Intel unveils speedy gaming processors as it finally cracks 10nm chipmaking
Image credit: Intel
Intel has unveiled a new range of chips tailored specifically for gaming that are based on 10nm architecture, a manufacturing process that the firm has been trying to perfect for many years.
Processors typically become more power efficient and are able to compute more calculations per second the smaller the architecture that they use. Intel has been struggling to improve upon its 14nm chip technology and has been releasing successive chips based on that architecture while some of its competitors have leapfrogged it.
Intel says its most powerful new chip, the Core i9-12900K, offers boosts of up to 30 per cent performance compared to the previous generation depending on the workload, with an average of about 20 per cent for gaming. It said that improved framerates could be achieved on games such as 'Troy: A Total War Saga' (25 per cent improvement), 'Hitman 3' (28 per cent) and 'Far Cry 6' (23 per cent).
The full twelfth-generation Intel Core family will include 60 processors overall that will power a range of devices from “a broad set of partners”.
Gregory Bryant, executive vice president, Intel, said: “The performance hybrid architecture of twelfth-gen Intel Core processors is an architectural shift made possible by close co-engineering of software and hardware that will deliver new levels of leadership performance for generations.
“This begins with the arrival of our flagship Core i9-12900K – the world’s best gaming processor - and you will see even more incredible experiences as we ship the rest of the twelfth-gen family and beyond.”
Intel has also included Wi-Fi 6E on the chips, which is specifically designed for low latency - a boon for gamers.
The firm has been struggling to maintain parity with its rivals such as AMD and Apple, both of whom are producing chips on a lower nm process, albeit by using an outside partner to fabricate the chips (unlike Intel).
Apple’s A15 chip, for example, which is used to power the iPhone 13, is built on a 5nm process and is much more efficient. However, mobile chips are typically easier to produce at higher densities because they are designed for energy efficiency instead of performance. Power dissipation becomes increasingly difficult to achieve as the node sizes decrease, so chips like the A15 will typically run at lower clock frequencies than their desktop counterparts.
Intel also said that Aurora, a supercomputer it is building with the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory for artificial intelligence work, will be twice as fast as originally planned. Intel said the computer will now exceed 2 exaflops, meaning the ability to perform 2 quintillion - or 2,000,000,000,000,000,000 - calculations per second.
Moore’s Law, first hypothesised in 1965 by Intel founder Gordon Moore, states that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit will double approximately every two years. However, chip manufacturers are starting to hit the physical limits of how small they can make the nodes, making the future of Moore’s Law uncertain.
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