By Antony Leather
Intel has announced a new 10nm microarchitecture, codenamed Sunny Cove, which will launch in 2019 and finally allow the company to deliver a smaller manufacturing process to desktop and laptop CPUs on a big scale, potentially putting it on a collision course with AMD’s Ryzen 3000-series CPUs next year. As well as confirming that its 10nm CPUs are on track for a 2019 launch, seemingly ditching the troubled Cannon Lake name, the company also revealed improvements the architecture will bring, with sources saying the improvements in instructions per clock (IPC) are significant. .
Details include a 50% larger L1 data cache, larger L2 cache increased bandwidth and great capabilities per execution port. This means that Sunny Cove will be a ‘tick’ and a ‘tock’ all rolled into one, bringing a smaller manufacturing process which we last saw with its Broadwell CPUs in 2014 that ushered in 14nm, plus a new architecture, with this having changed more recently with the likes of Skylake.
To make it easier to scale its CPUs and add extra cores and features, it also announced Foveros 3D stacking, which it claims is an industry-first method of layering components on a PC. The full implementation of this will be a work in progress, and for now the company appears to be taking a similar route to AMD with 2D integration of chiplets – separate components built using different manufacturing processes – perhaps the only way it found to solve the 10nm difficulties that have caused delays with its Cannon Lake CPUs.
The final move will be full 3D integration – the stacking of chiplets onto chiplets allowing for far greater surface area density. It will be interesting to see how this impacts on cooling, of course. Intel’s timeline isn’t more specific than 2019 for the release of Sunny Cove products, but if anyone was wondering what the fight back against AMD would look like, this is probably it.