Cannon Lake Core i3-8121U appears in Intel's ARK database


After months of rumors and speculation, Intel has quietly acknowledged the existence of the first shipping Cannon Lake processor: the Core i3-8121U. The company made a public entry in its ARK database for the chip today that perhaps raises more questions than it answers.

The ARK entry confirms that the i3-8121U is a two-core, four-thread chip with a 2.2-GHz base clock and a 3.2-GHz Turbo Boost peak. The appearance of Turbo Boost makes this one of a handful of Core i3 chips currently available with that capability. The i3-8121U supports up to 32 GB of non-ECC DDR4-2400, LPDDR4-2400, or even-lower-power LPDDR4X-2400 memory across two channels. The chip has 4 MB of L3 cache enabled, occupies a 15-W thermal envelope, and is fabricated on Intel's 10-nm process.

Most notably, however, Intel lists zero specifications for the Core i3-8121U's presumable integrated graphics processor, if it's even present on the die. All of the implementations of Cannon Lake that have popped up so far have some form of discrete graphics processor available, so if the IGP does exist, it would seem to be disabled on the i3-8121U.

The ARK page also doesn't mention that the chip supports AVX-512 instructions, a long-rumored feature that has been softly confirmed for the Cannon Lake architecture through Intel's Instruction Set Extensions and Future Features manual. It's possible that even if Cannon Lake does support AVX-512, this feature is disabled in Cannon Lake Core i3s for segmentation reasons or in Cannon Lake mobile processors for thermal reasons.

Intel doesn't list a customer price for the chip, and it's only likely to appear in NUCs or mobile systems as a soldered-down part. We'll keep an eye out for retail systems with this chip inside so that we can poke and prod at it. Thanks to TR tipster SH SOTN for the heads-up.

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