Intel Could Change Its Processor Roadmap in 2017



Rumors surround Intel’s plans for fiscal 2017

Intel’s (INTC) product leadership in the PC (personal computer) market allows it command a premium price for its products. However, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is looking to challenge this leadership by launching its competitive Ryzen CPUs (central processing units) at a lower price.

According to rumors reported by BenchLife and DigiTimes, Intel could launch its Basin Falls platform for HEDTs (high-end desktops) on June 26, 2017, instead of at the end of July as previously planned. Also, it may launch its fourth 14-nm (nanometer) microarchitecture, Coffee Lake, in August 2017 instead of January 2018.

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Basin Falls platform

According to DigiTimes, Intel’s Basin Falls platform comprises Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors and the X299 chipset. These would replace the Broadwell-E platform, which is two generations behind Kaby Lake and competes with AMD’s Ryzen 7 CPU. High-end Ryzen 7 desktop processors, priced between $329 and $499, compete with Intel’s i7 Broadwell processors, which are priced between $349 and $1,050. Ryzen performs better than Broadwell in multithreaded tasks.

It’s rumored that Intel will launch six-, eight-, and ten-core variants of Skylake-X processors in June 2017 and a top-end 12-core variant in August 2017. These processors are expected to have a TDP (thermal design power) of 140 watts. Kaby Lake X is expected to contain only quad-core variants and deliver a TDP of 112 watts. Both processor families are expected to share a common socket with at least 2,000 pads and an X299 platform controller.

Intel may be launching its top-end 12-core Skylake processor early because AMD plans to launch a top-end Ryzen processor with 16 cores and an X399 platform in 3Q17. These CPUs target the gaming market.

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Coffee Lake

Intel is expected to launch its K-Series Core i7/i5/i3 processors and Coffee Lake microarchitecture-based Z370 chipsets in August 2017, followed by other processors in late 2017 and early 2018.

Cannon Lake

The early arrival of Coffee Lake might delay the launch of 10-nm Cannon Lake until late 2018. A post published by Phoronix discussed software patches released by Intel’s graphics software development team. According to the post, Cannon Lake architecture would have two processor families: the Y-family, which is targeted at fanless notebooks, 2-in-1 convertibles, and tablets, and the U-family, which is targeted at mainstream thin-and-light notebooks and ultrabooks.

Intel’s typical CPUs are H-family, targeted at high-performance laptops, and S-family, targeted at desktops. With only two Cannon Lake families, it may co-exist with 14-nm Coffee Lake as follows:

  • Kaby Lake-U and Y would be succeeded by Cannon Lake U and Y
  • Kaby Lake-H and S would be succeeded by Coffee Lake H and S

Next, we’ll look at Intel’s mobile roadmap.


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