Fourth time’s the charm. At least that seems to be Intel’s contention with its upcoming fourth generation of chips to be based on the 14nm manufacturing node and 8th generation of Core processors altogether.
After finally releasing the 7th generation, or Kaby Lake, Core processors unto the world late last year, the Santa Clara chipmaker tweeted that its 8th-generation Coffee Lake chips would – contrary to popular belief – harbor performance 15% better than their predecessors.
The company has since raised that claim to 30%. And now, we await the unveiling of Coffee Lake on August 21.
Despite abandoning the “tick-tock” formula, wherein Intel would come out with a redesigned chip known as the “tick” and then shrink the die the following year for a so-called “tock”, there are still huge gains to be had from the 14nm fabrication process. Perhaps Moore’s Law subsists after all?
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Intel’s 8th-generation 14nm Core processor
- When is it out? Debuts August 21; out before Christmas
- What will it cost? Likely as much as current Kaby Lake CPUs
Intel Coffee Lake release date
Since then, Intel came out and teased an August 21 livestream reveal of the new Coffee Lake processors, the fourth run of its processors through a 14-nanometer process.
As for its 10nm die shrink, code-named ‘Cannonlake’, Intel quietly mentioned at Computex that we won’t see these until 2018 at the earliest. We’ve been hearing about that silicon for the past three years.
But, back to Coffee Lake, Intel has already teased ahead of the August 21 unveiling that these processors will be available before the Christmas season.
Intel Coffee Lake price
Prior to Intel’s Computex showing, some outlets, such as , were suggesting that Intel Coffee Lake processors would be implemented in “mainstream” laptops and PCs. Meanwhile, Cannonlake would be reserved exclusively for luxury devices such as Ultrabooks, which typically see lower sales margins overall.
That’s no longer the case seeing as Cannonlake was pushed back to 2018, meaning we’ll probably see Coffee Lake processors from every end of the computing spectrum. Depending on a few factors (e.g. brand, modifier, product line), there will undoubtedly be a broad selection of Intel Coffee Lake processors spanning a gamut of different budgets.
Buying an Intel Kaby Lake processor on its own will, as of this writing, set you back anywhere from $42 (£39, AU$66) to $350 (£415, AU$469) while Ryzen processors range from $168 (£158, AU$245) to $499 (£500, around AU$650).
Intel Coffee Lake specs
Unfortunately, however, the SKU numbers and product lines haven’t been made clear.
All we know as of right now is a) that these processors are both unlocked, presumably “K” variants of the Core i5 and i7 branding and b) a bunch of specs that are mostly arbitrary given the circumstances.
As you can tell, there are a lot of improvements in tow, mainly in the amount of cores and threads per core that we’re seeing in early Coffee Lake leaks.
Still, it’s unclear how much will change given the marked upgrades in Intel’s marketing rhetoric.
Although, as we stated earlier, Intel dubbed Coffee Lake’s performance 15% greater than that of Kaby Lake, the company has since gone on to say that its 8th-gen processors are more than 30% more powerful than those which preceded it.
That number derives from Intel’s own SYSmark 2014 v1.5 benchmark testing on Windows 10 where a Coffee Lake-based Core i7 quad-core CPU with a boost clock of 4GHz was pitted against the current-gen Core i7-7500U dual-core processor whose base/boost clock speeds are rated at 2.7GHz/3.5GHz, respectively.
It should be noted that whatever chip was being used in this isolated scenario is – like the Intel Core i7-7500U – a mobile, 15Watt processor that could, theoretically, be used in future iterations of the or the best-in-class .
Finally, we’ve sadly been hearing that Coffee Lake chips will likely require new motherboards for use, despite probably using an LGA 1151 socket.
Though we now know more than ever about Intel’s forthcoming 8th-generation Coffee Lake CPUs, there’s still a ton of news to come.
So, return to this page periodically for in-depth coverage of the latest Intel Coffee Lake rumors and reveals.
- Yes, it’s already time to get ready for Black Friday
Joe Osborne has also contributed to this report
By Gabe Carey
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