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Intel Showcases Ice Lake iGPU Performance in Premiere Pro 14.2

As we reported earlier this week, the release of Adobe Premiere Pro 14.2 brought GPU acceleration to select NVIDIA and AMD GPUs taking advantage of NVIDIA's NVENC chips to boost encoding and decoding speeds. Intel has now showcased the improvements to encoding and decoding with Intel Quick Sync Video (QSV) on 11th generation iGPUs found in mobile Ice Lake chips with Adobe Premiere Pro 14.2.

Compared to the previous 9th generation graphics found in Skylake and Kabylake CPUs the new 11th generation iGPUs perform anywhere from 49-82% better. While impressive, these performance gains can only be found on limited low power 10 nm mobile chips with a maximum of four cores and are yet to arrive on desktop platforms.

Intel Gen12 Xe iGPU Twice as Fast as Gen11, Enters AMD Vega iGPU Territory

Intel Xe graphics architecture makes its commercial debut as an iGPU solution in the company's upcoming "Tiger Lake" mobile processors. The iGPU can be configured along three tiers, with GT1 featuring 48 execution units (EUs), GT2 80 EUs, and GT3 leading the pack with 96 EUs, all within a 15 W envelope (for the total chip). There's a higher tier still of GT3 that comes with higher boost frequencies, tapping into the chip's overall increased 28 W TDP, but this variant of "Tiger Lake" could likely be an Apple-exclusive like its "Ice Lake" based predecessor.

NotebookCheck compiled a 3DMark FireStrike comparison between the various tiers of the Xe iGPU, and compared it to the Gen11 iGPU found with current-generation "Ice Lake-U" processors. The graph doesn't put out scores, but relative performance. Apparently, the 48 EU version of Gen12 Xe is a little over twice as fast as Gen11 GT1, and faster than even the 64 EU Gen11 GT2. The Gen12 GT2 with 80 EUs is around 1.7x faster than the Gen11 GT2 (64 EU). The 96 EU GT3 trim is over twice as fast, and its 28 W variant faster still. These performance give Gen12 a shot against AMD's Radeon Vega-based iGPU solution found in "Renoir." AMD has slimmed the number of CUs down to 8 (512 SP) with "Renoir," down from 11 CUs in the previous generation, compensating for it with higher GPU engine clocks.

Intel Gen12 Xe DG1 OpenCL Performance Geekbenched

Intel's ambitious Xe graphics architecture is expected to make its first commercial debut as an iGPU that's part of the company's 11th gen Core "Tiger Lake" mobile processors, but it already received a non-commercial distribution as a discrete GPU called the DG1, with Intel shipping it to its independent software vendor ecosystem partners to begin exploratory work on Xe. One such ISV paired the card with a Core i7-8700 processor, and put it through Geekbench. While the Geekbench device identification doesn't mention "DG1," we lean toward the possibility looking at its 96 EU configuration, and 1.50 GHz clock speed, and 3 GB memory.

The Geekbench run only covers OpenCL performance of the selected device: "Intel(R) Gen12 Desktop Graphics Controller." The total score is 55373 points, with 3.53 Gpixels/s in "Sorbel," 1.30 Gpixels/sec in Histogram Equalization, 16 GFLOPs in SFFT, 1.62 GPixels/s in Gaussian Blur, 4.51 Msubwindows/s in Face Detection, 2.88 Gpixels/s in RAW, 327.4 Mpixels/s in DoF, and 13656 FPS in Particle Physics. These scores roughly match the 11 CU Radeon Vega iGPU found in AMD "Picasso" Ryzen 5 3400G processors.

AMD Ryzen 7 4700G "Renoir" Desktop Processor Pictured

Here is the first picture of the AMD Ryzen 7 4700G, the company's upcoming socket AM4 APU based on the 7 nm "Renoir" silicon, courtesy of VideoCardz. The picture reveals a standard-looking socket AM4 chip with commercial name and OPN markings (100-000000146), matching the Igor's Lab OPN code leak from earlier this week. The Ryzen 7 4700G offers an 8-core/16-thread CPU based on the "Zen 2" microarchitecture, and an integrated graphics solution that combines the SIMD machinery of the "Vega" graphics architecture, with the updated display- and media engines of "Navi." The iGPU is configured with 8 CUs (512 stream processors), which on the 4700G has an impressive maximum engine boost clock of 2.10 GHz, according to the Igor's Lab story.

The 8-core/16-thread CPU of the Ryzen 7 4700G has a nominal clock speed of 3.60 GHz, and a maximum boost frequency of 4.45 GHz, with several Precision Boost power-states in both directions of the nominal clock. The CPU features 512 KB of L2 cache per core, and 8 MB of shared L3 cache (4 MB per CCX). The iGPU engine clock goes all the way up to 2.10 GHz, which could help it overcome some of the CU deficit vs. "Picasso," which has 11 CUs (704 stream processors), but clocked only up to 1.40 GHz. Since the Ryzen 5 3400G has an unlocked multiplier, it stands to reason that even the 4700G could. If the platform I/O of "Renoir" in its mobile avatar is anything to go by, then the 4700G could feature a limited PCI-Express x8 lane setup for its PEG port. AMD is rating the TDP of the 4700G at 65 W.

Intel Xe DG1 Silicon Not Meant for Desktop Add-on Cards, Only as an MGPU

Intel's 10 nm Xe DG1 silicon made its first public appearance as the DG1-SDV (software development vehicle), a desktop PCIe graphics cards that Intel shipped out to its ISVs (independent software vendors), allowing them to begin preparing software for the Xe architecture. Argonne National Laboratory, the organization behind the Aurora Supercomputing Project that implements Xe HP "Ponte Vecchio" super-scalar compute processors, in its presentation, took a brief technical detour talking a bit about the DG1-SDV.

In the presentation, it is revealed that Intel will indeed monetize (or "productize") the silicon at the heart of the DG1-SDV, only not as a desktop graphics card. The chip will be sold as a mobile GPU, not even as an MXM, but as a GPU meant to be hardwired along with its dedicated memory onto notebooks' mainboards. We predict Intel is attempting to tap into the market segment where NVIDIA sells its GeForce MX300 line of entry-level discrete GPUs. Earlier this week, we spotted a discrete GPU with the specs of the DG1 having significantly increased 1.50 GHz GPU clocks, resulting in a FP32 throughput rivaling the AMD Radeon RX 560 or the "Vega" based iGPU of "Renoir." The Xe architecture will also be released as an iGPU solution, powering Intel's "Tiger Lake" Core mobile processor. Find the Aurora presentation here (PDF).

Intel Posts Windows 10 May 2020 Update-ready Graphics Drivers

Intel today released its first Graphics Drivers ready for the upcoming Windows 10 May 2020 Update (2004). Version 27.20.100.8187 of Intel Graphics Drivers are WDDM 2.7 compliant, which means support for Shader Model 6.5, and Dolby Vision, on Gen 9.5 or later iGPUs. The drivers also add readiness for OneAPI, Intel's ambitious unified programming model for x86 processors, iGPU execution units, and future Xe compute processors. For gamers, the latest drivers add optimization for "Gears Tactics," "XCOM: Chimera Squad," and "Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered), on Iris Plus or later iGPUs. As with the previous drivers, these drivers are OEM-unlocked.
DOWNLOAD: Intel Graphics Drivers 27.20.100.8187

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 10th Gen Core "Comet Lake" Desktop Processor CPUID, TDP, and cTDP Revealed

Internal documents of Intel's 10th generation Core "Comet Lake" processor family, leaked by momomo_us, reveal the CPUID, TDP, and configurable-TDP values of the various desktop SKUs. Intel broadly classifies Comet Lake by core-count and companion iGPU tier. The 10-core Comet Lake die ships with 125 W, 65 W, and 35 W TDP, for the K/KF, locked, and T-SKUs, respectively.

For the desktop Comet Lake-S, there are only two iGPU tiers, GT2 (iGPU present in UHD 630 flavor), or completely disabled (denoted as GT0). The charts detailing the non-Turbo clock speeds reveal that the presence or absence of iGPU has no impact on TDP, cTDP, or CPU frequencies. The "Comet Lake" 10-core + GT2 silicon is listed with a CPUID of A0655h, while the 6-core + GT2 and 4-core + GT2 variants share the A0653h CPUID.

ASUS Readies Zenbook 14 Model Combining Ryzen 4000 and GeForce MX350 Graphics

ASUS is giving finishing touches to the launch of a new Zenbook 14 (UX434IQ) model with a combination of a Ryzen 4000 "Renoir" processor and NVIDIA's entry-level GeForce MX350 discrete graphics. Although never pictured and with no confirmation of whether it gets the swanky ScreenPad (a color touchscreen that works like the notebook's trackpad); the combine surfaced in a Futuremark database submission.

The Zenbook 14 (UX434IQ) combines an AMD Ryzen 7 4700U (8-core/8-thread) processor with NVIDIA GeForce MX350 discrete graphics, and more interestingly, 16 GB of LPDDR4x-4266 memory. The "Pascal" based MX350 graphics features 640 CUDA cores, and a 64-bit GDDR5 memory interface holding 2 GB of memory. It's marketed to offer a 2.5x performance uplift against an Intel Gen 9.5 iGPU, but we're not sure if it makes even a 1.5x uplift over the iGPU of the 4700U (448 "Vega" stream processors, 1600 MHz engine clock, plenty of memory bandwidth at its disposal thanks to LPDDR4x). The notebook also packs a decent Samsung PM981 1 TB NVMe SSD.

Intel Gen12 Xe iGPU Could Match AMD's Vega-based iGPUs

Intel's first integrated graphics solution based on its ambitious new Xe graphics architecture, could match AMD's "Vega" architecture based iGPU solutions, such as the one found in its latest Ryzen 4000 series "Renoir" iGPUs, according to leaked 3DMark FireStrike numbers put out by @_rogame. Benchmark results of a prototype laptop based on Intel's "Tiger Lake-U" processor surfaced on the 3DMark database. This processor embeds Intel's Gen12 Xe iGPU solution, which is purported to offer significant performance gains over current Gen11 and Gen9.5 based iGPUs.

The prototype 2-core/4-thread "Tiger Lake-U" processor with Gen12 graphics yields a 3DMark FireStrike score of 2,196 points, with a graphics score of 2,467, and 6,488 points physics score. These scores are comparable to 8 CU Radeon Vega iGPU solutions. "Renoir" tops out at 8 CUs, but shores up performance to the 11 CU "Picasso" levels by other means. Besides tapping into the 7 nm process to increase engine clocks, improve the boosting algorithm, and modernizing the display- and multimedia engines; AMD's iGPU is largely based on the same 3-year old "Vega" architecture. Intel Gen12 Xe makes its debut with the "Tiger Lake" microarchitecture slated for 2021.

Intel Core i9-10900F Can Allegedly Pull Up to 224 W

As if reports of Intel's latest mobile flagship Core i9-10980HK pulling up to 135 W power in short bursts to achieve its 5.30 GHz Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB) frequency weren't bad enough, it appears like the 10th generation Core desktop processors won't win Intel any prizes in the energy efficiency contests. According to tech Tweeter "@9550Pro," citing Chinese enthusiast @Wolstame, with a reasonably high hit-rate with tech rumors, Intel's upcoming Core i9-10900F processor can pull up to 224 Watts of power. The i9-10900F isn't even an unlocked chip like i9-10900K, but rather an iGPU-disabled version of the locked i9-10900.

The i9-10900F 10-core/20-thread processor allegedly has its PL1 value set at 170 W, and PL2 at 224 W. The latter is probably needed to give the chip's TVB algorithm power headroom to achieve either the chip's 5.30 GHz TVB max frequency, or its maximum all-core boost frequency of 4.50 GHz. The latter could be Intel's strategy to take on AMD's Ryzen 9 3900X and 3950X in multi-threaded benchmarks (run 10 cores at 4.50 GHz). Intel is possibly looking to price the i9-10900 series (i9-10900F, i9-10900, i9-10900KF, and i9-10900K) at price-points ranging between $450-500, if not more. With these power-draw figures, it's all but certain that Intel could recommend serious cooling solutions for the i9-10900 series, at least a 240 mm x 120 mm AIO. AMD recommends a 280 mm x 140 mm AIO for the 16-core 3950X.

AMD 4th Gen Ryzen Desktop Processors to Launch Around September 2020

AMD's 4th generation Ryzen desktop processors are expected to launch around September 2020, sources in the motherboard industry tell DigiTimes. Codenamed "Vermeer," successor to "Matisse," these processors will be socket AM4 multi-chip modules of up to two CPU complex dies based on the "Zen 3" microarchitecture, combined with an I/O controller die. The "Zen 3" chiplets are expected to be fabricated on a newer 7 nm-class process by TSMC, either N7P or N7+. The biggest design change with "Zen 3" is the doing away of CCX arrangement of CPU cores, with each chiplet holding a common block of cores sharing a last-level cache. This, along with clock speed headroom gains from the new node are expected to yield generational price-performance increases.

The "Zen 2" based 8-core "Renoir" die is also expected to make its socket AM4 debut within 2020, succeeding the "Picasso" based quad-core Ryzen 3000-series APUs. This is a particularly important product for AMD, as it is expected to compete with Intel's 10th generation Core i5 6-core/12-thread processors in terms of pricing, while offering more cores (8-core/16-thread) and a faster iGPU. The 4th gen Ryzen socket AM4 processor lineup will launch alongside AMD's 600-series motherboard chipset, with forwards- and backwards-compatibility (i.e., "Vermeer" and "Renoir" working with older chipsets, and older AM4 processors working on 600-series chipset motherboards). AMD was originally expected to unveil these processors at the 2020 Computex trade-show in June, but Computex itself is rescheduled to late-September.

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.

Intel Rocket Lake-S Platform Detailed, Features PCIe 4.0 and Xe Graphics

Intel's upcoming Rocket Lake-S desktop platform is expected to arrive sometime later this year, however, we didn't have any concrete details on what will it bring. Thanks to the exclusive information obtained by VideoCardz'es sources at Intel, there are some more details regarding the RKL-S platform. To start, the RKL-S platform is based on a 500-series chipset. This is an iteration of the upcoming 400-series chipset, and it features many platform improvements. The 500-series chipset based motherboards will supposedly have an LGA 1200 socket, which is an improvement in pin count compared to LGA 1151 socket found on 300 series chipset.

The main improvement is the CPU core itself, which is supposedly a 14 nm adaptation of Tiger Lake-U based on Willow Cove core. This design is representing a backport of IP to an older manufacturing node, which results in bigger die space due to larger node used. When it comes to the platform improvements, it will support the long-awaited PCIe 4.0 connection already present on competing platforms from AMD. It will enable much faster SSD speeds as there are already PCIe 4.0 NVMe devices that run at 7 GB/s speeds. With RKL-S, there will be 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes present, where four would go to the NVMe SSD and 16 would go to the PCIe slots from GPUs. Another interesting feature of the RKL-S is the addition of Xe graphics found on the CPU die, meant as iGPU. Supposedly based on Gen12 graphics, it will bring support for HDMI 2.0b and DisplayPort 1.4a connectors.
Intel Rocket Lake-S Platform

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.

A Peek Under the Hood of Intel IGCC Game Capture (beta) Feature

Late last week, Intel released a public beta of its own low-'cost' game capture and streaming feature that's part of Intel Graphics Command Center (IGCC) application that's distributed through Microsoft Store. At the time, Intel claimed that those gaming on Intel Graphics can yet record or stream their games with negligible performance impact. We now have a couple of under the hood details on how this feature works. The Game Capture and Streaming feature lets people record their gameplay or stream it to popular social networks such as Twitch, YouTube, etc.

Intel's game capture and streaming feature leverages the VDEnc hardware AVC encoder featured in the company's Gen9 (and later) iGPUs, found on "Skylake" (or later) microarchitectures. At default quality settings, the feature only needs VDEnc, and hence offers practically zero iGPU performance impact when rendering 3D. At higher quality settings by the user, however, the feature switches to a dual-pipe encoder that taps into the compute power of the iGPU's execution units (EUs). These hence come with a performance impact on the iGPU when rendering 3D. We've also learned that IGCC game capture tech does not leverage discrete GPUs of other brands.

Intel 10th Generation Core "Comet Lake-S" Desktop Processor Boxed Retail SKUs Listed

Ahead of their rumored April 2020 availability product codes of Intel's upcoming 10th generation Core "Comet Lake-S" desktop processors leaked to the web, courtesy momomo_us. The lineup includes 22 individual SKUs, although it's unknown if all of these will be available in April. There are four 10-core/20-thread SKUs: the i9-10900K, the i9-10900KF, the i9-10900, and the i9-10900F. The "K" extension denotes unlocked multiplier, while the "F" extension indicates lack of integrated graphics. "KF" indicates a SKU that's both unlocked and lacking an iGPU. Similarly, there are four 8-core/16-thread Core i7 SKUs, the i7-10700K, the i7-10700KF, the i7-10700, and the i7-10700F.

The 6-core/12-thread Core i5 family has several SKUs besides the range-topping i5-10600K and its siblings, i5-10600KF and i5-10600. These include the i5-10500, i5-10400, and i5-10400F. The quad-core Core i3 lineup includes the i3-10320, i3-10300, and i3-10100. The former two have 8 MB L3 cache, while the i3-10100 has 6 MB. Among the entry-level Pentium SKUs are the G6600, G6500, G6400, G5920, and G5900.

Intel 10th Gen Core "Comet Lake-S" IGP-Disabled Processor Lineup Detailed

With its 9th generation Core processor series, Intel adapted an interesting strategy to maximize its yields and increase competitiveness of its desktop processors. The "F" model number extension would go on to denote a lack of integrated graphics. It could be used in conjunction with other extensions such as "K" (unlocked base-clock multiplier). Completely disabling integrated graphics would allow Intel to salvage dies on which the iGPU component, which takes up a large chunk of the die area, doesn't clear validation. Intel refers to this as "GT0" (graphics tier zero), to fit into its iGPU tier differentiation scheme. The company also tends to price its "F" SKUs slightly lower, letting it compete with AMD Ryzen chips better. A case in point is the Core i5-9400F, often found under $160, and proving a strong alternative to the Ryzen 5 series for gaming PCs. With the 10th generation "Comet Lake-S" family, the company is planning several new "F" and "KF" SKUs.

According to a company slide leaked to the web by InformaticaCero, there are at least three each of "F" and "KF" SKUs in the works. The lineup includes the 10-core/20-thread i9-10900KF and i9-10900F; the 8-core/16-thread i7-10700KF and i7-10700F; and the 6-core/12-thread i5-10600KF and i5-10600F. Clock speeds and cache sizes of these chips are identical to their corresponding non-F SKUs (eg: i7-10700KF clock-speeds being identical to those of the i7-10700K). Provided they're sold at slightly lower prices, the lack of an iGPU doesn't affect target buyers of these chips - PC gamers or creative professionals who use graphics cards and don't need an iGPU. Competing Ryzen processors lack iGPUs by design. Intel is expected to debut its 10th generation Core "Comet Lake-S" processors in April.

Apple Finally Buying AMD CPUs? Pointers to Ryzens Found in MacOS Beta

Since its switch to the x86 machine architecture from PowerPC in the mid-2000s, Apple has been consistent with Intel as its sole supplier of CPUs for its Macbooks, iMac desktops, and Mac Pro workstations. The company's relationship with rival AMD has been limited to sourcing discrete GPUs. If pieces of code from a MacOS beta is anything to go buy, Apple could bite the AMD bullet very soon. References to several AMD processors were found in MacOS 10.15.4 Beta 1. These include the company's "Picasso," "Renoir," and "Van Gogh" APUs.

It's very likely that with increasing CPU IPC and energy-efficiency, Apple is finally seeing the value in single-chip solutions from AMD that have a good enough combination of CPU and iGPUs. The 7 nm "Renoir" silicon in particular could change the mobile and desktop computing segments, thanks to its 8-core "Zen 2" CPU, and a "Vega" based iGPU that's highly capable in non-gaming and light-gaming tasks. AMD's proprietary SmartShift feature could also be leveraged, which dynamically switches between the iGPU and an AMD discrete GPU.

Zhaoxin KaiXian x86 Processor Now Commercially Available to the DIY Channel

Zhaoxin is a brand that makes multi-core 64-bit x86 processors primarily for use in Chinese state IT infrastructure. It's part of the Chinese Government's ambitious plan to make its IT hardware completely indigenous. Zhaoxin's x86-64 CPU cores are co-developed by licensee VIA, specifically its CenTaur subsidiary that's making NCORE AI-enabled x86 processors. The company's KaiXian KX-6780A processor is now commercially available in China to the DIY market in the form of motherboards with embedded processors.

The KaiXian KX-6780A features an 8-core/8-thread x86-64 CPU clocked up to 2.70 GHz, 8 MB of last-level cache, a dual-channel DDR4-3200 integrated memory controller, a PCI-Express gen 3.0 root-complex, and an iGPU possibly designed by VIA's S3 Graphics division, which supports basic display and DirectX 11.1 readiness. The CPU features modern ISA, with instruction sets that include AVX, AES-NI, SHA-NI, and VT-x comparable virtualization extensions. The chip has been fabricated on TSMC 16 nm FinFET process.

Intel 400-series Chipset Motherboards to Lack PCIe Gen 4.0, Launch Pushed to Q2

Intel's upcoming 400-series desktop chipset will lack support for PCI-Express gen 4.0. The motherboards will stick to gen 3.0 for both the main x16 PEG slots wired to the LGA1200 socket, and general purpose PCIe lanes from the PCH, according to a Tom's Hardware report. It was earlier expected that 400-series chipset motherboards will come with preparation for PCIe gen 4.0, so even if the upcoming 10th gen "Comet Lake" desktop processors lacked gen 4.0 root-complexes, the boards would be fully ready for the new bus standard in 11th gen "Rocket Lake" desktop processors.

10th gen "Comet Lake" desktop processors are built on 14 nm process, and implement Intel's current-gen CPU core design Intel has been implementing since 6th gen "Skylake." It's only with 11th gen "Rocket Lake" that the mainstream desktop platform could see a new CPU core design, with the company reportedly back-porting "Willow Cove" CPU cores to the 14 nm process. "Rocket Lake" is also expected to feature a small Gen12 iGPU with 32 execution units, and a new-gen uncore component that implements PCIe gen 4.0. PCIe gen 4.0 doubles bandwidth over gen 3.0, and while only a handful GPUs support it, the standard is made popular by a new generation of M.2 NVMe SSDs that are able to utilize the added bandwidth to push sequential transfer rates beyond M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 limitations.

Intel "Panther Canyon" NUC Implements "Tiger Lake" SoC with Xe Graphics

Intel NUC 11 Extreme is the spiritual successor to the "Hades Canyon" and "Skull Canyon" NUC, and implements the company's next-generation 10 nm+ "Tiger Lake" processor. Codenamed "Panther Canyon," the NUC 11 Extreme represents a line of ultra-compact desktops with serious computing power, bringing together the company's highest-performance CPU cores and iGPUs. The "Tiger Lake-U" SoC powering the NUC 11 Extreme will reportedly be configured with a 28-Watt TDP, and will come in Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 variants.

The "Tiger Lake-U" processor is expected to combine next-generation "Willow Cove" CPU cores with an iGPU based on Intel's new Xe graphics architecture, in what could be the first commercial outing for both. The NUC 11 Extreme "Panther Canyon" will also support up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4-3200 memory over SO-DIMMs, an M.2-2280 slot with PCI-Express 4.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring, and option for Intel Optane M10 cache memory. On the connectivity front, and Intel AX-201 WLAN card provides 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5. A 2.5 GbE wired interface will also be available. These will also be among the first NUCs to feature front- and rear-Thunderbolt ports (possibly next-gen 80 Gbps given that the platform implements PCIe gen 4.0). The NUC 11 Extreme "Panther Canyon" is expected to launch some time in the second half of 2020.

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).

Alienware Shows Off Concept UFO - a Portable, Tablet-like Mini PC

At CES 2020, Dell's gaming-inspired division, Alienware, had a handful of new products to showcase. Among these, we found a new product that is still in development called the Concept UFO. The UFO is a concept product that hints a new development strategy for gaming PCs, and that is a portability first approach. Inspired by Nintendo's Switch console, this computer puts gaming PCs on the go. Designed to be a handheld based solution, this PC is based on Windows 10 operating system so you can be sure that all of your existing game libraries are also playable on it as well.

Having an Intel processor as its base, the Concept UFO uses Intel's iGPU to power an 8-inch display of unknown resolution. While we don't know which architecture is powering the UFO, we speculate that Ice Lake is behind it. Our speculation is based on an assumption that, if the concept is capable of playing games, Alienware would put as high-performance iGPU as possible, and such performance is currently only found inside Intel's Ice Lake processors, in form of Intel Iris Plus integrated graphics. Frank Azor of AMD tweeted a question if anyone would like to see this product come with new AMD 4000 series of Ryzen mobile processors, so we could be in for a surprise, given that final specifications are not determined. Ryzen 4000 series would represent a perfect choice as it offers a lot of CPU and GPU power in a mere 15 W TDP package, however, we don't know what solution will be present in the end.

AMD CEO To Unveil "Zen 3" Microarchitecture at CES 2020

A prominent Taiwanese newspaper reported that AMD will formally unveil its next-generation "Zen 3" CPU microarchitecture at the 2020 International CES. Company CEO Dr Lisa Su will head an address revealing three key client-segment products under the new 4th generation Ryzen processor family, and the company's 3rd generation EPYC enterprise processor family based on the "Milan" MCM that succeeds "Rome." AMD is keen on developing an HEDT version of "Milan" for the 4th generation Ryzen Threadripper family, codenamed "Genesis Peak."

The bulk of the client-segment will be addressed by two distinct developments, "Vermeer" and "Renoir." The "Vermeer" processor is a client-desktop MCM that succeeds "Matisse," and will implement "Zen 3" chiplets. "Renoir," on the other hand, is expected to be a monolithic APU that combines "Zen 2" CPU cores with an iGPU based on the "Vega" graphics architecture, with updated display- and multimedia-engines from "Navi." The common thread between "Milan," "Genesis Peak," and "Vermeer" is the "Zen 3" chiplet, which AMD will build on the new 7 nm EUV silicon fabrication process at TSMC. AMD stated that "Zen 3" will have IPC increases in line with a new microarchitecture.
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