While Intel and AMD were outpacing each other at CES 2019 by announcing their respective 10nm and 7nm processors, both companies also introduced hybrid processors that could have an even greater effect of changing the future of computing forever.
there are Intel FieldField processors, whose architecture is closer to that of the ARM CPU than a traditional computer chip. Instead of only having a block of 10nm CPU cores, the LakeField processor will present a central Sunny Cove 10nm core associated with four Treemont Atom cores.
Later in CES 2019, AMD also introduced its hybrid processor with its third-generation Ryzen chip that associated an 8-nm eight-core chiplet with a second 1
Both processors aim to do different things with their hybrid architectures, but they share one thing in common: they are both moving away from the traditional monolithic processor.
Monolithic vs. Hybrid
Now, after all that talk, one might wonder what the difference between monolithic and hybrid processor designs is? The answer is actually simpler than you think.
For the most part, the processors that arrived on laptops and PCs remained faithful to a monolithic design, in which there is a single, homogeneous processor built from a single architecture. For example, Intel Coffee Lake processors used only one 14nm die, Ryzen CPUs had a 14nm die, Ryzen 2nd Generation a 12nm die, and so on.
Hybrid projects move things by introducing chiplets that can add a second type of processor core, integrated graphics, memory, or any number of things.
ARM-based CPUs that are housed in Qualcomm's phones, tablets, and even on Windows 10 machines typically use this type of design to maximize battery life and even performance. Now it seems we are starting to see the beginning of hybridization in computer processors now – at least in the case of Intel with LakeField.
Hybrid processors may allow devices to handle all on-demand tasks and save battery life when you're only on standby by compressing both low-energy core and performance cores in the same chip. Moreover, chips with this type of architecture can act as compact systems on a chip if they also have integrated graphics, memory and other modules.
Proof in the pudding
Intel has already shown an example of how small its hybrid processor device could be. At its CES 2019 schedule, the company introduced its LakeField processor embedded in the smallest motherboard that produced by measuring just the length of five US quarters, a form factor that could easily adapt to tablets and even some phones.
According to Intel, LakeField processors can power everything from ultra-low power devices to scaling up to full PC performance.
AMD had almost none of the many examples of tests, but it showed that its new hybrid processor does not lose a step in terms of performance thanks to the new design. The mystery of the company's third generation Ryzen processor achieved 2,023 points in Cinebench. In comparison, Intel Core i9-9900K and AMD Ryzen 7 2700X scored respectively 1,873 and 1,798 points in our tests.
While it seems that hybrid processors have a promising future in computing devices, we do not want to buy into the hype too much until we get some devices with them.
There is no reason why processors with monolithic drawings disappear soon. Probably all the complexity of the hybrid chips will increase the cost of the devices until their production will become omnipresent.
In addition, not all devices can benefit from a hybrid architecture. For example, PCs created for production and gaming will be more suitable with classically constructed CPUs and the maximum power that a monolithic processor can offer, even if the regularity with which Apple iPads equipped with self-made processors surpass Windows 10 laptops. could prove to be false
It is too early to say what devices could be powered by Intel and AMD hybrid processors, but we are thrilled that this is happening. The software and the experience in the use of laptops and PCs have evolved in step with phones and mobile devices – with touchscreen, biometric data and features such as modern standby – and it seems that the moment has come same thing happens to the hardware that feeds them.