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Leaked Intel Six Core CPU Reveals a New Architecture Coming Soon
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[Image: W2o8wqpfxkAaoMt4NZCsE7-970-80.jpg]

Is this a 14nm backport, or a 10nm CPU?

A leaked Intel CPU has been discovered on the SiSoft database. This CPU has six cores, Hyper-Threading, and was used in a server or workstation configuration with another identical six-core for a total of 12 cores and 24 threads. What's interesting, however, is that the amount of L2 cache per core has been increased from just 256 KB on Coffee Lake CPUs, like the Core i9-9900K, to 1.25 MB. This is even more cache per core than offered by the Core i9-10980XE (1 MB) and Ice Lake mobile CPUs (512 KB).

The amount of L2 cache per core is important to note because it has a big architectural impact on performance. This difference might be between two totally different architectures (AMD's Bulldozer vs. Zen), or between two architectures that share the same core but almost nothing else (Intel's Skylake vs. Skylake X). This Intel CPU likely isn't using a Skylake core, however, considering that Intel already has an architecture in this segment that is based on Skylake: Coffee Lake, soon to be succeeded by Comet Lake. This CPU is very likely to be using one of Intel's new architectures that it designed for the 10nm node. But which architecture is used?

Given that 10nm Ice Lake CPUs launched earlier this year and we don't have any indication whatsoever that Intel plans to launch variants with more cores for the desktop, we can probably disregard the possibility that this is an Ice Lake CPU. We can also likely disregard this potentially being Comet Lake because the Comet Lake U series has launched as a 14nm, Skylake derivative. This CPU is extremely unlikely to be launched in the near future.

The two most likely possibilities are that either this is a 10nm Tiger Lake CPU or a 14nm Rocket Lake CPU. There is little information on either architecture, but one Tiger Lake leak revealed it has 1.25 MB of L2 cache per core, just like this leaked CPU. That might be strong evidence that this is actually Tiger lake, but there has been no indication thus far that Tiger Lake will offer more than four cores, while Rocket Lake has been seen with eight cores. This leaked CPU also has less L3 cache than the leaked Tiger Lake CPU; because L3 caches can be quite large, it makes sense that a CPU on a less-dense node would have less L3 cache than a CPU on a denser node. Considering also this leaked CPU is a desktop CPU, and that Rocket Lake is expected to succeed Comet Lake, it seems more likely this leaked CPU is Rocket Lake on the 14nm node, using Willow Cove cores like Tiger Lake.

Intel has already revealed it has the option of backporting architectures intended for 7nm onto the 10nm node, so the possibility of Rocket Lake being a 14nm architecture with designs intended for 10nm CPUs is certainly there.

It is important to point out that Intel did promise 10nm desktop CPUs are coming, so that might be an indication that this is a 10nm desktop CPU, but there is little to go on. Ever since it was suggested earlier this year that Rocket Lake was a 14nm architecture, it's been tough to see where exactly these 10nm desktop CPUs are going to slot in. Are 10nm desktop CPUs supposed to be for gamers like the mainstream 9600K, 9700K, and 9900K? Or are these CPUs going into NUCs? Or maybe Intel will position these 10nm CPUs as competition for AMD's APUs? Hopefully, Intel isn't planning on introducing a 10nm successor to Rocket Lake, because by then the 7nm node will power its new products.

It is worth suggesting that maybe this isn't a desktop workstation at all, but a server using a server CPU. That opens up the possibility that this is actually Ice Lake for server, which would have more L2 cache per core than Ice Lake for mobile (see Skylake vs. Skylake X). But given the low core count and the fact that Tiger Lake has the same L2 cache per core, it would be a really weird coincidence. It is worth considering, however.

Overall, it's hard to make any firm conclusions based on this result. The possibilities are many and the evidence is very thin. The one certainty is that this CPU is not a Skylake derivative. What isn't certain is whether or not this is 14nm Rocket Lake with a backported core, 10nm Tiger Lake for desktop, or something totally different, like Ice Lake for server.
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