Have we reached a new Dark Age in technological progress?
AS SOON AS THE FIRST RUMORS started circulating concerning Intel’s top-end 9-series chip, housing eight cores and 16 threads, I knew that it was going to have a soldered IHS. I remember the conversation I had with Alan at the time: There was simply no way that architecture could take another two cores in a single die, without improving the putty-like TIM ( Thermal Interface Material) Intel was using between the die and the heat spreader. Lo and behold, we receive a sample, and that’s exactly what the company has done.
Considering that this TIM and core count upgrade is the only new addition to the Cannon Lake series (apart from even more BS when it comes to Intel’s now legendarily convoluted naming schemes, of course), it’s really difficult for me to get excited about it. I’ve driven the point home enough by now, but to reiterate: Kaby Lake was realistically the only optimization that Sky Lake received. Coffee Lake was simply a slightly higher clocked Kaby Lake with more cores, while Cannon Lake is nothing more than Coffee Lake with extra cores and a better TIM.
Intel’s biggest roadblock right now is getting to 10nm. Which is why we’ve seen a four-year delay on this die shrink alone. But the fear, for me at least, is what can follow 10nm? Manufacturers are already struggling to get to 10, with even Glo Fo pulling out of the race. What’s next for Intel’s long-term strategy? Are we going to be in a situation where it’s another five years of the same architecture, with diminutive increases in performance, and excessive hikes in thermal output? I certainly hope not….
The only thing I’m vaguely excited about is the packaging.