Ice Lake

Intel 10th Gen Ice Lake CPUs Launched: Can Intel Fight Back Against AMD?

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After AMD’s amazing reveal of its 7nm CPUs and Navi GPU yesterday, many people claimed that this could potentially disrupt the whole market. According to most experts, Intel, being the market leader, would suffer the most as a result of AMD’s massive gains. This prediction was also strengthened by the fact that AMD is actually the first major hardware manufacturer to launch consumer desktop CPUs based on the 7nm process. Intel, on the other hand has been unable to respond to AMD’s consistent onslaught and things might get even worse.

At Computex 2019, Intel officially launched its consumer line-up of 10nm CPUs called Ice Lake. This is the 10th generation of Intel Core processors and features the Sunnycove micro-architecture. The CPUs are shipping right now from today and you could grab one for your rig. However, whether you should do that or not is another question considering the fact that AMD has already surpassed Intel in the die size and arguably in performance as well (that remains to be seen though) with its new range of Ryzen 3000 processors right around the corner. We’ve had several insider reports that claimed that Intel had many hurdles to jump over to even get the 10nm CPUs ready for the market. However, from the launch, it seems like most of those issues have been fixed as the processors are ready to be shipped.

Intel Ice Lake

We’ve already seen tons of leaks for the new Ice Lakes processors and it seems like a lot of them were true. Things are not actually as bad at the Intel camp as people think. The company has revealed the details about its new Gen 11 graphics and the new architecture along with the new processors and it looks like Intel might actually give a tough fight to AMD. Let’s begin by talking about the IPC. According to Intel, the architectural upgrade will provide a massive 18% IPC boost and almost 40% more raw power. This is a big jump from Skylake and will definitely help Intel’s case. The company has also bolstered the AI capabilities in its Ice Lake processors which can now complete AI workloads at more than twice the speed of Skylake.

Intel Ice Lake

Ice Lake has been in the works for 4 years (instead of the usual 2 for Intel) and it definitely does have some major improvements over Skylake. One of these is also the inclusion of WiFi 6 and HEVC encoding up to 8K. Gen 11 graphics which are paired with Ice Lake CPUs have also received a massive boost and will now be able to comfortably perform at 1080p for casual gaming (more on that down below). Moreover, the display pipelines have also been improved and now can sustain graphics up to 5K60 or 4k120.

10th Gen Intel Core Processors

As far as the processors themselves are concerned, here are the raw specs. Ice Lake CPUs for the laptop market are going to have TDPs of 9W, 15W and 28W. Intel is continuing the formula of Quad Core mobile CPUs and Ice Lake processors, thus, go up to 4 cores and 8 threads as well. The CPUs have a L2 cache size of 8 MB with boosted clock speeds going up to 4.1 GHz. These do have hyper threading enabled though. Furthermore, the CPUs will come in the same Core i3, i5 and i7 variants and the graphics for these will be clocked at 1.1 GHz. We’ve already covered the specific models for the CPUs along with leaks a couple of months ago right here.

Ice Lake Core

Intel also launched a beastly Core i9-9900KS processor for hardcore gamers. This overkill of a CPU has an all-core turbo boost of 5 GHz and is an 8-core CPU. The clockspeeds will definitely help with gaming as it depends on higher clocks more than the number of cores. So, if you’re a hardcore gamer looking to push the boundaries, this one is for you.

i9-9900KS

Intel Gen 11 Graphics: Iris Plus

Intel has been working on its graphics department for quite a while and it looks like we’re finally starting to see the product of that work. The Gen 11 graphics, called Iris Plus, are not like the old Intel integrated graphics that struggled to compete against anything decent. Intel has learned a lot over the years and it shows, because the Gen 11 GPU is the first mobile Intel GPU that can really go head to head against Nvidia’s MX mobile series. Let’s put that aside and look at why Gen 11 is so good.

Iris Plus Specs

First of all, the Gen 11 GPU features a total of 64 EUs that have been clocked at 1.1 GHz. This comes out to be roughly 1.12 TFLOPs of computing power. To put this into perspective, the top model of the MX line-up by Nvidia, the MX 150 has a peak computing power of 1.17 TFLOPs. Additionally, the Xbox One, which can run most AAA titles has a horsepower of around 1.3 TFLOPs so the new Gen 11 graphics would breeze through most games especially for casual gamers. As Intel’s GPU is integrated and thus is also cost effective as compared to the dedicated options from Nvidia, this will probably put the MX series out of business unless Nvidia really steps up its game and refreshes the mobile dedicated GPUs.

Iris Plus

The increase in performance also comes without any compromise in power efficiency which is a massive bonus for any mobile graphics solution. Adding all of these improvements up, we get up to a whopping 1.8 times the performance of the last gen. What this means is that the GPU could handle most casual games easily and might even run some newer demanding titles at lower settings. We also have hardware level support for HEVC decoding now at 8K. Literally everything is new and even the graphics control panel has been redesigned to fit the Iris Plus branding.

AMD vs Intel: The Stakes and the Stocks

AMD totally destroyed Intel during its announcement of the Zen 2 Ryzen 3000 processors (you can read the full details here). This resulted in AMD’s stocks shooting up in value by over a mind blowing 10% in a single day. On the other hand, Intel and Nvidia’s stocks lost value. Furthermore, most hardware partners for AMD like Asus etc have also put their faith in the company’s upcoming 7nm processors and it looks like this is going to be the year of AMD. However, if you look at Intel’s camp, things are not so bad either. While Intel might lose its lead in the desktop market, it is still probably going to reign supreme in the realm of mobile computers. Ice Lake mobile CPUs paired with Gen 11 Iris Plus GPUs provide a massive boost over the last generation.

The next few months are going to be very exciting in terms of computer hardware with both Intel and AMD coming out with their new stuff. Moreover, E3 is around the corner as well and we might actually get some news about the next generation of consoles as well. Read our analysis of the PS5 here and the rumours and leaks for the next Xbox right here.

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