There’s a lot of techno babble that comes alongside any CPU announcement but the one figure to focus on here is 10nm. Delayed four years Intel is finally moving to a new 10nm architecture that has long eluded the company.
In addition to joining the 10nm fam the new CPUs will incorporate other components that were previously bolted on. Added controllers for Thunderbolt 3 controller and Wi-Fi 6 allow a larger throughput and support of multiple ports meanwhile Intel’s new Gen11 graphics system will be included but don’t expect it to set any records, it falls short of 60fps at 1080p for most games (on lower settings).
The low powered (9W, 15W, 28W) versions of the new CPUs are to be released first, meaning that your notebook or low end MacBook are more likely to be getting a 10th-gen CPU ahead of your desktop workstation or pro laptop.
Performance wise Intel are touting a 15% gain in instructions per cycle (IPC), which is good enough to theoretically put the 10th-gen chips on top of the CPU pile again but when compared to prior iterations the improvements in raw core performance appear marginal at best.
Available later in the year Ice Lake is likely to be adopted by those not offered the option, included in laptops and other machines requiring low-powered CPUs. For those hanging out to beef up that gaming or video editing rig, you’ll just have to wait and then weigh up the cost/benefit of doing so.