In advance of its formal press conference on Monday of CES 2020, Intel teased a few details on its plans for upcoming laptop CPUs (both imminent and further down the road), and gave a glimpse of a powerful mini-PC platform it will be spearheading under the NUC umbrella.
Comet Lake-H Is Getting Close
For starters, the company acknowledged that the high-end mobile versions of its 10th Generation “Comet Lake” CPUs would be appearing “very soon,” according to a spokesman at the Jan. 6 Intel Performance Session we attended. With 10th Generation “Comet Lake” and “Ice Lake” chips for ultraportables now on the market, it was a matter of time before the H Series models would show up.
The chip maker was cagey about much nitty-gritty, though. The basic stuff: The chips will run up to Core i9 versions, along the same lines as the Core i9-9980HK that tops the current “Coffee Lake” 9th Generation series. The Comet Lake-H chips will come in versions up to eight cores and 16 threads (with Hyper-Threading), with more of the chip SKUs coming in an 8C/16TH flavor than just the very top-end Core i9.
Under boost conditions, the Core i7 10th Gen H Series will peak at over 5GHz, with the Core i9 variants cresting even higher. Intel did not specify how many cores would be able to hit that boost clock, or under what conditions. Nor did it get into detail about the integrated graphics solution that might be on the chip (say, Iris Plus versus UHD Graphics).
Early designs with Comet Lake-H series CPUs that we have seen so far include the Lenovo Legion Y740s (see our hands on of that machine) and the Acer Concept D Ezel 7 and Ezel 7 Pro. (Pictured above; hands on forthcoming.) Neither OEM was able to share more detail about these CPUs.
The NUC Gets Bigger, More Muscular
Intel’s venerable NUC platform is moving to a larger form factor with the NUC 9 Extreme, a gaming-oriented mini-PC that Intel teased as well. Code-named “Ghost Canyon,” the new NUC succeeds the previous-most-powerful, the “Hades Canyon” NUC, which made use of a now-discontinued special Intel CPU/AMD graphics Core i7 chip that brought discrete graphics to the NUC platform for the first time.
Ghost Canyon is quite the different animal, with a 45-watt CPU that peaks at over 5GHz boost, with unlocked cores and the ability to host a discrete desktop video card (albeit a short one) inside its chassis. That is a first for a NUC, which have all previously relied on integrated Intel graphics (or the on-chip AMD solution of Hades Canyon).
Early details, again, were slim, with the Ghost Canyon NUC boasting a 5-liter design and a power supply actually built into the little chassis. The most intriguing tease, though, is that the new NUC will be based at the core on Intel’s Compute Element technology, which will allow for easy future CPU upticks. (Check out our first look at the Compute Element from Computex 2019.) It is essentially a modular design for the core componentry.
‘Tiger Lake’ Gets Teased
Last, Intel acknowledged the rumored “Tiger Lake” platform, the mobile platform that will presumably succeed the 10nm “Ice Lake” as a refined 10nm process. Apart from some guidance on evaluating AI performance on client machines versus servers, the main takeaway from the Tiger Lake tease is that it will make use of Intel’s upcoming Xe graphics and will deploy three AI “engines” to speed client AI performance. Intel noted that more detail would be forthcoming in the Monday conference. Stay tuned.