Intel Reveals 10nm+ Ice Lake Processors With Precious Few Details

Intel listed the Ice Lake family in its processors and chipsets section on its website, but the listing is short on meaningful details.

Here's everything Intel said about the new processors:

"The Ice Lake processor family is a successor to the 8th generation Intel Core processor family. These processors utilize Intel’s industry-leading 10nm+ process technology."

Intel notes that the new processor family will feature the 10nm+ process, which isn't surprising, but also said that it will be a successor to the 8th generation Intel Core processor family. Most important, Intel notes that the processors are "a" successor to the eighth-generation products, not "the" successor.

The eighth-generation chips, more commonly known as Coffee Lake, are coming to market soon. Coffee Lake is largely seen as a response to the resurgent AMD Ryzen processors, but truth be told, we've heard rumors of the new lineup since 2006. So, while they are a needed response to AMD that will bring more cores to the mainstream desktop, it's hard to characterize them as a knee-jerk reaction.

Intel is going to announce the new 8th Generation Coffee Lake processors, built on the 14nm++ process, on August 21 during the eclipse. The eighth-generation products are indicative of Intel's new switch to extended 'optimization' periods with each process node, which finds the company deploying three iterations of its process as it continues to extend Moore's Law (such as the 14nm, 14nm+ and 14nm++ generations).

Ice Lake will feature the 10nm+ process, but that leaves the first 10nm step on the ladder open. The Cannon Lake processors will feature the first iteration of the 10nm process, so they will also be "a" successor to the eighth-generation processors.

This same three-step strategy will carry over to Intel's 10nm process, too, but Intel also announced earlier this year during its manufacturing day that new processors could feature multiple components with different process nodes. That tactic leverages economies of scale and other benefits of existing processes to construct some components, such as the uncore, with older, more established nodes. This means that while Ice Lake will have 10nm+ technology, it might also feature other components constructed with different lithographies. 

Intel also touted its new 'Data Center First" strategy during its manufacturing day. The company will slowly transition from its traditional practice of debuting new processes and architectures with mainstream processors, instead opting to bring the new designs to the data center lineup first. Where Ice Lake fits into this remains unknown, as are most of the details surrounding Ice Lake.

In either case, it's possible that Ice Lake is coming to the data center first, and to the desktop later. That could explain the odd non-announcement/pre-announcement of the second successor to its eighth-generation processors.

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  • robax91
    So we're finally here. 10nm. With the trickle effect being permanent, it wouldn't surprise me if they weren't already working on 8nm tbh.
  • Lazovski
    So where has Cannonlake gone to ?..
    "And (W)inte(r)l gave Spring and Summer a miss and went straight on into Autumn."
  • Matt_550
    After this they'll go to 7mm not 8mm......