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Intel demonstrates 10nm Ice Lake processor, promises PCs will ship with it later this year

Intel demonstrates 10nm Ice Lake processor, promises PCs will ship with it later this year


Plus some more 9th Gen CPUs, not just for gamers this time

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Intel announced a major rethink of its chip design back in December, just before it finally delivers 10nm chips for PCs and laptops. At CES 2019 today, Intel is demonstrating its first Ice Lake 10nm processor that’s based on its new Sunny Cove microarchitecture. Intel is building in Thunderbolt 3, Wi-Fi 6, and DL Boost (deep learning boost) into these Ice Lake chips for laptops and PCs to take advantage of. Intel is now promising that PC makers will have devices with Ice Lake processors on shelves by the end of 2019.

At its CES keynote today, Intel demonstrated ODM systems from Pegatron and Wistron, and Dell even joined Intel on stage to show off an Ice Lake-powered XPS laptop that will be available later this year. Dell didn’t show the device powered on, but it appeared to be a 2-in-1 device that looked similar to the XPS 13.

Intel is also looking to the future, too. The chip giant is planning to use Foveros 3D chip stacking technology to build future chips, a method that allows Intel’s chip designers to stack extra processing power on top of an already-assembled chip die. These “chiplets” can be stacked atop one another to form a processor that includes graphics, AI processing, and more.

Ice Lake is an important step for Intel after years of 10nm delays and struggles. Intel originally planned to introduce 10nm processors, dubbed “Cannon Lake,” back in 2016. Intel’s last earnings report revealed the company’s 10nm chips should arrive at some point in 2019, and these latest promises today back that up.

While reports from late last year suggested that Intel had canceled its 10nm plans, it’s now clear that the plans have shifted from Cannon Lake to its new Ice Lake design. As long as there are no additional delays, we should finally see Ice Lake processors appear in machines in time for the holidays later this year.

In the meanwhile, Intel is expanding its 9th Gen desktop and laptop processor lineup here at CES, in so much as it’s announced some more chips are coming.

Intel first launched its 9th Gen processors last fall with a focus on gaming, including a Core i9 chip the company called “the best gaming processor in the world. At CES 2019, Intel expanded that lineup dramatically with six new 9th Gen chips, ranging from an entry-level Core i3 going up to a new Core i9 chip. The company says they’ll ship later this month.

And along with the new 9th Gen chips for desktop, Intel also teased that it would be bringing 9th Gen Core processors to its laptop lineup, specifically the company’s more powerful H-series chips, sometime in Q2 2019. There’s almost no details as to what that would look like yet, although presumably the 9th Gen H-series chips will look a lot like the 9th Gen desktop ones — that is to say, using Intel’s 14nm++ process that it introduced with its 8th Gen processors.

For the efficiency that comes with 10nm, you may have to wait for Ice Lake.