Intel 10nm Ice Lake Processors - 10th Generation Core Debuts
Back in May, Intel disclosed a number of details regarding its next-generation 10nm Ice Lake architecture and Project Athena. The latter is an innovation program Intel kicked-off in collaboration with key industry partners that’s meant to usher in a new breed of advanced laptop designs and mobile devices. Today, Intel inches closer to broad availability of its first-wave of Ice Lake-based products, with the release of 11 10th Generation Core mobile SKUs, ranging from a dual-core Core i3 with a nominal 9W TDP all the way on up to a quad-core / eight-thread Core i7, with Gen 11 Iris Plus graphics, and a 28W TDP.
Over the last few months, Intel has shown some competitive data to set expectations for 10th Gen Core performance. Santa Clara has extolled the virtues of its updated Sunny Cove microarchitecture, more powerful graphics engine, integrated Thunderbolt 3, Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+), Dynamic Tuning 2.0, and Intel DL Boost for accelerating desktop AI workloads. For more details on all of those technologies, we suggest perusing our Ice Lake architecture article – we cover it all there. In this piece we are not going to be diving too deeply into Ice Lake and its features, but we are finally able to show you some actual benchmark data, from tests we were able to run ourselves – sort of.
We recently had the chance to test an Intel-built Software Development System (SDS) featuring an Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor that could be configured on the fly for either a 15W or 25W TDP. The Core i7-1065G7 is the second most powerful mobile 10th Generation Core processor in Intel’s initial Ice Lake-based lineup. The CPU features quad-cores (eight-threads), with 8MB of Intel Smart cache, and base, max single-core boost, and max all-core turbo frequencies of 1.3GHz, 3.9GHz, and 3.5GHz, respectively. The Core i7-1065G7 also features fully-equipped Iris Plus Graphics with 64EUs (execution units) with a maximum frequency of 1.1GHz.
Though Intel has said it has landed more than 35 design wins with Ice Lake -- arriving between now and the end of the year -- the system we benchmarked is something Intel (and its partners) put together for testing and qualification and won’t be sold at retail. We should also note that while we did install many of our own benchmarks and applications, some were pre-installed on the machine and the OS image was setup by staff at Intel as well.
That said, what we’re able to show you on the pages ahead should be in-line with retail systems when they begin shipping, give or take a few percentage points as Intel further optimizes its platform and software, while its partners tweak thermal and power profiles in their designs.
CPU-Z wasn’t able to properly read all of the Intel Ice Lake system’s details, but they do show some of the high-level processor and platform specifics. As you can see, the Core i7-1065G7 features 192K of L1 Data cache with 12-way associativity, and 128K of L1 Instruction cache with 8-way associativity. There’s 2MB of L2 (also 8-way) and the aforementioned 8MB of L3. The BIOS of the machine was built on July 2, just couple of weeks before we got our hands on the system, and there was 8GB of memory installed. Although CPU-Z doesn’t show it, the LPDDR4X memory was configured in a dual-channel setup running at 3,733MHz.
In addition to the Core i7-1065G7 being based on Intel's latest CPU microarchitecture and manufactured at 10nm, its Gen11 Iris Plus Graphics with 64 EUs marks a major step forward for Intel in the GPU department. The graphics and media engines in Ice Lake are significantly more powerful than its predecessors, as you'll see soon. Intel has also made great strides with its graphics drivers and software suite. If you haven't seen it before, Intel's Graphics Command Center has a clean and easy-to-use interface, complete with explanations for most features and video.
Put all of this new hardware and software together and what have you got? It's time to find out...