Intel is providing a sneak peek (in rendered form) of its upcoming Lakefield processor family, which is based off its new Foveros three-dimensional stacked packaging technology that it detailed during its Architecture Day in Los Altos last December. While fine grain details are still under lock and key, a short video clip gives us a broad overview of the composition of Lakefield.
Lakefield represents a move away from traditional chip packaging. Instead of a single die placed into slice of silicon, Foveros is a hybrid CPU architecture that enables combining different pieces of IP into a single package. That includes bits and pieces that might have otherwise have been discrete. By going with this 3D stacked approach, Intel enables the creation of smaller, more compact systems.
"The result is a product that is optimized for power efficiency, immersive graphics, I/O, and memory all in this tiny SoC, which is approximately 12mm-squared. We then pair this hybrid CPU architecture approach with an innovative 3D packaging technique we call Foveros that allows us to actually stack various pieces of IP together in three dimensions rather than two," Intel explains.
As it pertains to the Lakefield part Intel is showing off, the hybrid CPU consists of a single high-performance 10-nanomter Sunny Cove core with four 10nm-based smaller cores.
The combination of a high-performance Sunny Cove core with four small cores is reminiscent of ARM's big.LITTLE approach. In this case, the Lakefield chip features 1.5MB of L2 cache and 4MB of last-level cache (LLC), Intel Graphics Gen11, LP-DD4 memory, a Gen 11.5 display processorj, an imaging processor, a Camera Serial Interface, and a few other components, as shown in the image above.
By packing all of these pieces into a hybrid CPU design, Intel gives OEMs a smaller solution to build around. It's possible, for example, to squeeze this Lakefield part into a motherboard that measures a scant 125mm x 30mm, which is about the length of a pen and not a whole lot wider.
Intel says Lakefield will be in production this year. Our guess is that it will ship up around the holidays, as that is when Intel is planning to finally ship Cannon Lake in volume as well (which is not built on a 3D package).