May 16, 2018 // 11:18 a.m.
Intel has released official specifications for its first Cannon Lake processor, built on its long-delayed 10nm process node, and it's a surprising choice of launch product: a two-core four-thread (2c4t) Core i3 part aimed at laptops.
To say Intel has had trouble with its 10nm process node, the next stage from its current 14nm node, is an understatement: 10nm has been on the company's roadmap since back in 2012, but its planned 2015 launch never materialised - causing the company to abandon its years-old tick-tock development cycle in favour of extending its 14nm node for successive generations of new processor. In early 2017 the company claimed to have the problem licked and would be launching the 10nm-based Cannon Lake by year's end - a deadline which, once again, the company missed.
Back in April Intel officially confirmed yet another delay for its 10nm node, announcing that volume production of Cannon Lake parts would have to be pushed back to 2019 - but that hasn't stopped it seemingly signing a deal to produce and supply its first 10nm processor to Lenovo for its IdeaPad 330 laptop, first spotted by German technology site Computer Base.
Following the apparent leak on Chinese retailer JD.com, Intel has now made the Cannon Lake Core i3 chip detailed in the advert official with an entry in its Ark database. According to Intel, the Core i3-8121U will be the first 10nm processor in the Cannon Lake family, featuring two cores and four threads (2c4t) running at 2.2GHz base and 3.2GHz Turbo frequencies, 4MB of SmartCache, support for up to 32GB of DDR4-2400 or LPDDR4-2400 across two memory channels, 16 PCI Express 3.0 lanes, and support for Optane memory, Virtualisation Technology (VT-x and VT-d), HD Audio, Rapid Storage Technology (RST), Smart Response Technology (SRT), My WiFi Technology, and the AES New Instructions, all in a 15W thermal design profile (TDP).
Oddly, the part does not appear to include an integrated graphics processor (IGP) - or, at least, one is not included in the specifications listed in the Ark - suggesting that the chip may need to be partnered with a discrete GPU from AMD or Nvidia to operate.
Pricing for the part, which will be sold exclusively to original equipment and original design manufacturers (OEMs and ODMs), has not been confirmed. The company's main Cannon Lake page, meanwhile, remains absent from the Ark.