According to Intel, Ice Lake CPUs will deliver "approximately 3 times faster wireless speeds, 2 times faster video transcode speeds, 2 times faster graphics performance, and 2.5 to 3 times faster artificial intelligence (AI) performance over previous generation products".
During the investor meeting, Intel Chief Executive Officer Bob Swan (pictured) told shareholders the company's 7nm process is key to the company's ambition of regaining leadership in the chip manufacturing process.
As confirmed by previously-leaked roadmaps, all signs point towards Intel's first 10nm processors being aimed at laptops, with the Ice Lake chips bringing in quad-core configurations for processors aimed at sipping as little electrical juice as possible. And, interestingly enough, the first 7nm product spawned of the Intel skunkworks will be a general goal GPU based on the Xe graphics architecture. At the time, he said confidence in 10nm was "improving", and that Intel remained on track to have volume client systems on store shelves in time for the holiday shopping season.
"One of the challenges we'll be wrestling with in this time frame is the pace at which 10nm ramps and the fast follow of 7nm", Swan said. It is only now, six years later, that it's finally able to make good on that promise.
AMD is set to jump to 7nm this year across CPUs and GPUs.
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Renduchintala highlighted lessons learned on the 10nm path: "the value in maintaining a mix of nodes that provide flexibility to optimize for product performance, time to market and margin", and the importance of "making it easy and fast for our development teams to migrate their designs through internode transitions". However, 10nm and 10nm+ CPUs are also listed to be arriving in 2019 and 2020, so there will be other options. "On the heels of Intel's first discrete GPU coming in 2020, the 7nm general goal GPU is expected to launch in 2021", Intel chief engineering officer Dr. Mrthy Renduchintala said. These will deliver even greater efficiency gains projected at a 20 percent increase in performance per watt along with a four times reduction in design rule complexity.
Now, before you start panicking that Intel Xe has been delayed, the plan to get a discrete GPU out of the door in 2020 is still there as far as we know, but it is now committed to having the architecture hit 7nm the following year. It will embody a heterogeneous approach to product construction using advanced packaging technology.
Those are bold claims to go along with an aggressive timeline, considering the trouble Intel has had with 10nm.
Renduchintala also explained that 7nm will represent the first commercial use of extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) helping to drive down the cost and the scaling of the different nodes.