling, that blurs the image by attempting to add details where none exist, by altering colors of multiplied pixels.

Intel originally announced an integer upscaler this June that will be exclusive to the company's new Gen11 graphics architecture, since older generations of its iGPUs "lack the hardware requirements" to pull it off. Intel's driver updates that add integer-scaling are set to arrive toward the end of this month, and even when they do, only a tiny fraction of Intel hardware actually benefit from the feature (notebooks and tablets that use "Ice Lake" processors).

Intel Launches First 10th Gen Core Processors: Redefining the Next Era of Laptop Experiences

Today, Intel officially launched 11 new, highly integrated 10th Gen Intel Core processors designed for remarkably sleek 2 in 1s and laptops. The processors bring high-performance artificial intelligence (AI) to the PC at scale, feature new Intel Iris Plus graphics for stunning entertainment and enable the best connectivity with Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and Thunderbolt 3. Systems are expected from PC manufacturers for the holiday season.

"These 10th Gen Intel Core processors shift the paradigm for what it means to deliver leadership in mobile PC platforms. With broad-scale AI for the first time on PCs, an all-new graphics architecture, best-in-class Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and Thunderbolt 3 - all integrated onto the SoC, thanks to Intel's 10nm process technology and architecture design - we're opening the door to an entirely new range of experiences and innovations for the laptop."
-Chris Walker, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Mobility Client Platforms in the Client Computing Group

Intel Starts Shipping 10 nm Ice Lake CPUs to OEMs

During its second quarter earnings call, Intel announced that it has started shipping of 10th generation "Core" CPUs to OEMs. Making use of 10 nm lithography, the 10th generation of "Core" CPUs, codenamed Ice Lake, were qualified by OEMs earlier in 2019 in order to be integrated into future products. Ice Lake is on track for holiday season 2019, meaning that we can expect products on-shelves by the end of this year. That is exciting news as the 10th generation of Core CPUs is bringing some exciting micro-architectural improvements along with the long awaited and delayed Intel's 10nm manufacturing process node.

The new CPUs are supposed to get around 18% IPC improvement on average when looking at direct comparison to previous generation of Intel CPUs, while being clocked at same frequency. This time, even regular mobile/desktop parts will get AVX512 support, alongside VNNI and Cryptography ISA extensions that are supposed to bring additional security and performance for the ever increasing number of tasks, especially new ones like Neural Network processing. Core configurations will be ranging from dual core i3 to quad core i7, where we will see total of 11 models available.

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 Soaks Up Heather Lennon, AMD RTG Digital Marketing Head

Intel has hired another of AMD's top executives as Raja Koduri hopes to basically rebuild RTG under Intel's banner and its resources. This time it's Heather Lennon, who led AMD Radeon Technologies Group (RTG) marketing and had been with AMD for over 10 years. She directed the Team Red community and won PR Week award for Campaign of the Year 2014. Lennon bagged 40 awards for digital marketing for AMD, and is widely believed to be the brains behind the PR upper-hand AMD enjoys among tech forums and the DIY community.

Lennon now joins Intel as Senior Manager, Digital Marketing for Graphics, and will work closely with Mark Taylor, an ex-NVIDIA exec who now leads technical marketing at Intel Graphics. Other ex-AMD and ex-NVIDIA honchos include Chris Hook and Tom Peterson, respectively. Raja Koduri is overseeing Intel's ambitious project to make inroads to the discrete GPU market under the new Xe brand, not just to serve gamers and PC enthusiasts, but more importantly GPU compute, cloud compute, and AI markets. Koduri is also reportedly lending insights to Intel's new Gen11 integrated graphics architecture, which debuts with its 10 nm "Ice Lake" processors.

Several Gen11 GPU Variants Referenced in Latest Intel Drivers

The latest version of Intel Graphics drivers which introduce the company's latest UWP-based Graphics Command Center app, hide another secret in their INF. The file has pointers to dozens of variants and implementations of the company's next-generation Gen11 integrated graphics architecture, which we detailed in a recent article. Intel will implement Gen11 on two key processor microarchitectures, "Ice Lake" and "Lakefield," although later down the line, the graphics technology could trickle down to low-power Pentium Silver and Celeron SoC lines, too, with chips based on the "Elkhart Lake" silicon.

There are 13 variants of Gen11 on "Ice Lake," carved using execution unit (EU) count, and LP (low-power) aggressive power management. The mainstream desktop processors based on "Ice Lake," which are least restrained in power-management, get the most powerful variants of Gen11 under the Iris Plus brand. Iris Plus Graphics 950 is the most powerful implementation, with all 64 EUs enabled, and the highest GPU clock speeds. This variant could feature on Core i7 and Core i9 brands derived from "Ice Lake." Next up, is the Iris Plus Graphics 940, with the same EU count, but likely lower clock speeds, which could feature across the vast lineup of Core i5 SKUs. The Iris Plus 930 comes in two trims based on EU count, of 64 and 48, and could likely be spread across the Core i3 lineup. Lastly, there's the Iris Plus 920 with 32 EUs, which could be found in Pentium Gold SKUs. There are various SKUs branded "UHD Graphics Gen11 LP," with EU counts ranging from 32 to 64.

Intel "Elkhart Lake" is a Low-power SoC that Embeds Gen11 Graphics

The latest patches to Intel's open-source *nix drivers drop hints of a new low-power SoC in the works, codenamed "Elkhart Lake" featuring the company's most advanced integrated graphics solution. "Elkhart Lake" is a 10 nm SoC that combines a CPU complex based on the "Tremont" microarchitecture, with an iGPU based on the company's Gen11 architecture. Gen11 makes its debut with the company's 10 nm "Ice Lake" processors, promising big gains in graphics performance. Prototypes of a typical variant of Gen11 have been found to feature a compute throughput of 1 TFLOP/s, making them perform roughly on par with AMD's current "Raven Ridge" processors.

Intel Graphics Teases a New Gamer-Friendly Control Panel

Intel Graphics switched gears from being integrated graphics solutions for basic 2D desktop and video, to something that could appeal to gamers. The change appears to have been brought about by hiring of Raja Koduri, who led graphics teams at AMD and Apple. Intel discovered that its iGPUs can play many e-Sports games such as PUBG, World of Tanks, Warhammer: Vermitide 2, etc., and so, the company decided to do more for this segment of PC gamers that still games on iGPUs, beginning with regular driver updates that pack game-optimizations, the switch to the new DCH driver model for Windows 10, and apparently, a new Control Panel app designed for gamers.

Teased in a YouTube presentation by Intel Graphics, the Control Panel appears to show a game launcher and settings optimization tool modeled along the lines of GeForce Experience. Intel has also made big changes to the functional bits of the Control Panel, which deal with global display settings, monitor setup, etc. The new Control Panel gives us a direction of where Intel Graphics is headed: it doesn't want to leave behind gamers. The Gen11 iGPU which will be part of the company's 10 nm "Ice Lake" processors already spark rumors of massive 3D performance improvements over current Gen9.5, and reportedly have over 1 TFLOP/s of raw compute power. The company is also working on a discrete GPU lineup under the Xe brand, targeting a variety of market segments, including gamers.
The video presentation by Intel Graphics follows.

Intel's Foveros-based, Hybrid x86 CPUs Mean the Company Needed to Sprinkle some ARM

Intel at its architecture day revealed one of the more exquisite in-house designs for the company in recent years: a hybrid x86 chip that seems to imbibe from ARM's own big.Little design mantra. The new Hybrid x86 CPU that was announced takes this design choice in pairing a single, high-performance Sunny Cove core with four smaller Atom cores. This chip is built using Intel's Foveros manufacturing technology, which means a 22FFL IO chip serves as an active interposer, connected via TSVs to a 10nm die that contains both types of cores. The tiny chips measures just 12 x 12 x 1 mm (144 mm²), and looks to reduce footprint even further by including a POP (package on package) memory design.

The new Intel design is aimed at low-power environments, with the chip having been designed to work on a 2 mW standby power ratio, with less than a 7 W of power - for a big.Little five-core design and a 64 EU design with Gen11 graphics core. Intel's Jim Keller said that the company is testing the intricacies and advantages of this design internally, so more products based on this manufacturing and packaging mantra could pop up sometime in the future.
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