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Intel’s 14nm Coffee Lake CPUs Feature Same Architecture as 10nm Cannonlake – Built For High-Performance Desktop and Notebook Platforms

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Sep 16, 2016

Yesterday, we posted a roadmap detailing Intel’s next-gen processor roadmap. The roadmap showcased several new chips, including 14nm Kaby Lake, 14nm Coffee Lake and 10nm Cannonlake. While little details are known about the Coffee Lake and Cannonlake chips, a leak covered by The Motley Fool might just tell us why Intel is going to offer a 4th family based on the 14nm process in 2018.

Intel’s Coffee Lake Family is Cannonlake Built on 14nm Process – Coming to High-Performance Notebooks / Desktops in 2018

Intel’s Cannonlake and Coffee Lake are still a year away from launch but we know a couple of things about them. The roadmap revealed that Cannonlake would be available in late 2017 in U and Y series. Coffee Lake would ship in Q2 of 2018 to U / H / S series platforms. Following are what the different Intel series means:

  • Intel X Processors – Enthusiast Desktop
  • Intel K Processors – Unlocked Desktop
  • Intel S Processors – Mainstream Desktop
  • Intel H Processors – High-End Mobility
  • Intel U Processors – Ultra Low Power (Mobility)
  • Intel Y Processors – Ultra Low TDP (Mobility)

I mentioned the naming scheme to give you an idea of what these series means and how Intel has made an intelligent decision with their upcoming series of processors. After Kaby Lake, Intel will be shipping their 10nm Cannonlake CPU to the high-volume market, e.g. U-Series and Y-Series based notebooks. Compared to 14nm which took several years to mature, 10nm will be an infant node. As such, the new node will be expensive and won’t keep up with yields as 14nm.

In such situations, it makes more sense to offer smaller chips instead of moving to bigger parts. This is where Coffee Lake comes in. Coffee Lake will be the fourth processor family to feature the 14nm node but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Within Coffee Lake, Intel would maintain architectural parity with their Cannonlake chips.

Intel Coffee Lake Has Cannonlake uArch, Gen 10 Graphics and Up To 6 CPU Cores

Simply said, Coffee Lake is Cannonlake designed on 14nm for higher yield output. This is revealed in an Intel slide displayed on their website and captured by The Fool. As you can see, Cannonlake-H and Cannonlake-S are clearly mentioned under a new branding name, that’s Coffee Lake.

Intel’s Coffee Lake is Cannonlake designed on the high-yield 14nm process. (Image Credits: The Motley Fool)

However, Intel would also offer some Cannonlake-U series chips under the Coffee Lake brand. These will be the quad core variants with GT3e graphics. The chips will coexist with Cannonlake-U series (Dual Core / GT2 GPU).

Now here’s the deal, the new 14nm chips deploy a new architecture. This includes both CPU (Cannonlake uARCH) and GPU (Gen.10 Graphics). They are featured on the mainstream and unlocked desktop and mobility lines with up to 6 CPU cores. For the first time, Intel would offer a higher core-count on their mainstream chips, both desktop and notebooks.

Intel CPU Generation Comparison:

  Intel Sandy Bridge Platform Intel Ivy Bridge Platform Intel Haswell Platform Intel Broadwell Platform Intel Skylake Platform Intel Kaby Lake Platform Intel Coffee Lake Platform Intel Comet Lake Platform Intel Ice Lake Platform
Processor Architecture Sandy Bridge Ivy Bridge Haswell Broadwell Skylake Kaby Lake Coffee Lake Comet Lake Ice Lake
Processor Process 32nm 22nm 22nm 14nm 14nm 14nm+ 14nm++ 14nm++ 10nm
Processors Cores (Max) 4/8 4/8 4/8 4/8 4/8 4/8 6/12 & 8/16 10/20? TBD
Platform Chipset 6-Series “Cougar Point” 7-Series “Panther Point” 8-Series “Lynx Point” 9-Series “Wild Cat Point” 100-Series “Sunrise Point” 200-Series “Union Point” 300-Series ICL PCH? ICL PCH?
Platform Socket LGA 1155 LGA 1155 LGA 1150 LGA 1150 LGA 1151 LGA 1151 LGA 1151 TBD TBD
TDPs 35-95W 35-77W 35-84W 65W 35-91W 35-91W 35-95W TBD TBA
Thunderbolt Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Platform Desktop LGA Desktop LGA Desktop LGA Desktop LGA Desktop LGA Desktop LGA Desktop LGA Desktop LGA Desktop LGA
Launch 2011 2012 2013-2014 2015 2015 2017 2017-2018 2019 2020?

While users on high-end platforms won’t get a taste of 10nm processors till late 2018, they should still be excited that chips will have performance parity with 10nm chips. Deploying the same architecture and higher cores would give a nice boost in performance along with new Gen 10 graphics which will be an addition on the notebook side. Desktop users should also be interested in the upcoming 14nm Kaby Lake processors which start shipping around CES 2017.