It’s been a rocky road to 10nm chips for Intel, but the company is finally starting to show off the first “Ice Lake” mobile chips based on a 10nm “Sunny Cove” architecture. During the company’s keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show, Intel provided a brief demo of a few Ice Lake computer prototypes from manufacturers Pegatron and Wistron.

The company also brought out an official from Dell, who explained that the company is already testing Ice Lake chips for an upcoming Dell XPS thin and light computer.

We probably won’t see that Dell laptop (or other Ice Lake-powered computers) until late 2019.

The new manufacturing process should bring improved performance and efficiency, but Intel is also pointing out some other new features including integrated support for Thunderbolt 3, WiFi 6 (formerly known as 802.11ax) and Intel Gen 11 graphics.

Like many chips these days, the new Ice Lake processors also prioritize artificial intelligence for activities such as image recognition.

Intel also expanded on its recent announcement about a new 3D stacking technology called “Foveros” for manufacturing next-gen chips that mix and match different components. Among other things, that makes it possible to build what Intel calls Hybrid CPUs that combine mulitple CPU architectures into a single chip.

For example, an upcoming “Lakefield” processor is a 5-core chip that has an Intel Core “Sunny Lake” CPU core plus four lower-power Intel Atom CPU cores. A computer with this chip could use the low-power cores to prioritize low power consumption and long battery life, but activate the higher performance core when you need it for more demanding tasks.

Basically it’s Intel’s answer to ARM’s big.LITTLE designs, which have been around for several years.

The entire Lakefield package measures just about 12mm x 12mm and it can fit on a remarkably small motherboard, In fact, Intel showed off its smallest system board yet — it doesn’t look much larger than an M.2 2280 SSD.

While Ice Lake isn’t expected to launch until the second half of the year, we won’t have to wait that long for new laptop-class processors from Intel. The company has announced that its first 9th-gen Core chips for notebooks are coming in the second quarter of the year.

These will be H-series chips, which means they’ll probably be relatively high-power processors with 35 watt or higher TDPs. In other words, these are chips for gaming laptops and mobile workstations rather than sub 3-pound laptops.

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4 replies on “Intel demos 10nm Ice Lake chips, teases upcoming laptops (and more from Intel’s CES press event)”

  1. “It’s been a rocky road”

    Would not a “tortuous boat trip across viscous. mosquito-infested, viral sustaining, polluted waters” (re: lakes) be a more nautically appropriate description?

    1. Didn’t Intel have Dell trundle out a powered-off laptop (Or empty shell?) as an example of an OEM partnership? I don’t think this rocky road is done yet!

      Dell, it’s OK to leave abusive partners. Blink twice if you need help.

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