At CES 2019 Intel showcased a slew of new products across a broad range of platforms. Traditionally a behemoth in the desktop and laptop processor arena, this time round the company seems to be pursuing a more holistic strategy given the rapidly changing pace of consumer technology.
Aside from the traditional PC and laptop technology improvement, Intel also showcased advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) computing, 5G and more of what it has been pursuing doggedly of late – Autonomous Driving (AD).
Intel leaders including Gregory Bryant, SVP, Client Computing Group and Navin Shenoy, EVP, Data Centre Group also shared thoughts on what it would take in data centre and cloud technologies to fulfil new user experiences.
New Intel 9th Generation Core Chips
Building further on the 9th Generation family of processors, Intel has increased the family size with seven new chips expected to be coming out this month. Still based on existing 14nm architecture, the chips will offer speeds of between 3.6GHz to 5GHz.
Interestingly, some of these chips will come with the Intel graphics core disabled (identified by an ‘F” designation) and only one will be locked. The remainder will join the ranks of overclockable Intel processors.
On the mobile computing front, Intel announced a new 10nm architecture designated ‘Ice Lake’.’ Ice Lake will bring enhancements to Intel’s Sunny Cove architecture with capabilities in speeding up AI and the graphics engine.
Also included will be new Intel Gen11 graphics which has more than double the number of execution units that the previous generation sports. The objective of this is to try and exceed the exiting 1 TFLOP limit – impressive for integrated graphics.
New devices utilizing Ice Lake technologies are expected to be seen form Intel OEM partners some time this year. Dubbed ‘Project Athena’, the new class of advanced laptops will also include other as-yet non-mainstream capabilities such as 5G and artificial intelligence.
Intel Server Technology Update
Intel said that its next generation of Intel Xeon Scalable processor will also be based on 10nm Ice Lake technology, aimed at offering performance improvements. Of interest for this area are better hardware-enhanced security features. Unfortunately, new server processor units will only be seen commencing from 2020.
Shenoy also announced the Intel Nervana Neural Network Processor (NNP) for Inference. This entirely new class of processor is aimed at environments which have high workload demands. Intel has partnered Facebook to work on the NNP and a training module named ‘Spring Crest’ is expected later this year.
Infrastructure, Automotive and AI
Finally moving forward in its longstanding quest towards better network infrastructure, Intel will also be basing a new SoC on the 10nm architecture. Named ‘Snow Ridge’, the chip is being developed with the sole aim of moving forward of 5G and edge computing.
Also announcing a new partnership with Alibaba, Intel will be working towards develop AI-powered 3D athlete tracking technology. The process will leverage on Intel technologies and hardware and combine that with Alibaba’s expertise in cloud computing.
The combination is expected to result in a deep learning application that will enable teams to extract 3D forms of athletes in training and competition. The images captured by cameras will phase out the need for specialized body sensors or gear. Chances are that we will get a glimpse of this at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, Rival AMD has kept is focus mainly on mainstream PC and graphics technology, introducing improved Ryzen desktop and notebook processors. The company also showcased a new graphics solution dubbed Radeon VII which is expected to utilize PCIe 4 technology to almost double existing bandwidth limitations.