Intel’s 2018 Roadmap Shows New High-End Cascade Lake-X Debuting Next Year

From ExtremeTech: Intel’s new Cascade Lake-X family is rumored to be based on Intel’s 14nm++ architecture, which would offer a modest improvement to speeds or thermals. We wouldn’t expect these gains to be significant in all cases — while the chips can undoubtedly clock up a bit from where they are, it’s far more difficult to increase the all-core boost clock on an 18-core CPU than on a quad-core or six-core chip. This chart also implies that Kaby Lake-X is going away after Cascade Lake, which honestly isn’t surprising. Kaby Lake-X felt like an afterthought, something Intel tacked on to its X299 platform with a significant number of caveats, like only having half its RAM slots available when using a Kaby Lake-X CPU. Once the Core i7-8700K came out, KBL-X didn’t make any sense.

Coffee Lake will continue to drive Intel’s mainstream throughout all of 2018, with new six, four, and dual-core CPUs rounding out the product family. We’ve seen rumors of new chipsets, and the use of the generic “300-series” chipset as opposed to Z370 supports that rumor, but there’s no word yet on whether these will be more budget offerings (which is what we expect) or if Intel will launch something higher-end. Atom CPUs are transitioning from Apollo Lake to Gemini Lake, and it looks like Gemini Lake breaks from Intel’s previous tradition, in that it’s neither a process shrink (which is what we’d expect under the old tick-tock model) nor simply a clock optimization/increase (which is what we’d expect under PAO).

Gemini Lake, according to an analysis of the Linux patches added to support it, has a four-wide pipeline instead of three-wide, supports native HDMI 2.0, VP9 hardware decoding, DisplayPort 1.2a (which includes support for FreeSync technology), and a 10 to 15 percent overall performance uplift within the same power envelope. It may even contain an integrated 802.11ac modem, in a major first for an Intel SoC. Collectively, these are a fair number of improvements to Intel’s budget processor, and they suggest Intel’s Atom family will see a fair performance improvement in 2018.

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