At Intel’s Keynote presentation here at Computex, the company finally lifted the lid on its first widely available new CPU design on its 10nm process, called Ice Lake. The official marketing name for these processors will be ‘Intel 10th Generation Core’, and will feature up to four CPU cores with Intel's new Sunny Cove architecture, new Gen11 graphics supplying up to 1TF of graphics/compute performance, and built in support for Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 3.

The story of Intel’s 10nm is a long and drawn out one, which we covered when we reviewed the first 10nm CPU, Cannon Lake, which only ended up in some limited Chinese system launch. Fast forward almost 2.5 years from when Intel officially announced it was shipping those 10nm CPUs and we have a full launch of Ice Lake, built on the company's greatly refined second-generation 10+ process. Intel spent a lot of its keynote presentation going through how it has driven the ecosystem and its ecosystem partners around developing systems with the new CPU in mind.

Intel is officially launching 11 different CPUs in the 10th Gen Core lineup, ranging from Core i3 to Core i7. Details on the specifications of those CPUs has not actually been released, which raises a number of questions of how much of a launch this actually is, however we do know that the best CPUs will have a turbo frequency up to 4.1 GHz and a top GPU frequency of 1.1 GHz. Users might consider this lower than 9th Gen mobile parts, which again raises questions. CPUs will be coming to market with 9W, 15W, and 28W variants.

Intel’s partners however have given us some specifications, and it shows in interesting adjustment in the naming scheme.

OEM-Listed Intel Ice Lake 10nm CPUs
AnandTech Core
i7-1065 G7 4C/8T 1.3 GHz 3.9 GHz Yes ? ?
i5-1035 G1 4C/8T ? 3.7 GHz Yes ? ?
i3-1005 G1 2C/4T ? 3.4 GHz Yes ? ?

At this point in time we’re not sure exactly what the ‘G7’ or ‘G1’ means in the name. It could be related to graphics, given that Intel will launch CPUs with 32 EUs, 48 EUs, or 64 EUs. 

In accordance with their trio of TDPs, Intel has confirmed that there will be both Y-series and U-series Ice Lake parts. As a refresher, Intel's Y-series parts are their most compact, lowest-power chips, designed for passively cooled devices and other devices with limited cooling options, like 2-in-1s. Y-series chips have a nominal TDP of 9W – notably higher than the 5W TDPs for the current-generation Amber Lake-Y parts – and will be able to cTDP Up to 12W. Meanwhile Intel's U-series will, it appears, be the flag bearer for Ice Lake. These parts will have a nominal TDP of 15W, and can cTDP Up to 25W.

According to Intel's official product brief, both the U-series and Y-series parts will come with integrated GPUs with up to 64 EUs – this being particularly notable since the Y-series parts are going to be so low power. However it looks like Intel is going to split up the U-series a bit; 32 EU parts are listed as "Ice Lake U UHD", while 48 and 64 EU parts are "Ice Lake U Iris Plus". So Intel's Iris Plus branding will remain; and hopefully Iris Plus Ice Lake SKUs will be more common than today's Iris Plus parts.

Intel has discussed Ice Lake to a certain degree back in December and more recently at a private event, which we will be publishing after Computex to give it the attention it deserves. But the new core is designed to have more execution units, wider out-of-order windows, better load/store functionality, a bigger cache arrangement, and Intel states that this is good for an average 18% raw clock-for-clock performance uplift compared to the original Skylake core released in 2016.

Users might be surprised about this 18% number, given that Intel has historically only provided low single digit boosts in recent generations. The reason for those single digit boosts comes down mainly to small parts of the core microarchitecture being widened. For Ice Lake, the doubling of the L2 cache, the increase in execution ports, and the dispatch capabilities of the front end of the core all provide big improvements. Intel also states that the pre-fetchers are improved, which also helps with that 18% IPC increase. It will be interesting to get hold of a system and to actually test/compare with Skylake, especially with all the security patches applied.

For graphics, Intel is stating that the best 10th Gen Core designs will be able to compete with what AMD has to offer with its mobile APU platforms. By increasing the number of execution units from 24 EUs to 64 EUs, Intel is promising over a 2x boost in graphics performance, which is facilitated by the better cache design on the CPU. The new graphics architecture, along with aggressive driver updates, should provide Intel better positioning in the thin-and-light gaming market. Benchmarks shown by Intel include many of the popular titles running today at 1920x1080 at either low or medium settings.

Core functionality aside, the new chips are also incorporating some of the latest I/O features. The biggest news here, of course, is integrated Thunderbolt 3 support for the on-chip 300 series mobile chip, finally doing away with the need for a separate PCIe-to-Thunderbolt controller. Not only will this save laptop OEMs space in their design, but as it's now a baseline feature of Intel's mobile chips, Thunderbolt 3 should become nearly ubiquitous across low-power laptops. Which considering that Thunderbolt 3 has been released to the world at large to be used as the basis for USB4, it's clear that Thunderbolt technology is quickly going to become a necessary feature for future laptops.

The other notable change here is support for Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), via Intel's increasingly well-established CNVi program. As with Intel's first-generation integrated Wi-Fi 5 functionality, Wi-Fi 6 is integrated in two parts. The Wi-Fi 6 Media Access Controller (MAC) is on Intel's chipset, meanwhile the RF hardware is on a separate companion module. Going this route is optimal for OEMs for regulatory reasons – the RF module can be certified separately – though it does mean they'll need to buy the RF module to make use of the processor's on-chip Wi-Fi capabilities. Interestingly, neither Intel nor the rest of the industry is wasting any time here; even though the Wi-Fi 6 standard hasn't been fully approved yet – it's still draft – it's already being integrated into hardware wide and far, including now mobile PC processors.

Overall, a number of ecosystem partners are at the Computex show with 10th Gen Core designs, including Dell, HP, Lenovo and others. For this new generation, Intel is also pushing its new Athena project, which we're covering in a separate article.

AnandTech's deep dive coverage of Intel 10th Gen Core will continue after Computex, with more details an analysis of the core microarchitecture. We're also working with Intel to get more access to Ice Lake platforms so we can provide a full testing profile of the new CPU family.

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  • Korguz - Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - link

    thats not the case here.. the stores may be like that.. but no one i know is interested in laptops... i havent heard any of their friends say they want a laptop.. i even keep getting asked about desktops, and what they should get .... maybe its different market needs for the areas ?
  • drothgery - Thursday, May 30, 2019 - link

    Reality is almost twice as many laptops & 2-in-1s are sold these days as desktops, and the ratio is going to keep going farther and farther that way. You and your friends probably have similar work or interests (PC gaming is the most likely, since you're on a hardware enthusiast site) that makes desktops more useful, but the people you know are not a representative sample of the broader market.
  • Korguz - Friday, May 31, 2019 - link

    drothgery nope.. various usage.. games, general web browsing, music listening... they just dont have any interest in laptops for some reason... i am yes. but them.. they dont pay attention to hardware news... they are not.. but still.. a few here seem to think every one wants laptops now... which im trying to say... isnt the case ...
  • Thud2 - Saturday, June 1, 2019 - link

    You keep using elipses. I do not think it means what you think it means.
  • Striderevil - Thursday, May 30, 2019 - link

    No not really. Though laptops provide the convenience, look at any office. Most are connected through desktops. Desktops provide the convenience of easy maintenance, lower costs and upgradability while a laptop is mostly obsolete by 5 years and cannot be upgraded. Most developers, graphic designers and marketing mostly use a desktop. The only profession where a laptop is popular is among students and journalists.
  • simonpschmitt - Thursday, May 30, 2019 - link

    This is not true for all companys I worked for.
    I work in pharmaceutical R&D and in chemical R&D before thet and litterally every (non production) employee gets a laptop. From assistants over researchers to the CEO.
    And then some of the scientists have a desktop/workstation for CAD or other demanding work. In addition to their laptop.
  • Gigaplex - Friday, May 31, 2019 - link

    Every office I've looked at replaces their machines within 5 years anyway, they don't bother with upgrading desktops. I'm a software developer and have usually worked on a desktop, but on my last hardware refresh I was moved to a laptop.
  • RSAUser - Saturday, June 1, 2019 - link

    In software here, organization of about 100 devs this branch, pretty much 90%+ are on laptops with the others using both.

    Anything compute intensive is thrown at a server farm to compile/execute, an IDE doesn't need much performance.
  • pk1489 - Thursday, May 30, 2019 - link

    According the roadmap of intel(include some information by Huawei leaking ),intel will unveils cooper lake-sp in 2019q4 and unveils ice lake-sp in 2020q1 for datacenter. Those production will sell in 2020Q1.
  • 0ldman79 - Thursday, May 30, 2019 - link

    I think it's mostly been desktop, laptop, server. Broadwell flipped the script, pretty certain Skylake was desktop first, Haswell too. Sandy Bridge was Jan 2011, mobiles didn't come out until Sept 2011. Ivy Bridge was released in April 2012, both laptop and desktop.

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