A Review on Intel Series Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake & Canon Lake

Cannonlake vs Kaby Lake – Intel’s next-generation processor line-up. And there’s more to come but there’s a bunch of improvements you need to know about to understand what these really are.

Intel’s next-generation processor line-up went from CPUs to Apple’s Mac laptops and desktops since the 2006 switch from PowerPC. Currently, this includes the Core Duo series used in MacBook Pro, Mac mini and iMac; the Core m series used in the MacBook; and the Xeon series used with Mac Pro. With every generation, the processor is differentiated so there’s no problem identifying any. Such as, Previously Haswell or Broadwell, and currently Skylake or Kaby Lake.

Once upon a time, Intel was working on a “tick-tack” plan, where one generation introduced a die-shrink (smaller and smaller transistors) and the next a new architecture.

Now that the company reaches 14 nanometers and approaches 10 nanometers, physics has forced them to slow down … and dodge. This means that the generations have become more complicated and confusing.

Instead of driving from Skylake to Cannon Lake, Intel drives from Skylake to Kaby Lake, from Coffee Lake to Ice Lake to Cannon Lake.

Kaby Lake

Kaby Lake is Intel’s 7th generation architecture and is currently available on most Apple Mac devices. From Skylake, the predecessor generation, to Kaby Lake, both working in the 14nm process, little has changed.

Kaby Lake’s refined process allows better CPUs with lower power consumption. An upcoming update to Kaby Lake is for mobile, low-power configurations.

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Coffee Lake

Despite the refreshment of Kaby Lake, the Coffee Lake CPUs will be available later this year. One of the most influential changes in Coffee Lake is the addition of two more cores on the processor. Depending on the model, you now have up to 6 cores and 12 threads. The current generation of Intel desktop CPUs has been at the forefront of consumer 4-core and 8-threaded products. With more cores and more threads, faster calculations are possible for productivity-related tasks such as image editing and video editing.

There will also be support for faster memory speeds and updates for Thunderbolt 3.0 and USB 3.1 ports. While not necessarily an answer to AMD’s 16-core Ryzen Threadripper CPU with 32 threads, it’s nice to see the rival products provide customers with better and faster technology.

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Cannon lake

Cannon Lake is the code name for the Intel CPU architecture, which is expected to be released in late 2018.

The 14 nm process from Coffee Lake to Cannon Lakes 10 nm process helps in many ways. When manufacturing a CPU or GPU, the manufacturer creates a plurality of CPUs. Which is on a single silicon wafer, referred to as a wafer. The smaller the manufacturing process, the more CPUs or GPUs a manufacturer can produce on a single wafer.

Second, CPU size (chip size). If Intel did not make any changes to the 14nm Coffee Lake and the 10nm Cannon Lake, the smaller chip size would still require less power. This means a longer battery life and lower heat output, both of which are good things.

With these reductions, Intel can (and probably will) increase core clock speeds to enable even faster CPUs. You can also improve performance by increasing the number of transistors and the number of cores (also thanks to the pressure of AMD consumer CPUs). In addition to the process shrinkage to 10 nm, there could also be improvements to the various hardware components such as Thunderbolt and USB ports.

It comes down to marketing numbers, as lame as that can be – if the CPU of has an 8 in front, do you want to be the only company whose chips are on 7? No, do not do that. Businesses try not to skip Intel cycles because if you do, the impact of skipping is pretty much irreparable and gives your competitors the freedom to sell hardware they cannot reach. Proper design lead time means that moving a system from one SKU to another SKU is not time-consuming. Intel would have to face some sort of serious availability disaster to see companies simply ignore a new CPU. And DigiTimes track record of rumors is spotty enough to take a break.

None of this is to say that Intel could not delay Cannon Lake.

It has already been postponed several times; it could have been pushed back again. But so far, we only have a weak DigiTimes report that has no evidence behind it, and a patented Apple image that was blatantly misunderstood to say that it says something other than what it says.

Now Intel’s own guidelines suggest that AVX-512 will come to desktop CPUs with Cannon Lake. This is an unexpected update, as this instruction set is almost exclusively limited to the HPC world, where applications are specialized to justify a careful optimization that limits the maximum performance of the underlying hardware. Easier software development is one of the reasons why we were once told that some HPC labs started Intel’s Xeon Phi, although that was several years ago.

The instructions are introduced with Cannon Lake. It’s hard to say what kind of recording we’ll see from this new SIMD instruction set. AVX and AVX2 may have increased performance in certain applications. But they did not deliver the general accelerations that we saw of SSE2 when the Pentium 4 was relatively new.

Some of this was due to the awful performance of the P4 in the x87 code, which was often lagging behind the P3, but that was not the whole explanation. As new SIMD sets hit the market, synthetic apps continue to grow strongly, and HPC and other well-optimized apps do not work, as mentioned earlier – but the big push for optimizing future SIMD sets does not seem to work with the same intensity as before.

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