Intel's long-awaited shrink to 10nm CPUs will not be its repeatedly-delayed Cannon Lake architecture after all. It turns out that earlier rumors of its cancellation proved true, and instead Intel will be leapfrogging that to Ice Lake instead, its originally-planned successor die design. Ice Lake is now slated to make its appearance at the tail end of 2019 and will change things up in the CPU space quite significantly.
At this early stage in the chip-line's public life cycle Intel is understandably keeping much of the specs of the new hardware under wraps. However, it did reveal several of its more intriguing features. Ice Lake will natively support the latest Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) wireless standards, Thunderbolt 3, Intel's new AI accelerating instructions (called DL boost), and 11th-generation Intel graphics. Although that won't be as powerful as the 12th-generation chip used in Intel's upcoming dedicated graphics card in 2020, that should still offer as much as twice the performance of existing Intel UHD graphics solutions.
With all of the yield issues we've seen with Intel's Cannon Lake — which appears to have resulted in its eventual cancellation as an architecture — Intel is keen to make it clear that Ice Lake will not suffer multi-year delays. Volume production is already underway, we're told, and will result in the first chips and products sporting them, going on sale by the end of 2019.
This may ultimately prove too little too late, if the upcoming AMD Ryzen 3000 7nm chips prove as powerful and competitive as rumors would have us believe. There's no doubt that Intel's die shrink will bring impressive enhancements, but if AMD's chips are comparable, launch almost a year earlier, and are cheaper, there won't be much competition to be had.