Technology

Intel makes its first 10nm Cannon Lake chips official

Lenovo IdeaPad 330

Intel's transition to manufacturing processors on a 10-nm manufacturing process has been delayed several times. Once upon a time the company declared that it would enter mass production by the end of 2015; With its most recent financial results, the company has postponed this situation, until 2019 . But the company also said that although the yields are not good enough for large-scale production, it has shipped 10nm processors, codenamed Cannon Lake, to an unspecified customer.

This client is Lenovo: IdeaPad 330 was listed by Chinese retailers and it includes a mysterious processor, the Core i3-8121U. The name tells us the market positioning – it's an i3, so it's low-end – the power envelope – the "U" in the end means that it's a 15W chip – and the branding – the number starts with an 8, so it's going to be another "8th generation" chip, just like the processors Kaby Lake-R Kaby Lake- G and Coffee Lake . This means that the "8th generation" is a rather vague label that describes several different processor variants, based on several different manufacturing processes (two variants of 14 nm and now 10 nm).

We did not know much more about the chip until Intel published it on its Ark site . The Ark list confirms that it's a 15-inch Cannon Lake chip, built according to a 10nm process. It has two cores, four threads, a basic clock frequency of 2.2 GHz with a 3.2 GHz turbo boost, and 4 MB of level 3 cache.

What else do we learn? The Cannon Lake part supports two new types of memory: LPDDR4 and LPDDR4X, two variants of low-power DDR4. This should help reduce power consumption even with high memory system configurations, compared to the previous generation that only supported LPDDR3 in addition to the DDR4 standard. The maximum figure of theoretical memory bandwidth has also been improved to 41.6 GB / s compared to 34.1 GB / s.

The Ark's listing also indicates that the Cannon Lake processor supports more PCIe lanes, up to 16 out of 12 (although supported lane configurations seem to match the Kaby Lake chips, so this n & # 39; It is not clear if this is correct). More curiously, however, the list does not include any specification for a GPU. Almost all Intel-based mobile and desktop processors incorporate an integrated GPU, and we can expect the Cannon Lake chips to follow suit. According to this list, however, the i3-8121U does not do this. The Lenovo laptop in question is specified as including a discrete AMD R5 GPU, offering no indication as to whether the chip has a GPU.

So, while Cannon Lake and Intel's 10nm manufacturing remain somewhat mysterious (the more general question of "why this particular chip for this particular customer?" Turns out to be particularly relevant), we now know a little more than us.

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