Intel Sunny Cove is its next-generation gaming CPU architecture

Intel has announced the successor to its 14nm CPU architecture: Sunny Cove

Intel CPU die

Intel has announced the successor to its 14nm CPU architecture. The Sunny Cove architecture is set to launch in both Core and Xeon server processors “later next year” and will be the first of their kind on the belated 10nm process.

Intel just made the announcement at its Architecture Day, during which its top execs – including VP of Core and Visual computing Raja Koduri – all got around to discuss Intel’s brand new segmented technical strategy. The model features six pillars: Process, Architecture, Memory, Interconnect, Security, and Software.

The Sunny Cove architecture is “designed to increase performance per clock and power efficiency for general purpose computing tasks” (what good CPU architecture isn’t?), but that’s not all. It will also feature improvements to accelerate AI and cryptography workloads, along with enhancements to increase compute parallelism, too.

Intel is expecting considerable IPC (instruction per clock) improvements due to the new sleek architecture. Specifically Intel is touting three main avenues of improvement with Sunny Cove: it will be deeper, wider, and smarter than ever before.

Enhancements include improving algorithms to reduce latency, increased buffer and cache sizes – L1 caches will see a 50% increase for example – and in-silicon improvements to boost performance in cryptography, compression, and decompression.

Intel Core roadmap

Intel reckon these improves to parallelism will aid in both the gaming and data-centre applications.

But it’s not all cache bumps and algorithms. No, Intel also announced its Gen11 integrated graphics. Users currently rocking iGPUs will be glad to hear that Intel is significantly ramping up the Execution Units in its 10nm Sunny Cove chips shipping next year. While the current flagship 8700K features just 24 Gen9 EUs, the Gen11 iGPU will offer 64 EUs.

Thanks to the 10nm shrink, Intel is able to stuff a lot more graphics silicon into any given space. The Gen11 iGPU is going to be capable of over one TFLOPS performance, significantly more than previous iterations, and roughly squaring up to AMD’s 2200G APU in pure-GPU compute performance. In terms of discrete graphics card levels, that puts it around the same level as an Nvidia GT 1030 or an AMD RX 550.

Intel Architecture Day

And, speaking of AMD, Sunny Cove will be the first new Intel Core CPUs to face off with AMD’s Zen 2 processors expected to launch much earlier in 2019.

Intel has also confirmed the following two architectures taking us into 2021, although Ice Lake, the 10nm+ architecturen previously announced, is now nowhere to be seen. Following Sunny Cove we’ll have Willow Cove, featuring a cache redesign and new transistor optimisations. Then it’s onto Golden Cove for performance increases, specifically catered to AI and 5G.