Intel Ice Lake Chips Now Shipping To OEMs & Project Athena Announced

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅28.05.2019 15:14:10

Intel have this week confirmed that 10th Generation Mobile CPUs codenamed 'Ice Lake' are now shipping to OEMs for integration into a comprehensive range of new laptop designs ready for Holiday (November/December) 2019. The new CPUs, manufactured with Intel's own 10nm lithographic process, not only push low power performance to new heights but also introduce brand new features to the mobile ecosystem as part of the most integrated platform for consumer and workplace technology.

Transitioning to a 10nm process will allow lower voltage operation and potentially higher frequency operation within similar TDP envelopes to the 9th Generation Mobile CPUs, but that's not all Ice Lake brings to the sector. Released from the shackles of 14nm-based designs, it introduces a new Sunny Cove CPU Core and Gen11 Graphics to further differentiate the platform from 9th Gen designs. The initial range of 10th Gen processors will be equipped with up to four cores and eight threads, boosting to 4.1GHz under Turbo Modes and appropriate workloads.

As the most integrated platform from a productivity and feature standpoint, thin and light laptops and 2-in-1s with 10th Gen Ice Lake CPUs will also incorporate:

Intelligent performance: These are Intel’s first processors designed to enable high-performance AI on the laptop, delivering approximately 2.5x AI performance with Intel DL Boost for low latency workloads. The new Iris Plus graphics option delivers up to 1 teraflop of vector compute for heavy duty inference workloads to enhance creativity, productivity and entertainment on highly mobile, thin-and-light laptops. For low-power AI usages on the PC, Intel® Gaussian Network Accelerator (GNA) is built into the SoC.

A leap in graphics capabilities: New Intel Iris Plus graphics, based on the Gen11 graphics architecture, nearly doubles performance. Reach pro-level content creation capabilities on the go with approximately 2x HEVC encode; watch 4K HDR in a billion colors; game with up to 2x faster FPS (including Variable Rate Shading support) and play thousands of popular titles in 1080p.

Best-in-class connectivity: Delivering both integrated Thunderbolt 3 and integrated Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) for the first time to enable nearly 3x faster wireless speeds alongside the fastest port standard available. Intel’s Gig+ implementation of Wi-Fi 6 connectivity delivers greater than 1 Gbps wireless speeds with enhanced reliability and performance.

Project Athena

Alongside Ice Lake and the previous announced Core i9-9900KS Intel have also unveiled Project Athena, a development process for improving the laptop ecosystem. It addresses quality of life issues rather than a drive for raw performance, making integration of Intel-powered notebooks into everyday life as seamless and hassle-free as possible.

Project Athena combines a set of core Key Experience Indicators (KEIs) which Intel determined were most important to users once a certain baseline performance was reached, and use them alongside target specifications to bring together a solution that satisfies owners beyond merely 'getting the job done'. The KEIs for Project Athena 1.0 are as follows:

Consistent responsiveness on battery with hardware and software shipped under the OEMs standard configuration.

16 or more hours of battery life in local video playback mode (150nit panel brightness, airplane mode configuration). 9 or more hours of battery life under real-world performance conditions (OEM default software configuration plus commonly used Office applications, 250nit panel brightness).

System wake from sleep from button press, panel opening or voice activation in less than 1 second, defined as the panel being on and ready for log-in.

These requirements need platform-wide engineering to bring to reality, and while Intel's talented engineers will be aiding OEMs in their efforts there's a limit on what Intel themselves can bring alone. Nonetheless, they do claim that the first laptops adhering to the Project Athena ethos will be launched later this year.

The baseline system hardware and feature requirements for Project Athena 1.0 have also been released:

Instant Action: Modern Connected Standby and Lucid Sleep features implement fast wake with a simple lid-lift, push of a button or quick fingerprint recognition.
Performance and Responsiveness: Systems based on Intel Core i5 or i7 processors with Intel Dynamic Tuning Technology, ≥8GB DRAM dual channel mode and ≥265GB NVMe SSD including Intel Optane memory H10 options.
Intelligence: Including features such as far-field voice services and support for OpenVINO and WinML. Upcoming designs based on 10th Gen Intel Core processors bring broad
scale intelligent performance to the laptop with Intel Deep Learning Boost for approx. 2.5X AI performance.
Battery Life: Including fast-charging capabilities over USB Type C, integration and optimization of low-power components and co-engineering support for power efficiency.
Connectivity: A fast and persistent connection with Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and optional Gigabit LTE. Connect to billions of USB Type C devices with Thunderbolt 3, the fastest and
most versatile port available.
Form Factor: Touch display, precision touchpads and more in sleek, thin-and-light and 2 in 1 designs with narrow bezels for a more immersive experience.

Intel's OEM partners for this initiative include Acer, Asus, Dell, Google, HP, Innolux, Lenovo, Microsoft, Samsung and Sharp; many will be among the first to launch Project Athena laptops in the near future. For more information check out the Project Athena factsheet.

More for Professionals and Content Creators

Rounding out Intel's Computex 2019 announcements are the addition of new 9th Generation Core CPUs with vPro, and new Xeon E processors for Mobile and Workstations.

9th Generation Core CPUs with vPro offer professional features at a hardware level over and above standard 9th Generation CPUs, including enhanced security. Fourteen new models make their way into the channel with both Mobile and Desktop CPUs.

Xeon E processors for Mobile and Desktop are workhorse Workstation-class models with support for ECC memory. For the first time they will be available in SKUs of up to 8 cores, 16 threads, 5GHz Turbo, DDR4-2666 ECC memory support, Wifi 6 and Intel Optane H10 128GB storage.

And finally, Intel also revealed that the next generation of Core X-series Scalable CPUs on the HEDT/workstation platforms for Premium Creators will be coming this autumn. These new models should incorporate frequency improvements, better memory speed support and Intel Turbo Boost 3.0. From this we can perhaps infer that they will be derivatives of current Intel Core X-series designs, rather than a new architecture or process node shrink.

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