New from Intel – CES 2019

We’ve covered AMD, now it’s time for the Big Blue.

There were no spectacular premieres, but instead some earlier leaks (of which I wrote in December) were confirmed. Specifically, it was about 6 new 9th Generation Intel Core CPUs: i9-9900KF, i7-9700KF, i5-9600KF, i5-9400KF, i5-9400, i3-9350KF, those with an “F” supplied without an integrated graphics card. Interestingly, the price of this version will be the same as that with a video system. And you know what? I am sure they will be selling well… Actually, that’s it about new solutions for desktop PCs. Perhaps I could add 2 more sentences about the latest version of Intel Optane H10 RAM, a hybrid of their 3D Xpoint memory sticks and 3D QLC (very popular in cheap SSDs). Considering the ‘regular’ SSDs priced in the range of PLN 170 for 240 GB, I wouldn’t expect too much of a success for this solution. Still, it’s always better to sell an item (perhaps notebook vendors will be most eager to buy) than to dump good memory modules… Intel presented some more new products in the mobile device segment: its Ice Lake platform, dimensioned at 10nm, offering 4- and 8-core/threat systems with 11th generation graphics, up to 64 execution units, advertised as a strong boost of gaming performance. The product is expected to support LPDDR4 at max. 3200MHz and its power consumption should not exceed 15W. And the most important news – allegedly, these parts are already available for OEMs.

Another innovation, much more interesting than the previous one shown at CES, is the SoC (system on chip) with code name Lakefield, with 1 powerful CPU (new Sunny Cove setup) and 4 lower rated ones (Tremont setups, known from latest Atom CPUs) enclosed by a single silicone die. The entire arrangement is called a chiplet, composed of several horizontal layers, with DRAM in the upper layers, followed by CPU cores, and auxiliary pieces below (SATA, USB interfaces, etc.). With this very reasonable design, the components can be manufactured and upgraded at relatively low costs, and with the main CPU divided into several units used for different jobs, enabled/disabled according to actual needs, power consumption can be significantly reduced. They speak of 2mW in idle state. This is a very important feature, as the Lakefield SoC will be dedicated to mobile devices in minimized sizes. They can only hope these devices are still popular in 2020 (which is when the platform can be realistically expected).

Besides, Intel reminded us of its role as one of the initiators and developers of 5G by setting up the first phone call in the world through an actual 5G network, on 600MHz bandwidth, with data and video transmission in the 5G standard. They did it together with T-Mobile and Ericsson. There was also a presentation of Intel’s solutions for self-driving cars, a new server CPU dla (the Cascade Lake line), and an interesting 3D Athlete Tracking Technology, developed in cooperation with Alibaba (the AliExpress corp), with regular video cameras.