At today’s Intel keynote, the company presented Ice Lake. There are many improvements and a higher IPC, but also lower clock rate.
Ice Lake: finally 10nm
After years of announcement, Intel has now actually made it to 10nm. At the keynote speech at Computex, the company presented the first systems with the new Ice Lake processors together with OEM manufacturers such as Dell, Asus, Lenovo and HP. Although the processors are only coming for notebooks this year, they show well the detail improvements Intel has put into the new Sunny Cove architecture. Besides the change from 14nm to 10nm there is also a big change at the IPC. Depending on the benchmark, this has risen by an average of 18 percent. The new processors also completely integrate some techniques that were previously only possible with external controllers. So there is now directly integrated Thunderbolt 3 and the new WiFi 6 generation.
Like AMD, Intel uses two dies with different manufacturing methods for the processor package, whereby the method cannot be compared at all. The 10nm die at Intel contains the actual processor cores, the memory controller, the Gen11 graphics unit and the Thunderbolt 3 controllers. The second die is manufactured with 14nm and represents the chipset that houses 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes, USB 3.2 and SATA interfaces.
Less clock rate than the previous generation
Compared to the previous generation called Whiskey Lake there are also some differences. The published processors still come with up to four cores. The field is led by the i7-1065 G7, which comes with four cores and eight threads. Base clock is 1.3 GHz, the turbo at 3.9 GHz. The Core i5-1035 G1 also comes with four cores and eight threads, but its clock rate is slightly lower at 1.2 GHz base clock and 3.7 GHz turbo clock. Last but not least, the i3-1005 G1 has two cores and four threads with 1.2 GHz base and 3.4 GHz turbo. There are also differences in the cache. The top model comes with 8 MB, while the i5 has 6 MB and the i3 only 4 MB. With Ice Lake, Intel now also supports LPDDR4X-3733 memory. The built-in graphics unit is called “UHD Graphics” in the two models with G1 suffix and has 48 compute units, while the i7 model with suffix G7 has an Iris Plus Graphics with 64 compute units. All processors have a TDP of 15 watts.
Compared to its predecessor Whiskey Lake, the lower clock rate stands out. The i7-1065 G7 comes with only 3.9 GHz turbo, while the previous-generation i7-8665U has up to 4.8 GHz. In contrast, there are major differences in the Gen11 graphics unit. This should run much better than its predecessor and even beats the AMD Picasso APUs in an Intel test. Also here the high memory standard LPDDR4X-3733 plays an important role.
The first systems with Ice Lake can already be seen at Computex. The products will be launched this year at the Holiday Season.
Intel paid our travel expenses for Computex 2019, but has no influence on our reporting.