During our continuing coverage of Meltdown and Spectre, we noticed that Intel accidentally leaked details of their upcoming 10 nm Cannon Lake processors. Let’s take a look at what we found!
The Intel Cannon Lake Processor
Cannon Lake is the long-delayed 10 nm die shrink of the Intel Kaby Lake microarchitecture. Originally slated for release in 2016, Intel delayed it in favour of another 14 nm process refinement with the Intel Coffee Lake processors.
In addition to a die shrink that would allow it to deliver better performance with lower power consumption and thermal output, the Cannon Lake processors will also boast the AVX-512 instruction set.
At CES 2018, Intel announced that they have already started shipping mobile Cannon Lake processors to their partners, with a production ramp-up in 2018. So we know for sure Cannon Lake will finally see the light of day in 2018.
What Intel Leaked On Cannon Lake
In their second Spectre 2 microcode update schedule, Intel accidentally released references to two Cannon Lake-U (CNL-U) processors.
The shorthand numbers appear to indicate that :
- they are ultra-low power mobile processors, with a 15 W TDP
- the (2+2) model is a dual-core processor with an Intel GT2 integrated graphics
- the (2+0) model is a dual-core processor without integrated graphics
The (2+0) model is interesting because it’s the first U-grade Intel mobile processor to not come with integrated graphics.
Is this meant to be used in applications that do not require displays, like a NAS? Could it possibly be used in an MCM package with Radeon Graphics? Or is this a higher-performance part to be paired with discrete graphics options from AMD or NVIDIA?
Cannon Lake Availability
Intel was not specific about when exactly they will launch these mobile Cannon Lake processors, but we can glean some details from their leaked microcode update schedule.
We can see that the Cannon Lake BIOS is currently in beta testing. So a Q1 launch is unlikely, but a Q2 launch is most definitely on the table. In fact, we think that its launch got delayed after the Intel Spectre 2 reboot issue.
Intel probably delayed its official launch until they can make sure they have a fully-patched BIOS. It wouldn’t be good PR to launch the Cannon Lake processors, without being able to claim that they’re fully-protected against Meltdown and Spectre.
They’re Vulnerable To Meltdown + Spectre?
Yes, the Cannon Lake processors are all vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre. These processors were taped out long ago. It was the Intel 10 nm process technology that was not sufficiently mature, not the Cannon Lake design.
Only the next-generation Intel Ice Lake processors, which features a new microarchitecture, will no longer be vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre.
- The Intel Core i7-8700K Hexa-Core Processor Review
- Everything You Need To Know About The Intel Coffee Lake CPUs
- The Intel Kaby Lake Processor Tech Briefing
- Everything On The Meltdown + Spectre CPU Flaws!
- The Complete List Of CPUs Vulnerable To Meltdown / Spectre
- The Intel Spectre Reboot Issue – Everything You Need To Know!