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.
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 Desktop CPU Generations Comparison:
|Intel Sandy Bridge||Intel Ivy Bridge||Intel Haswell||Intel Broadwell||Intel Skylake||Intel Kaby Lake||Intel Coffee Lake||Intel Coffee Lake Refresh||Intel Comet Lake||Intel Rocket Lake|
|Processor Architecture||Sandy Bridge||Ivy Bridge||Haswell||Broadwell||Skylake||Kaby Lake||Coffee Lake||Coffee Lake||Comet Lake||Rocket Lake|
|Processors Cores (Max)||4/8||4/8||4/8||4/8||4/8||4/8||6/12||8/16||10/20||10/20?|
|Platform Socket||LGA 1155||LGA 1155||LGA 1150||LGA 1150||LGA 1151||LGA 1151||LGA 1151||LGA 1151||LGA 1200||TBD|
|Platform||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA||Desktop LGA|
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.