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Intel reveals Ice Lake chips: Plenty of upgrades, but a long wait until holiday launch

A 10nm design, new micro-architecture, and faster graphics are three key upgrades seen in Ice Lake chips.

Published onJanuary 8, 2019

The Ice Lake slide at Intel's CES 2019 conference.

Intel didn’t have the best 2018, thanks to a resurgent AMD and high-profile vulnerabilities. But the company is kicking off 2019 in a big way with its new Ice Lake laptop chips, revealed at CES.

The mobile chip range stands out as Intel’s first “volume” 10nm PC processor, compared to the predecessor’s 14nm manufacturing process. In theory, the smaller design means we should see better battery life and less thermal-induced throttling.

Ice Lake uses Intel’s Sunny Cove micro-architecture, which allows for more tasks to be executed in parallel, and packs algorithms to reduce latency. We also see several other additions to the family, such as instruction sets for faster AI performance, Thunderbolt 3 integration, and Wi-Fi 6 support.

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The range is also touting a graphics upgrade, delivering Intel’s Gen11 graphics that promise to break the one teraflop mark. Additionally, Gen11 supports Intel Adaptive Sync for smoother framerates and reduced screen tearing. Intel has previously stated that Gen11 graphics will enable 8K content creation “in constrained power envelopes,” but it’s unclear whether this applies to the graphics tech in general or whether Ice Lake supports the feature.

Don’t expect to get your hands on Ice Lake laptops any time soon though, as Intel confirmed that the first products would only ship by the holiday season. So unless you don’t mind waiting 11 months, you’re probably better off buying a current-generation Intel-powered laptop.

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