A few days back, Intel introduced its first 10th-generation Core processors, codenamed Ice Lake. Built on a 10-nanometer method, the chips are designed for thin-and-light notebooks, which means that they could potentially make their path to future entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models.
Intel says the Ice Lake chips have raised board integration, allowing manufacturers like Apple to release notebooks with sleeker designs. The chips conjointly feature Intel’s all-new Gen11 graphics design for up to double the graphics performance, and integrated Thunderbolt 3 and Wi-Fi 6, aka 802.11ax.
Intel is also introducing a new processor number naming structure starting with this first set of 10th-generation Core processors, doing away with Y and U series identifiers and instead emphasizing graphics. The new structure may be a bit confusing, but The Verge has a nice breakdown for deciphering them.
One can notice that the Y-series chips are rated for 9W or 12W, and the U-series chips are rated for 15W or 25W. This is a tremendous range within each chip, and it means the same chip can run at faster frequencies for longer if manufacturers stick them in a larger laptop with better radiators and fans.
But also the fact that the Y-series TDP has crept up from 5W or 7W to what’s now 9W or 12W, while the U-series’ base clock speeds have slunk down to around a Y-series-like 1GHz instead of hovering around 1.6GHz, suggest that U and Y are more alike than ever before — suggesting users may no longer be able to rely on a U-series processor to obtain fast sustained performance unless it’s got enough thermal headroom to do so.
Here’s what Intel revealed concerning the speed variation between Ice Lake Y and U:
The main performance variation between the 12W and 15W will be seen on multithreaded applications, which are more power limited. 3W of additional power will be used to increase average frequency into higher performance. It has been observed that between 5-15% performance has increased on some benchmarks such as Spec06, SYSmark, and 3DMARK.
That is why that “8” in “Core i7-1068G7” is going to be the most important digit to look for later this year: it’s the only chip in the entire line-up that, for better or for worse, guarantees it’ll provide users that minimum 2.3GHz in all apps. Just don’t expect the variation to be vast here either: Intel tells The Verge it’s seen a similar 5 to 15 percent performance increase from that 28W part compared to the 15W ones.
Intel says 35 laptops are lined up to deliver Ice Lake chips this holiday season, some of the Project Athena designs that’ll offer over 9 hours of real-world battery life. We’ll be eagerly waiting to envision how they perform.