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Intel launches first 10th Gen Ice Lake CPUs with 10nm fabrication

May 28, 2019 — by Eric Brown 1,357 views

Intel launched its first 10nm, 10th Gen Ice Lake Core CPUs with Gen 11 graphics, Intel Deep Learning Boost technology, 9 to 15W TDPs, and support for WiFi 6 and Thunderbolt 3.

After leaking a roadmap of new 10th Gen Ice Lake and other future CPUs in late April, Intel officially launched its first Ice Lake chips at this week’s Computex show in Taipei. The long-awaited 10th Gen Core processors are Intel’s first models with 10nm fabrication.

10th Gen Ice Lake block diagram and Core-i7 part
(click images to enlarge)

The initial batch of 10th Gen Core processors are low-power Ice Lake-Y (9W TDP) and Ice Lake-U (15W) models aimed at laptops, 2-in-1 tablets, and mini desktops, but also suitable for a variety of embedded and IoT gear. The up to quad-core, octa-threaded 10th Gen chips will offer up to 4.1 max turbo speed.

The Ice Lake-U processors also debut Intel Gen11 Iris Plus graphics with up to 64 EUs (Execution Units) at up to 1.1GHz and support for 4K HDR video and high-end gaming. Although the Sunny Cove CPU and Gen11 GPU cores are fabricated at 10nm, there’s a 14nm PCH I/O chipset.


Intel Gen11 is “the industry’s first integrated GPU to incorporate variable rate shading capability by applying variable processing power to different areas of the scene to improve rendering performance,” says Intel. The Gen11 Iris Plus graphics will not be available with every Ice Lake SKU — some will offer 32EU UHD graphics.

10th Gen Ice Lake specs
(click images to enlarge)

The Ice Lake Sunny Cove CPU cores provide Intel DL (Deep Learning) Boost technology for low latency AI workloads. Intel DL was previously showcased on some new 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable server chips announced in April.

Ice Lake’s Gen11 graphics has its own support for AI with up to 1 teraflop of vector compute “for heavy duty inference workloads,” says Intel. Ice Lake also offers an Intel Gaussian Network Accelerator (GNA) for “low-power AI usages.”

The 10th Gen chips offer built-in support for up to 1Gbps WiFi 6 (802.11ax) and up to 4x, high-throughput Thunderbolt 3 (soon to be USB 4) ports. Both will require additional hardware for full implementation.

10th Gen CPU benchmarks (left) and Gen11 GPU comparisons for 1080p gaming frame rates compared to earlier generations
Sourcer: Intel via The Verge
(click images to enlarge)

Despite the new 10nm process, CPU performance shown in the chart above suggests only a modest boost from 8th Gen Whiskey Lake chips. There was no comparison with the 9th Gen Coffee Lake processors. As usual, Intel’s other performance comparison claims are with older technologies such as 6th Gen Skylake CPUs or Gen9 Graphics. However, as noted in The Verge, the Gen11 graphics appear to offer a more formidable performance increase, at least for 1080p frame rates on games.

Intel still hasn’t listed specific Ice Lake models. The previously leaked roadmap suggests the early models will be a dual-core Ice Lake-Y SKU and dual- and quad-core Ice Lake-U models. Early next year, we can expect an Ice Lake Refresh generation with more models and greater volume than the initial batch. Ice Lake also benefits from the fact that along with the new 9th Gen Coffee Lake chips, it should be free of the new ZombieLoad and MDS threats to recent Intel Core chips.

Further information

The first Intel 10th Gen Ice Lake processors will roll out over the next month with end products due by the end of the year. More information may be found in Intel’s 10th Gen Computex announcement, which also offers new details on Intel’s Project Athena laptop technology and other products. More details may also be found in this Ice Lake announcement, which also offers new details on the upcoming special edition 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9900KS processor. Further Ice Lake details may be found in this 10th Gen product brief (PDF).

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