Lenovo recently unveiled several new budget IdeaPad laptops with prices starting at just $249, but apparently one of the new models is serving as a launchpad of sorts for Intel's 10-nanometer Cannon Lake processors. The 10nm part was spotted in a listing in China for Lenovo's IdeaPad 330-15, a 15.6-inch laptop with a 1366x768 resolution priced at 3,299 yuan, which works out to around $520 in US currency.
It feels like we have been waiting ages for Cannon Lake to arrive, though that is exaggerating things a bit. Still, it has not been easy for Intel to streamline its 10nm production process, as there have been multiple delays pushing back the launch. More recently, Intel promised to start shipping 10nm chips soon ahead of a volume roll out, and it looks like that time has finally arrived, or is about to.
Tucked inside the IdeaPad 330 is a Core i3-8121. According to accompanying marketing materials, Intel is calling the new chip an 8th generation part, same as Kaby Lake-R (Refresh) in the mobile sector, and Coffee Lake on the desktop. It is a dual-core processor with a 2.2GHz base clock and 3.1GHz boost clock. There are no integrated graphics on this particular SKU, so Lenovo paired it with an AMD Radeon RX 540 2GB GPU. To be clear, it looks as though Intel disabled the onboard graphics, as opposed to designing the chip without it.
As configured, the IdeaPad 330 based on Cannon Lake comes with 4GB of DDR4-2133 memory by way of a single SO-DIMM module and a 500GB 5,400 RPM hard drive. The vendor offers a few upgrades, including a bump to 8GB of system memory, twice as much mechanical storage at 1TB, and faster 128GB and 256GB solid state drive options. It's not clear if the 8GB RAM upgrade is a dual-channel configuration (2x4GB) or still single channel (1x8GB).
This is a thin and light machine measuring 14.9 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches and weighing 4.6 pounds. It's also a decidedly mainstream setup, though the CPU and GPU combination should give it a decent performance punch for general purpose chores, and perhaps even some lightweight gaming.
While not a powerhouse laptop, it's nice to see Cannon Lake finally poke its head into the retail sector, even if unofficially for the time being. We have to imagine than an official announcement can't be far behind, and hopefully that includes availability in the US market as well.