When Intel takes the wraps of its 8th-gen Core processors next week, the company will be launching its 4th generation of chips to manufactured using a 14nm process. But it looks like Intel is almost ready to make the move to 10nm.

A page on the Intel website reveals that the “successor to the 8th generation Intel Core processor family” is code-named “Ice Lake,” and it’ll use “10nm+ process technology.”

That’s about all we know for certain at this point, but a process shrink usually leads to improved efficiency which can mean better performance and/or longer battery life. Up until recently, Intel had a habit of following a “tick, tock” release calendar, with a tick representing a process shrink (from 28nm to 14nm, for instance), and a tock representing a new microarchitecture.

For the past few chip generations Intel has focused on enhancing its existing chips rather than doing a die shrink. That wasn’t entirely due to choice: the company had originally planned to move to a 10nm process by the end of 2016, but failed to hit that target.

One interesting thing to note is that Ice Lake chips are described as using 10nm+ technology, which suggests they won’t actually be the first 10nm chips from the company.

As AnandTech speculates, that’s because the first 10nm chips could be the upcoming Cannon Lake processors which are expected to launch sometime after Coffee lake… but which could still be branded as 8th-gen Core processors.

Interestingly, AnandTech also reports that Cannon Lake may be a laptop-only architecture. So the roadmap for mobile chips is Kaby Lake -> Coffee Lake -> Cannon Lake -> Ice Lake, while the desktop roadmap is Kaby Lake -> Coffee Lake -> Ice Lake.

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4 replies on “Intel’s first 10nm+ chips will be based on Ice Lake architecture”

  1. 8th gen, that says it all. They need to innovate again, just like they did when AMD came out with athlon X2.

    1. Core2Duo’s?
      Yeah, they were pretty good.
      However, it really was Intel’s Second-Gen i processor, the Sandy Bridge architecture that was another leap ahead and left AMD in the dust.

      A part of me sort of wants Intel to fail to make much improvements, and AMD to come up with something innovative for Tablets, Ultrabooks, and Gaming Laptops. I feel like AMD deserves to catch up, take over a decent market share, reduce Intel’s profits and increase their own. That way, AMD can be competitive in the market on a long-term scale.

      Intel is still rolling around in profits, kicking themselves for losing the mobile market to Qualcomm.
      Whereas AMD is still struggling to make ends meet, despite proving they can be innovative.
      If Intel can get away with something innovative and AMD can’t answer, I think it will be more of the same. And thus, Intel will continue to drive the market and its pace at what they like…. whilst AMD still chugs on to their tune, barely making profits, unable to fund their R&D, and eventually failing to innovate. Thus the market stagnates.

      1. Yeah, I agree. I’m all for AMD getting healthy again, gaining market share and profits. Even if you’re an Intel fanboy, you should still want AMD to be competitive. It’s the competition between the two that drives innovation. If AMD goes away, Intel will stagnate and prices will rise sharply.

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