Intel Finally Unveils 10nm Cannon Lake Processors

The chipset will be first used in the latest Leneovo Ideapad.
Kashyap Vyas

For years, we have seen the transistor size in processors shrinking gradually. If you were to remember the transistor size in the oldest CPUs, these were of about 90nm in size.

But nowadays, cutting-edge manufacturing processes have made it possible to manufacture transistors of very small size. Intel has been able to reduce its transistor size to 14nm and its been the powerhouse of their new 7th generation of processors and called it the Kaby Lake architecture.

As the transistor size shrinks, the manufacturers are able to pack in more transistors per inch, giving more processing power. But the downside is that the manufacturing itself becomes very hard.

To form a transistor on a silicon wafer, the surface of it must be etched to a certain degree. These cuts can be of different sizes, and the size of the cut determines the transistor size. So, Intel’s 7th gen processors used a 14nm cut to make its transistors.

The chip-making giant promised to develop 10nm chips two-years back, but there was no word on when it would be released. Companies like Samsung, however, have already perfected their 10nm manufacturing processes.

Intel, being the market leader in computer processors, had to perfect this technology sooner than later. The wait is finally over as the company has unveiled their 10nm processors dubbed as the Cannon Lake processors.


However, things are not looking too good for Intel because of their series of delays. Especially when the company's biggest rival AMD has already begun working on developing 7nm processors.

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The much famed 10nm chip, Core-i3-8121U, has been spotted in the 330 Lenovo Ideapad laptops listed by the Chinese Retailers. These details about the processor have been published by Intel on the ARK catalog.

The ‘i3’ and the ‘8’ spotted in its name confirms the chip being of a low specification more like the predecessors including Kaby Lake-G, Kaby Lake-R, and the Coffee Lake Intel processors. This chip according to its initial positioning is going to be used in the midrange notebooks.

This 15W lake chip is built on a 10nm process and has got four threads, two cores, a 2.2GHz base clock with a 3.5 GHz turbo boost, 15W TDP, 4 MB level-3 cache and memory support up to 32 GB. The chip offers support to two different kinds of memory including the LPDDR4 and the LPDDR4X.

Both of these are a low power variant of the DDR4. This low power memory will further reduce the total power consumption when in use with high memory configurations.

The listing also mentions that the Lake processors offer support to a better number of PCIe lanes, which is now up to sixteen from the previous twelve. The ARK catalog has excluded the specs for the GPU.

Intel has a record of including an integrated GPU with almost every desktop or mobile processor and the same expectation has been running high for this chip. However, the GPU details are missing from the catalog and this might mean that Intel has taken a different route with this one.

The Lenovo laptop featuring the chip talks about a discrete GPU AMD R5 and there is no detailed explanation as to whether the chip has a GPU. The air around the chip is still mysterious; all we know is that the chip is in the market and there is a little knowledge available today compared to yesterday’s none.

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