Intel announces Sunny Cove, its first 10nm architecture with next-gen graphics

Intel announced its next-generation CPU architecture today, called Sunny Cove. Most notable, Sunny Cove will be built on a 10nm process, something that the company has been delaying for years now. Coming "later next year", Sunny Cove will be what's used for the next generation of both Xeon and Core processors.

The firm is promising the following with Sunny Cove:

  • Enhanced microarchitecture to execute more operations in parallel.

  • New algorithms to reduce latency.

  • Increased size of key buffers and caches to optimize data-centric workloads.

  • Architectural extensions for specific use cases and algorithms. For example, new performance-boosting instructions for cryptography, such as vector AES and SHA-NI, and other critical use cases like compression and decompression.

On top of the new architecture, Sunny Cove will include next-generation graphics, something that we didn't get with eighth-generation Core processors. The new Gen11 graphics include 64 enhanced execution units, which is quite a lot when compared with the previous generation's 24. Intel says that it will be its first integrated graphics to break the teraflop barrier.

It's using a tile-based rendering method, something that's already used in ARM GPUs like those from Qualcomm and Mali. This is taking an image and splitting it up into separate tiles, and it renders them all on separate processes.

That means that you should be able to play more games on ultrabooks that don't have discrete graphics. You still won't be playing at 4K or at a high frame rate, but games that were previously unusable will now at least playable on medium graphics.

According to Ars Technica, the new chips will support up to 128PB (yes, petabytes) of virtual address space and 4PB of physical memory. This is because previously, only 47 bits were used for virtual memory, something that's been the case with both Intel and AMD since 2003. Now, it will use 57 bits.

Sunny Cove is expected to ship in new products later on next year.

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