INTEL DOES 10NM, SORT OF
After months of heartache in Intel’s labs trying to get its new 10nm node manufacturing up and running, Intel has finally got something to market. But all isn’t well. Intel hasn’t made any fuss or even told anyone about it, which immediately says a lot. It took some observant consumers looking at laptops to realise that the Lenovo Ideapad 330 being sold in China was shipping with something rather unique in it. The CPU within is a Core i3-8121U. Intel hadn’t even put up its ark specs page for this CPU model at that time it was discovered, only once the word started leaking did they add it.
The CPU is fairly average but has a couple of odd twists. It’s a 15W dual core hyper-threaded CPU that clocks up to 3.2GHz. Nothing interesting there. It now supports LPDDR4 and LPDDR4X which is great for further power savings over previous gen products. The twists that makes this CPU quite oddball is that is supports AVX512, something only on offer in the desktop i9 series processors, and it has no iGPU which again is very Core i9-like and extremely strange for a low powered laptop part. The Lenovo laptop in question instead relies on AMD Radeon RX 540 discrete graphics.
It would appear Intel are just pushing out small quantities of as small a CPU as they can to get some money – any money – for all the effort it’s pumping into this stubborn 10nm node. The small chip size will reduce wafer wastage on an obviously still immature node.
Don’t expect 10nm high end parts any time soon. Next year in all likely hood. Baby steps is still progress after all, but chances are AMD with its 7nm tech via Global Foundaries (said to be equivalent to Intel’s 10nm process) may get to mass production first, by this year even. For the first time, I believe ever, AMD may well lead Intel on the manufacturing technology front.