A year and a half has passed since Intel outlined its roadmap on 10 nanometers in the way it intends to take them to lower-consumption devices. In addition to Ice Lake, conventional laptop designs, the semiconductor colossus pointed to a new, much more innovative design: Intel Lakefield.

Lakefield comes as a breath of fresh air to the laptops that need more energy efficiency. This includes new formats, from the already typical tablets to others more compact or of a more restricted space. This includes foldables like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold, introduced a few months ago and set to hit the market soon, or the Microsoft Surface Neo.

Another of the products chosen for the launch of this chip will be the x86 version of the Samsung Galaxy Book S, presented a year ago now with Qualcomm SoC on board. This will be good news for those who view the Windows ARM ecosystem with suspicion, still far from taking off.

Photo: David Ortiz | Hypertextual.

Small format, low consumption: Intel Lakefield

Lakefield’s clues are various, but they all revolve around the metric of small format and energy consumption. For this they resort to some of the techniques that we have already seen in other sectors. Perhaps the most interesting, due to Intel’s track record, resides in Foveros.

Foveros consents stack different chips in the same package, also combining different manufacturing processes on a single chipset. That is, we can have the processing cores –CPU and GPU– in one layer, manufactured in the 10 nanometer process that has been so difficult to refine, while in another other chips such as I / O are brought together in previous technologies such as this one. case the 22 nm. In a last layer is the RAM memory, in its LPDDR4 standard. The package in question will measure 12 x 12 millimeters.

Lakefield’s second big key is the combination of two types of cores. This technique, common in smartphones since ARM presented its big.LITTLE scheme in 2011. In this way we will have great performance – always relative to its format and consumption – but also good efficiency when we are not doing anything.

Intel Lakefield, i3 and i5 in two 7-watt configurations

Going into detail, the first specific Intel Lakefield configurations are already a reality. They come in two formats, with 7 watts TDP, on which fly more than interesting metrics.

First, there will be two designs. The most basic will be a i3, L13G4, which will have a ‘big’ core together with four ‘small’ cores. In this case, there will be relatively low operating frequencies, of about 0.8 GHz in base and 2.8 GHz in turbo mode. It has 48 graphic execution units.

Freq. base
Freq. Turbo (1 core)
1 + 4
0.8 GHz
2.8 GHz
48 EUs
7 W
1 + 4
1.4 GHz
3.0 GHz
64 EUs
7 W

The more powerful, an i5 L16G7, it will have a similar configuration. It will have a considerably higher base frequency, 1.4 GHz, reaching 3 GHz in Turbo mode. Its graphics are also expected to be up to 33% more powerful, due to the extra 16 EUs, which will work in this case at the same frequency.

It is with these low-performance cores that Intel intends to respond to the system in a wide variety of situations. Thanks to this operation, they hope to achieve standby consumption of only 2.5 mW, so autonomy must be multiplied accordingly.


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