Intel today unveiled its new processors meant for ultra-thin and hybrid laptops. The company has been working on these for a long time now, under the codename Lakefield. The chips use the company’s Foveros 3D packaging technology to combine different chip architectures and memory into one processor.
This allows Intel to stack different components of the processor in three layers. It makes the Lakefield class of processors smaller and they will take up less space than a traditional PC chip. It’s important for ultra-thin and hybrid laptops like the Microsoft Surface Neo, which lack the space inside for traditional PC chips.
The company said these new chips will require 56% smaller package area and 47% smaller board sizes. They will also provide better battery life.
The company is launching two chips today, the Intel Core i5-L16G7 and the i3-L13G3. The i5 variant clocks at a base frequency of 1.4GHz but it can go up to 3GHz speeds on a single core, or 1.8GHz across all of its cores. On the other hand, the i3 variant has a base frequency of 800MHz and clocks up to 2.8GHz on single core speeds. They both have Intel’s 11th generation graphics chips integrated.
Intel also claimed that the processors will provide 2x throughput for “Artificial Intelligence (AI) enhanced workloads” and 1.7x better graphics performance. The chips also support WiFi 6 and Intel LTE connectivity solutions.
That though raises some questions about these chips. While Intel is evidently shooting for a more power and thermal efficient chip, the clock speeds on these put it considerably below the company’s PC-grade processors.
Today’s chips are relevant in another way, in that they could allow Intel to catch up with AMD. The company’s chief competition in the PC space has been making 7nm chips for a while now, but Intel has been stuck at 10nm at most, which was also used for today’s chips. The new 3D chips could help Intel overcome the difference.
7nm chips allow companies to use smaller transistors in their processors, and they’re more power efficient. This is important for modern thin, light and most importantly mobile devices.