With its upcoming 10nm Cannon Lake chips yet to go on sale, Intel is already preparing its future buyers with an onslaught of processors that’ll take the fight to their Ryzen counterparts.
Called Ice Lake, the 8th-generation architecture from Intel will likely form a part of more high-end desktop parts and configurations, once its predecessor Cannon Lake has helped Intel wet its feet in the 10nm field.
Coming in Late 2018
Details are scarce at this point, and for good reason. Intel is yet to ship its first 10nm processors. Don’t hold your breath for any upcoming upgrades, however, as the first 10nm Cannon Lake chips are slated for a 2018 release, meaning Ice Lake’s release could spill well into late 2018 or even 2019 (especially if Intel’s recent scheduling troubles are to be believed).
Ice Lake Architecture
Ice Lake, which in marketing terms is built on 10nm fabrication process, will form the “architecture” phase of its Process-Architecture-Optimization cycle, which has succeeded the long-used Moore’s law in updating the die shrinkage. The new process adds a third stage compared to the previously-used Tick-Tock cycle, where die shrinkage and new microarchitecture used to work in tandem.
Current Kaby Lake generation chips use the 14nm+ fabrication process, while Coffee Lake set to be released later this year will use the more advanced 14nm++ version of the process. Ice Lake will be followed by Tiger Lake, which is expected to be released somewhere in the later phases of 2019.
Cannon Lake Speculation
Cannon Lake, as speculated by AnandTech, will feature low-end 15W laptop processors, where the benefits of the die shrinkage will be most clear. The more high-end 35W chips from the 14nm++ generation are likely going to cater to the upper echelons of the market for the time being, until their 10nm+ and 10nm++ counterparts are ready to take their place.
Pretty much every other detail is anyone’s guess at this point and with so many good options already available, it’s a better idea to upgrade now rather than wait for the Cannon Lake or Ice Lake processors.