Under-promise and over-deliver is a good rule of thumb, and for once, Intel may be taking this approach with its 10nm Ice Lake processors. After years of frustrating delays to the company's 10nm manufacturing process, Intel has revised its projections for shipping 10nm processors in volume to the holiday season of 2019. But according to purportedly leaked Lenovo documents, we could see the mythical Ice Lake processors on shelves as soon as June.
As with any leaked documents, we need to take the information with a grain of salt, but the timeline for the Ice Lake-powered laptops lines up nicely with Dell's recent revelation that it will reveal new 10nm-powered XPS laptops by "mid-year."
The documents, released to the r/thinkpad subreddit with little fanfare, claim that Lenovo's 2019 refresh will include a new X1 Yoga lineup sporting Ice Lake (ICL) Core i5 and i7 models that should land in June 2019. Aside from the step up to the Ice Lake architecture and its purportedly enhanced performance, these 10nm processors will also come packing Intel's Gen11 Graphics.
Intel claims that the new graphics engine crams up 1 teraflop of 32-bit and 2 teraflops of 16-bit floating point performance into a low power envelope. According to recent postings to several benchmark databases, the jump up to 64 execution units (EUs) over the previous-gen's 24 EU, along with tweaks to the memory subsystem, yields impressive performance that could give Nvidia's new MX 200-Series discrete graphics a run for their money in thin-and-light devices. Not to mention AMD's Ryzen Mobile lineup.
The document also indicates that Lenovo will release a new X1 Carbon lineup with Ice Lake processors in August 2019. Like the X1 Yoga devices, these laptops also come with more nuanced improvements, like a step up to two USB Gen3.1 ports and the option for up to 32GB of LPDDR4 memory.
Notably, the other ten models listed in the document, which include new T Series, L Series, and P1 models, come with either Whiskey Lake or Coffee Lake processors. That implies that Lenovo will not have enough supply of the 10nm Ice Lake chips, or enough options, to refresh its entire lineup to the new architecture.
In either case, it's also notable that none of the new models comes packing AMD processors, though there has been a recent listing of new Lenovo Ideapad models powered by Ryzen 5 3500U and Ryzen 7 3700U processors.
Intel's possible early launch of Ice Lake processors would make sense for the notebook market, largely because it comprises two-thirds of the overall PC processor market. The early launch of 10nm processors would also give Intel an advantage over AMD's increasingly-threatening Ryzen Mobile processors that continue to slowly chew away market share from Intel.
The purported June launch for Ice Lake lands squarely in the crosshairs of the Computex trade show that major vendors use to announce new products, so we could learn more as we get closer to the annual trade show. Of course, launching its 10nm processors would also help Intel in the marketing war, as AMD is widely expected to unveil its 7nm desktop processors at the event.
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