Intel revealed a number of preliminary details about its 8th generation Core processors. After finally releasing the 7th generation or Kaby Lake, Core processors unto the world late last year, the Santa Clara chipmaker reveals that its latest 8th generation Coffee Lake chips (release: August 2017) would harbor performance 15-30% better than their predecessors.
The company is already looking to the future, Intel’s 3-step ‘Process-Architecture- Optimisation’ cadence, Coffee Lake will represent a second optimization stage following the current Kaby Lake which uses Intel’s 14nm lithography process. Succeeding this will be Cannonlake, which will be a new process – and Intel’s first to shrink the die to 10nm. This will be followed by the 9th generation of Core processors, representing a new architecture phase under the guise of Ice Lake. These processors will “utilize Intel’s industry-leading 10nm+ process technology.”
Despite abandoning the “tick-tock” formula, wherein Intel would come out with a new chip known as the “tick” and shrink its die down the following year for a so-called “tock,” the company alleges there are still huge gains to be had from its 14nm CPUs. The aforementioned Ice Lake, which won’t be here until late 2019 at the earliest, will take advantage of a 10nm+ process, indicating that it will be a refresh similar in magnitude to Skylake, Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake before it.
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Specifications of Intel Core i5/i7 Desktop CPUs
Let’s take a look at the confirmed specifications and performance of Intel’s Coffee Lake family for desktop platforms considered to be the best gaming CPU. This will be the key factor to know if Intel has made some significant gains in performance in IPC or not. However, these performance metrics come directly from Intel hence they may not actually be indicative of real-world scenarios.
8th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors Specifications:
|Product Name||# of Cores||Max Turbo Frequency||Processor Base Frequency||Cache||Processor Graphics|
|Intel® Core™ i7-8650U Processor||4||4.20 GHz||1.90 GHz||8 MB SmartCache||Intel® UHD Graphics 620|
|Intel® Core™ i7-8550U Processor||4||4.00 GHz||1.80 GHz||8 MB SmartCache||Intel® UHD Graphics 620|
|Intel® Core™ i5-8350U Processor||4||3.60 GHz||1.70 GHz||6 MB SmartCache||Intel® UHD Graphics 620|
|Intel® Core™ i5-8250U Processor||4||3.40 GHz||1.60 GHz||6 MB SmartCache||Intel® UHD Graphics 620|
The 8th-Gen Chip
The 8th-gen chip uses a 14-nanometre (nm) ‘process’, which is the same as Kaby Lake. At its most basic, the smaller the process the more efficient the processor is, allowing you to squeeze more transistors onto the same-sized piece of silicon.
Silicon is expensive, so fitting more of the ultra-important transistors onto them means you can make more efficient use of each little piece. The process of making smaller transistors is also expensive, so Intel has used this 14nm architecture for its 5th-gen Broadwell, 6th-gen Skylake and 7th-gen Kaby Lake products. This new product will use the same 14nm size and, like with all previous advancements, take advantage of new technology to make the process even more efficient.
If you’re thinking of building a PC in the second half of this year, you might be interested in waiting to see whether 8th-gen Coffee Lake chips can take the fight to AMD’s Ryzen 5 and 7 processors, both in terms of price and performance.
So far, AMD has managed to undercut Intel on price, but if Intel fights back with Coffee Lake, things should get very interesting.
Coffee Lake laptop processor
How will 8th-gen processors affect your next laptop purchase? At the very least, you’ll get up to 30% more performance in certain tasks, according to Intel, as mentioned earlier. It is speculated that the reason for this is because Intel turned its dual-core laptop chips (U-series) into quad-core parts in response to AMD’s Ryzen processors throwing extra cores at the problem without any trouble with heat and power consumption. However, if it’s true, it would be a complete game-changer for the Ultrabook market, turning thin and light machines that were already semi-capable video editing machines into proper powerhouses. This remains to be seen, however.
Even if this turns out not to be true and Intel has made its 30% gains elsewhere, this is a big enough improvement to give people in the market for a new laptop pause for thought. For the last few generations of Intel processor upgrades, performance gains have been minor, at around 15%. 30% is much more significant.
Coffee Lake desktop processor
According to WCCFTech, which has a mixed-to-good record on this sort of thing, Intel’s eighth-gen Coffee Lake chips line-up will feature at least three products with six cores. We’ve also had more recent leaks that Core i3 processors could get the quad-core treatment for the first time. Previously dual-core desktop parts, Core i3 was always in danger of falling behind as games start to use quad-core processors more effectively than dual-cores.
That aforementioned six-core don’t have names yet, but the level of detail on the spec sheet is surprisingly detailed. The three chips that have been revealed use the LGA1151 socket, which is good news for anybody with a sixth or seven-gen processor and motherboard, as they could slot straight into an existing setup. However, a recent tweet by the account of motherboard manufacturer AsRock (which has since been deleted) stated that 8th-gen desktop chips would require a new generation of motherboards.
Intel Coffee Lake parts feature the highest frequencies we have ever seen on Intel chips along with a much-needed core count bump and that’s a good thing. What do you think?