Intel today unveiled their upcoming series of processors destined for 2019, Sunny Cove, based upon a 10nm architecture. Set for Intel’s Core and Xeon series, they could be found in upcoming Mac models seen in 2019 and beyond.

The chips are described as being “deeper, wider and smarter“, and will offer greater performance paired with reduced power draw.

The die shrink comes after a handful of delays, as Intel initially scheduled 10nm mass production for as early as 2015. Manufacturing woes pushed the date back to 2018, with the company now finally promising 10nm processors in consumer hands by mid-2019.

While there’s obviously no official word about which computers these CPUs will ultimately be found in, subsequent Mac updates will likely utilize the 10nm process — whether from Intel or not.

Intel also detailed its upcoming Gen11 integrated GPU, however, it was demonstrated today integrated with current 8th-gen Cannon Lake processors.

For those confused, Sunny Cove is Intel’s codename for the new 10nm chips described today. And while most people familiar with Intel’s roadmap might be questioning where Ice Lake plays into this (the next major microarchitecture update according to Intel), it’s presumed that when Intel pairs the new dye shrink with Gen11 graphics, they’ll be officially marketed as Ice Lake.

As for other new features with the CPUs, Intel promises improved speeds in AI related tasks, cryptography, and machine learning.

A detailed report from ArsTechnica describes some of the new technology built into the series, and how it will also offer expanded memory capability options, in theory opening the door for supercomputers with petabytes of RAM or 48 cores.

Sunny Cove also makes the first major change to x64 virtual memory support since AMD introduced its x86-64 64-bit extension to x86 in 2003. Although the virtual memory addresses used on these systems take 64 bits to store, they only actually contain 48 useful bits of information. Bits 0 through 47 are used, with the top 16 bits, 48 through 63, all copies of bit 47. This limits virtual address space to 256TB. These virtual addresses are mapped to physical addresses using a page table structure with four levels, with physical memory addresses also limited to 48 bits. This means that these systems can support a maximum of 256TB of physical memory.

Further, Intel reiterated plans to manufacture a discrete graphics option by 2020, perhaps in an effort to retain Apple as a customer through the next decade.

Are you excited to finally see a die shrink from Intel, or does it feel too little too late with Apple’s A-series chips already clocking in at desktop speeds.


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