Intel kicked off its CES 2019 event with a bang, officially revealing its 10nm Ice Lake chips. The new Ice Lake chips bring a number of big improvements over their predecessors and are expected to launch in mobile PCs during the 2019 holiday season.
One of the biggest improvements coming along with Ice Lake is that Thunderbolt 3 is natively supported on the SoC for the first time. The chips also pack Wi-Fi 6, otherwise known as 802.11ax, the next-generation Wi-Fi standard that is just now starting to make its way into the market. Additionally, the platform packs Gen 11 integrated graphics for improved performance, along with special tweaks to boost machine learning.
Intel's PC partners are already working on early engineering models of upcoming PCs with Ice Lake chips. On stage, Sam Burd, President of Dell's Client Solutions Group, brought out an early prototype of an upcoming XPS 13 featuring an Ice Lake processor.
Project Athena and Lakefield
Looking past Ice Lake, Intel also revealed that it is working on a new initiative called "Project Athena." Similar to its push to make Ultrabooks a household name years ago, Intel is using Project Athena as a platform to rally its partners to develop the "future of mobile computing." While details were scant on what to expect, it seems as if Intel is pushing for new form factors and smaller devices, with practically every big name in the PC industry involved.
Where Intel did provide some more concrete details was with Lakefield, the codename for a new hybrid CPU that combines its 10nm Sunny Cove architecture with four 10nm Atom cores. As Intel explained on stage, the combination different types of processor cores will allow your PC to run more efficiently, handing off big tasks to high-performance cores while keeping smaller tasks relegated to the others.
The result is a set of smaller chips on smaller boards, resulting in better battery life and performance for devices in smaller form factors. In fact, Intel has managed to create its smallest motherboard ever for the Lakefield processor, measuring in a 1x5 inches.
With Project Lakefield, Intel is expecting manufacturers to come up with a wide array of new form factors, runningthe gamut from traditional big-screen devices to small dual-screen devices under eleven inches.
Intel promises we'll hear more on Lakefield throughout 2019.