Intel’s next-gen architecture will be “significantly bigger” than Sunny Cove

Intel's next-gen architecture will be

Intel’s next-gen architecture will be “significantly bigger” than Sunny Cove

Intel has reached a turning point. For years Intel has been iterating on its Skylake architecture with Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake, Coffee Lake-R (Refresh) and now Comet Lake, with prior architectures offering relatively small generational performance gains and relatively little reason to upgrade. 

Now, the PC landscape has changed. The introduction of AMD’s Zen architecture has pushed high core count CPUs into the mainstream. On top of this, Zen also offers PC builders an alternative to Intel’s x86 processors that offers strong single-threaded performance. This is especially true with AMD’s Zen 2 architecture. 

Intel has been backed into a corner, and they need to start pushing performance in a way that we haven’t seen since the introduction of the Sandy Bridge architecture. With this in mind, Intel’s Jim Keller has announced that the company’s successor to Sunny Cove, the CPU architecture behind Ice Lake, will be “significantly bigger”. Sunny Cove promises a 15-18% IPC boost over Skylake already, confirming that Intel is taking the threats posed by AMD very seriously. 

At a recent talk titled “Moore’s Law is Not Dead“; Jim Keller stated that Intel “have a roadmap to 50x more transistors”. He also promised things like better branch prediction, a better instruction set architecture, and better optimisation on top of boosts to transistor count. From the looks of it, Intel is ready to innovate once again. 

Sadly, at this time it is unknown when Sunny Cove, or any 10nm processor, is due to reach the desktop market. Recent rumours have suggested that Intel has another 14nm Skylake derivative up their sleeves for early 2020. This means that Intel may legitimately need these larger core designs and architectural improvements when the time comes, as AMD is showing no signs of slowing down. 

Intel's next-gen architecture will be  

Should AMD be worried? Not necessarily. Ultimately, it depends on what AMD’s plans are and whether or not both AMD and Intel can execute on their design goals. With Zen and Zen 2, AMD has been able to do amazing things with a remarkably low R&D budget. The question now is whether or not AMD can continue this momentum as Intel prepares its next few generations of processors. 

You can join the discussion on Intel’s promise to make its next-generation processors “significantly bigger” than Sunny Cove on the OC3D Forums.