After a lot of delays, Intel finally released the Ice Lake CPU architecture which is based on its new 10nm process node. It is worth noting that Intel is the last firm to join the better manufacturing process. Other Silicon producers have already moved to the 7nm process, and according to the rumors, TSMC is finishing the work on the 5nm process node.
According to the roadmap that Intel displayed during its investor meeting, Ice Lake CPUs will be followed by Lake Field CPUs in the latter half of 2019 and lastly. The Tiger Lake CPUs will be available for the masses in 2020. Early samples of the Tiger Lake CPUs have been spotted by a user in the user benchmark database. According to the results, these processors are the early builds of the Willow Cove architecture.
During its investor meeting, Intel showed that the Tiger Lake CPUs would have a new core structure under the Willow Cove architecture. It will be designed on the refined 10nm process node and will offer architectural improvements including but not limited to cache redesigns, transistor optimizations, and better security solutions. Willow Cove architecture will succeed the Sunny cove architecture that Intel is using currently.
Intel Investors Meeting
Now the processors that were spotted in the user benchmark database are parts of the Tiger Lake series, though these are early pre-production samples. Both CPUs are the part of the U family, which means these are mobile CPUs with TDPs in the range of 15-28 Watts. These processors are configured as four multi-threaded cores resulting in an eight-thread design.
The odd thing about the configurations of these processors is their clock speeds; the benchmark displays the base clock speed of 1.2Ghz and boost clock speed of 3.6GHz. According to current standards, the base clock speed of the alleged CPU is too low irrespective of the manufacturing node. According to Wccftech these are unstable clock speeds of the test units and have the potential to be a lot higher when the product launches.
According to the benchmark, the early unit of U series processor was able to outperform the desktop-grade 8th gen Core i7-8700k processor. If the alleged benchmark is to be trusted, then these are drastic improvements for the mobile CPUs.
Coming to the GPU side of the processors. These processors will have Gen 12 or Xe architecture which Intel will be using in its Graphics cards. An Intel UHD Gen 12 LP GPU was tested during the benchmark, and it looks like Intel is finally recovering its integrated GPU department. One entry of the test showed results similar to the Intel UHD 630 graphics solutions. On the other hand, the 2nd entry showed results better than the integrated AMD VEGA solutions found in Ryzen G processers. If the results are to be trusted, we can expect much better lower-tier gaming performances from the Xe based graphics solutions.
Intel is also preparing a new chipset design for the Tiger Lake CPUs. They have already confirmed that these CPUs will feature the PCIe gen 4.0 interface.