COMPUTEX 2019: Intel unveils 10th Gen Intel Core mobile processors (Ice Lake-U)

By Mithun Mohandas | Updated 28 May 2019
COMPUTEX 2019: Intel unveils 10th Gen Intel Core mobile processors (Ice Lake-U)
  • DL Boost instruction set to boost AI workloads
  • Wi-Fi 6 Gig+ to be integrated
  • Native Thunderbolt 3 integration

At COMPUTEX, Intel announced the latest 10th Gen Intel Core processors based on the Sunny Cove architecture. These new 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs will be using Intel’s 10nm process node bringing with it frequency improvements and power savings. And to top it off, Intel is also bringing Gen 11 graphics in these new processors allowing it to reportedly provide twice the graphics performance.

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“No one wants to compromise, people want it all: battery life, performance, responsiveness, connectivity and slick form factors. Our job is to come together as an industry and deliver incredible and differentiated PCs, purpose built to what real people want. 10th Gen Intel Core processors - our most integrated CPU - and Project Athena are great examples of how our deep investments at a platform level will help fuel innovation across the industry, “ said Gregory Bryant, Senior Vice-President and general Manager of the Client Computing Group.

Ultraportable laptops with the new 10th Gen Ice Lake processors will be out this June 2019.

Just for mobile platforms

The 10th Gen Ice Lake processors announced today are only for the mobile platforms and that too for the low-power use cases. Which means, you can only get the new 10th Gen Ice Lake processors in the U-series i.e. 15W variants. Intel did not mention when the higher end 10th Gen H-series processors would be announced just that these new 10th Gen processors will be available in Core i3/i5 and i7 SKUs. Since 9th Gen H-series processors only came out a few months back, it makes no sense for Intel to push out 10th Gen H-series processors this early. Not unless they don’t mind angering the thousands of consumers who’ve recently invested into the 9th Gen platform. Also, there is no word as to if 10nm H-series processors would be out any time soon. Pushing out “limited quantities” can still indicate issues with the 10nm process that Intel will have to work through in order to push the 10th Gen processors across all segments.

Faster AI on the desktop PC

Intel has a massive portfolio of AI software and hardware accelerators. With these new processors, Intel has added DL Boost instruction set and a Gaussian Neural accelerator which is a dedicated component for accelerating AI applications. As more and more software incorporate AI elements, it becomes essential to have some amount of hardware acceleration on a local machine before the data can be sent to the cloud for further processing. In low power systems, using the generic cores to perform intensive number crunching for AI workloads can have a marked effect of the performance that’s easily discernible to the user. A dedicated component for AI processing takes care of that.

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Gen 11 - Twice the graphics performance?

The 2x graphics performance figure comes from an Intel Ice Lake (4+2) 15W processor running against an Intel Whiskey Lake (4+2) 15W processor. The Whiskey Lake processor used here is the Intel Core i7-8565U and the Ice Lake processor was a pre-production sample. Both are low-power 15W U-SKUs with 4 cores / 8 threads. However, the memory used with the Ice Lake-U processor was running at 3733 MHz while the memory attached to the Whiskey Lake processor was running at 2400 MHz. This would mean that this isn’t exactly an apple-to-apples comparison but if Ice Lake-U supports 3733 MHz out of the box, then you can consider this comparison to be fair from the perspective that they’re both running at out-of-the-box specs.

That being said, the new Iris Plus graphics can get more than 70 FPS in Counter Strike: Global Offensive at 1080p, about 60 FPS in Rocket League and a little over 30 FPS in Fortnite. This basically means optimised multiplayer games such as the ones mentioned above can easily run on ultraportable machines.

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Wi-Fi 6 integration

A lot of the ultraportable devices tend to not have ethernet ports and instead have a USB-to-Ethernet adapter. So you need to have a reliable wireless solution. Reliable and bandwidth aren’t the same thing, so this Wi-Fi 6 integration certainly answers the bandwidth question but the reliability of the connection is a different ball game altogether. Most laptops tend to prefer Intel CRF modules so there shouldn’t be much fragmentation, which means you’ll probably end up with a consistent experience across brands.

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Mithun Mohandas
While not dishing out lethal doses of sarcasm, this curious creature can often be found tinkering with tech, playing vidya' games or exploring the darkest corners of the Internets. #PCMasterRace https://www.linkedin.com/in/mithunmohandas/
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