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Apple's Homebrew Mac Processor to Leverage Arm big.LITTLE

The first homebrew processor for Macs by Apple could leverage Arm big.LITTLE technology, according to a slide from a developer-relations presentation leaked by Erdi Özüağ of Donanim Haber. Apple is referring to the setup as "asymmetric cores" in its documentation, although it essentially is big.LITTLE, a technology that's been implemented by Arm SoC vendors since 2012. It combines groups of low-power (high-efficiency) and high-performance (low-efficiency) cores in response to processing demands by software, with the high-performance cores only been engaged when needed. Intel only recently introduced its rendition of this tech, called Hybrid Processing, with its Core "Lakefield" processor, and looks to scale it up with future chips such as "Meteor Lake."

Besides a multi-core big.LITTLE CPU, the Apple SoC features dedicated AI acceleration hardware, including a neural engine and matrix-multiplication hardware (dubbed ML accelerators), a dedicated video hardware encoder and decoder, and memory controller that's optimized for UMA (unified memory) for the iGPU and system memory. Apple has already started shipping Mac Mini prototypes with an Arm-based processor to its ISVs along with a special version of MacOS "Big Sur" and a wealth of software development kit to help port their x86 Mac software over to the new machine architecture.

Intel Lakefield Core i5-L16G7 Performance Benchmarks Leak

Performance benchmarks have started leaking for Intel-s upcoming Lakefield CPUs - low-power SoCs designed with Intel's latest technology. The Lakefield family of CPUs will make use of an Arm-similar big.LITTLE design, where this particular CPU, the Core i5-L16G7, will ship with four low-power "Tremond" cores and one large, high-performance "Sunny Cove" core for peak workloads. Built using Intel's Foveros stacking technology, these are the first chips to be built on Intel's modular platform, which should allow for pairing of I/O dies, chiplet-like CPU arrangements and memory in a 3D package. Physical distance reductions impact latency and power consumption, which should allow for an interesting design result.

Notebookcheck has tested an Intel Lakefield Core i5-L16G7 CPU that's being deployed on upcoming Samsung's Galaxy Book S, and the results are sort of a mixed bag. For one, Intel's Lakefield seems to be around 67% slower than the company's previous ultra-low-power architecture, Amber Lake. Something of this might have been caused by the fact that the Lakefield CPU didn't boost towards its advertised 3.0 GHz; it only managed to reach 2.4 GHz, which obviously hampered performance. Perhaps pre-release silicon is the culprit, or perhaps it's the galaxy Book S that's been configured with more restrictive thermal and power characteristics than the chip was actually designed to run at. The chip did manage to run the FireStrike test beating the Amber Lake-based Acer Swift 7 by 23%, though, so not all is looking bleak.

Intel Gives its First Comments on Apple's Departure from x86

Apple on Monday formalized the beginning of its departure from Intel x86 machine architecture for its Mac computers. Apple makes up to 4 percent of Intel's annual CPU sales, according to a MarketWatch report. Apple is now scaling up its own A-series SoCs that use Arm CPU cores, up to performance levels relevant to Macs, and has implemented support for not just new and upcoming software ported to the new Arm machine architecture, but also software over form the iOS and iPadOS ecosystems on Mac, starting with its MacOS "Big Sur" operating system. We reached out to Intel for some of its first comments on the development.

In a comment to TechPowerUp, an Intel spokesperson said "Apple is a customer across several areas of our business, and we will continue to support them. Intel remains focused on delivering the most advanced PC experiences and a wide range of technology choices that redefine computing. We believe Intel-powered PCs—like those based on our forthcoming Tiger Lake mobile platform—provide global customers the best experience in the areas they value most, as well as the most open platform for developers, both today and into the future."

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.

Samsung Launches the Galaxy Book S, Featuring Intel "Lakefield"

Samsung Electronics today announced the availability of Galaxy Book S with Intel processor, the latest addition to its leading computing device family. To ensure consumers have access to a wide range of computing devices to best fit their lifestyle, Samsung introduces the Galaxy Book S powered by the new dynamic Intel Core processor with Intel Hybrid Technology. Galaxy Book S joins other previously announced premium mobile laptops, designed to offer a seamless and connected experience across devices. Galaxy Book S is built for the next generation of users who are looking for a computing device that provides outstanding productivity, wide-ranging connectivity, enhanced mobility and expansive continuity across devices and operating systems to help them get more done in less time.

"The way we work has shifted and it's important we have computing devices that can adapt to this new working style. Users utilize multiple devices throughout their day to accomplish tasks, and demand that those devices provide them with enough flexibility to remain on the move and available," said Woncheol Chai, SVP and Head of Product Planning Team, Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. "With our new computing devices like the Galaxy Book S, we are providing users with an exciting opportunity to be productive, efficient and connected."

First Intel "Lakefield" Powered Samsung Galaxy Book S Listed on the Company's Canadian Store

One of the first Intel "Lakefield" heterogenous processor-powered devices, a Samsung Galaxy Book S model, is listed by Samsung on its Canadian online store. The Galaxy Book series typically consists of Arm-powered clamshell/convertible notebooks that use Windows 10 (Arm version). The device in question is a Galaxy Book S 13.3-inch notebook bearing model number NP767XCM-K01CA, and comes in two color trims - "Mercury Gray" and "Earthy Gold."

Under the hood is an Intel Core i5-L16G7 "Lakefield" heterogenous processor that has four "Tremont" low-power cores, and a "Sunny Cove" high-performance cores, in an arrangement rivaling Arm big.LITTLE, the first of many such chips from the company, as it taps into new technologies such as heterogenous cores and advanced Foveros chip packaging to design its future processors. The notebook offers Full HD resolution, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB or 512 GB of solid-state NVMe storage, 802.11ax 2x2 WLAN, and a 42 Wh battery, possibly with double-digit hour battery life. All of this goes into a 6.2 mm (folded) device weighing under a kilogram.

Intel "Tiger Lake" and "Lakefield" to Launch Around September-October, 2020

The 11th generation Intel Core "Tiger Lake" mobile processor and pioneering "Lakefield" heterogenous x86 processor could debut around September or October, 2020, according to a leaked Lenovo internal slide posted by NotebookCheck. It also points to Intel denoting future processors' lithography with Foveros 3D Packaging as simply "3D," and not get into a nanometer number-game with AMD (which is now in 7 nm and on course to 5 nm in 2022). This makes sense as Foveros allows the combination of dies built on different silicon fabrication nodes.

"Tiger Lake" is still denoted as a 10 nm as it's a planar chip. Intel is developing it on a refined 10 nm+ silicon fabrication process, which apparently enables Intel to increase clock speeds without breaking the target power envelope. "Tiger Lake" sees the commercial debut of Intel's ambitious Xe graphics architecture as an iGPU solution. "Lakefield," on the other hand, is a 5-core processor combining four "Tremont" low power x86-64 cores with a "Sunny Cove" high-powered core, in a setup rivaling Arm big.LITTLE, enabling the next generation of mobile computing form-factors, which Intel and its partners are still figuring out under Project Athena.

Intel's Alder Lake Processors Could use Foveros 3D Stacking and Feature 16 Cores

Intel is preparing lots of interesting designs for the future and it is slowly shaping their vision for the next generation of computing devices. Following the big.LITTLE design principle of Arm, Intel decided to try and build its version using x86-64 cores instead of Arm ones, called Lakefield. And we already have some information about the new Alder Lake CPUs based on Lakefield design that are set to be released in the future. Thanks to a report from Chrome Unboxed, who found the patches submitted to Chromium open-source browser, used as a base for many browsers like Google Chrome and new Microsoft Edge, there is a piece of potential information that suggests Alder Lake CPUs could arrive very soon.

Rumored to feature up to 16 cores, Alder Lake CPUs could present an x86 iteration of the big.LITTLE design, where one pairs eight "big" and eight "small" cores that are activated according to increased or decreased performance requirements, thus bringing the best of both worlds - power efficiency and performance. This design would be present on Intel's 3D packaging technology called Foveros. The Alder Lake CPU support patch was added on April 27th to the Chrome OS repository, which would indicate that Intel will be pushing these CPUs out relatively quickly. The commit message titled "add support for ADL gpiochip" contained the following: "On Alderlake platform, the pinctrl (gpiochip) driver label is "INTC105x:00", hence declare it properly." The Chrome Unboxed speculates that Alder Lake could come out in mid or late 2021, depending on how fast Intel could supply OEMs with enough volume.
Intel Lakefield

Intel's First 7nm Client Microarchitecture is "Meteor Lake"

Intel's first client-segment processor microarchitecture built on its own 7 nm silicon fabrication process will be codenamed "Meteor Lake." The codename began surfacing in driver files and technical documents, one of which was screengrabbed and leaked to the web by Komachi Ensaka. Not much else is known about it, except that it succeeds the 10 nm++ "Alder Lake," an ambitious attempt by Intel to replicate Arm big.LITTLE heterogenous core technology on the x86 architecture, by combining a number of high-power cores with high-efficiency cores on a single piece of silicon. Intel "Lakefield," headed toward mass-production within this year, is the first such heterogenous core.

Older reports throughout 2019-20 speculate "Meteor Lake" (known at the time only by its name), could come out at a time when Intel monetizes its "Golden Cove" high-performance CPU core. It's quite likely that like "Alder Lake," it could be a heterogenous chip targeting several client form-factors, mobile and desktop. The company could leverage its 7 nm process - claimed to rival TSMC 5 nm-class in transistor density - in turning up core-counts over "Alder Lake." We'll learn more about "Meteor Lake" as we crawl toward its 2022 launch window, if it still holds up.

Intel 10nm Product Lineup for 2020 Revealed: Alder Lake and Ice Lake Xeons

A leaked Intel internal slide surfaced on Chinese social networks, revealing five new products the company will build on its 10 nm silicon fabrication process. These include the "Alder Lake" heterogenous desktop processor, "Tiger Lake" mobile processor, "Ice Lake" based Xeon Scalable enterprise processors, DG1 discrete GPU, and "Snow Ridge" 5G base-station SoC. Some, if not all of these products, will implement Intel's new 10 nm+ silicon fabrication node that is expected to go live within 2020.

"Alder Lake" is a desktop processor that implements Intel's new heterogenous x86 core design that's making its debut with "Lakefield." The chip features up to 8 larger "Willow Cove" or "Golden Cove" CPU cores, and up to 8 smaller "Tremont" or "Gracemont" cores. This 8-big/8-small combo lets the chip achieve TDP targets around 80 Watts. Next up is "Tiger Lake," Intel's next-generation mobile processor family succeeding "Ice Lake." This microarchitecture implements "Willow Cove" CPU cores in a homogeneous setup, alongside Xe architecture based integrated graphics. "Ice Lake-SP" is Intel's next enterprise architecture that places mature "Sunny Cove" CPU cores in extreme core-count dies. Lastly, there's "Snow Ridge," an SoC purpose built for 5G base-stations. Image quality notwithstanding, these slides don't appear particularly new, and it's likely that COVID-19 has destabilized the roadmap. For instance, "Alder Lake," and "Ice Lake-SP" are expected to be 10 nm++ chips, a node that doesn't go live before 2021.

Intel Core i5-L15G7 Lakefield Processor Spotted

Intel has been experimenting with a concept of mixing various types of cores in a single package with a design called Lakefield. With this processor, you would get a package of relatively small dimensions that are 12-by-12-by-1 millimeters withing very low TDP. Thanks to the Twitter user InstLatX64 (@InstLatX64) we have some GeekBench 5 results of the new Lakefield chip. The CPU in question is the Core i5-L15G7, a 5 core CPU without HyperThreading. The 5C/5T would be a weird configuration if only Lakefield wasn't meant for such configs. There are one "big" Sunny Cove core and four "small" Tremont cores built on the 10 nm manufacturing process. This is the so-called compute die, where only the CPU cores are present. The base dies containing other stuff like I/O controllers and PHYs, memory etc. is made on a low-cost node like 22 nm, where performance isn't the primary target. The whole chip is targeting the 5-7 W TDP range.

In the GeekBench 5 result we got, the Core i5-L15G7 is a processor that has a base frequency of 1.4 GHz, while in the test it reached as high as 2.95 GHz speeds. This is presumably for the big Sunny Cove cores, as Tremont cores are supposed to be slower. The cache configuration reportedly puts 1.5 MB of L2$ and 4 MB of L3$ for the CPUs. If we take a look at performance numbers, the chip scores 725 points in single-core tests, while the multi-core result is 1566 points. We don't know what is the targeted market and what it competes with, however, if compared to some offerings from Snapdragon, like the Snapdragon 835, it offers double the single-threaded performance with a similar multi-core score. If this is meant to compete with the more powerful Snapdragon offerings like the 8cx model, comparing the two results in Intel's fail. While the two have similar single-core performance, the Snapdragon 8cx leads by as much as 76.9% in a multi-core scenario, giving this chip a heavy blow.
Intel Core i5-L15G7 Intel Lakefield

Intel Zooms in on "Lakefield" Foveros Package

The fingernail-size Intel chip with Foveros technology is a first-of-its kind. With Foveros, processors are built in a totally new way: not with the various IPs spread out flat in two dimensions, but with them stacked in three dimensions. Think of a chip designed as a layer cake (a 1-millimeter-thick layer cake) versus a chip with a more-traditional pancake-like design. Intel's Foveros advanced packaging technology allows Intel to "mix and match" technology IP blocks with various memory and I/O elements - all in a small physical package for significantly reduced board size. The first product designed this way is "Lakefield," the Intel Core processor with Intel hybrid technology.

Industry analyst firm The Linley Group recently named Intel's Foveros 3D-stacking technology as "Best Technology" in its 2019 Analysts' Choice Awards. "Our awards program not only recognizes excellence in chip design and innovation, but also acknowledges the products that our analysts believe will have an impact on future designs," said Linley Gwennap, of The Linley Group.

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.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is a Force Multiplier for Road Warriors at CES 2020

The ThinkPad brand from Lenovo has always represented serious business on the move, right from its IBM origins. At CES 2020, the company unveiled what is possibly the best foldable PC design we've seen till date, the ThinkPad X1 Fold. The X1 Fold is a 13.3-inch tablet that folds perfectly along the middle to either a book-like orientation, or as a laptop, in which the top half becomes the display, and the bottom half your keyboard of whichever possible layout. If a touchscreen keyboard doesn't appeal to you, you can dock an accessory that has a physical keyboard and trackpad.

Under the hood of the X1 Fold is an Intel "Lakefield" Hybrid x86 SoC that combines high-performance and high-efficiency x86 cores and dynamically allots workload to them while power-gating on the fly (a la ARM big.LITTLE). When it comes out mid-2020 (likely a Computex 2020 launch), the ThinkPad X1 Fold will be driven by Windows 10X, a new operating system Microsoft is designing specifically for dual-screen mobile computing devices. The Flex 5G is Lenovo's first business notebook with an integrated 5G modem (in addition to Wi-Fi 6), so you can enjoy high-speed mobile Internet on the move. Lastly, we spotted the Lenovo Ducati notebook, a co-branded product of the company's MotoGP team sponsorship.

Microsoft Unveils First Intel "Lakefield" Device and Surface Lineup with 10th Gen Core

Today, at a launch event in New York City, Microsoft previewed the Surface Neo, a category-defining device co-engineered with Intel. The dual-screen device will be powered by Intel's unique processor, code-named "Lakefield," that features an industry-first architecture combining a hybrid CPU with Intel's Foveros 3D packaging technology. It offers device-makers more flexibility to innovate on design, form factor and experience.

"The innovation we've achieved with Lakefield gives our industry partners the ability to deliver on new experiences, and Microsoft's Neo is trailblazing a new category of devices. Intel is committed to pushing the boundaries of computing by delivering key technology innovations for partners across the ecosystem," said Gregory Bryant, Intel executive vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group.

Intel Unveils "Lakefield" Heterogenous SoC and "Project Athena"

Intel today unveiled a killer new product with which it hopes to bring about as big a change to mobile computing as Ultrabook did some eight years ago. This effort is a combination of a new mobile computing form-factor codenamed "Project Athena," and an SoC at its heart, codenamed "Lakefield." Put simply, "Lakefield" is a 10 nm SoC that's integrated much in the same way as today's ARM SoCs, which combine IP from various vendors onto a single PoP (package-over-package) Foveros die.

The biggest innovation with "Lakefield" is its hybrid x86 multi-core CPU design, which combines four Atom-class low-power cores, with one Core-class "Sunny Cove" core, in a setup akin to ARM's big.LITTLE. Low-power processing loads are distributed to the smaller cores, while the big core is woken up to deal with heavy loads. The SoC also integrates a Gen 11 iGPU core, partial components to accelerate 802.11ax WLAN, 5G, an PoP DRAM and NVMe storage devices. The reference motherboard based on "Lakefield" is barely larger than an M.2 SSD!

Intel Could Develop its own big.LITTLE x86 Adaptation

big.LITTLE is an innovation by ARM, which seeks to minimize power-draw on mobile devices. It is a sort of heterogeneous multi-core CPU design, in which a few "big" high-performance CPU cores work alongside a few extremely low-power "little" CPU cores. The idea here is that the low-power cores consume much lesser power at max load, than the high-performance cores at their minimum power-state, so the high-performance cores can be power-gated when the system doesn't need them (i.e. most of the time).

Intel finds itself with two distinct x86 implementations at any given time. It has low-power CPU micro-architectures such as "Silvermont," "Goldmont," and "Goldmont Plus," etc., implemented on low-power product lines such as the Pentium Silver series; and it has high-performance micro-architectures, such as "Haswell," "Skylake," and "Coffee Lake." The company wants to take a swing at its own heterogeneous multi-core CPU, according to tech stock analyst Ashraf Eassa, with the Motley Fool.
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