Maximum PC - - INTEL’S KABY LAKE -

Where the heck are In­tel’s main­stream six-core (or more) CPUs? Gen­er­a­tion af­ter gen­er­a­tion, In­tel wheels out new chips, but at best they have four cores. En­thu­si­asts seek­ing more cores have had to move to In­tel’s al­to­gether more ex­pen­sive en­thu­si­ast socket and plat­form to ac­cess more cores.

Prob­lem is, plat­forms such as X99 and the LGA2011 socket are thinly dis­guised server tech­nol­ogy. That means cost and com­plex­ity of en­tirely no rel­e­vance to desk­top PCs. Far more prefer­able would be for In­tel to chuck a few more cores into its main­stream LGA1151 socket.

Of course, some would ar­gue that CPU per­for­mance is al­ready good enough, that the fo­cus for per­for­mance im­prove­ment should be else­where. And it’s true that many ap­pli­ca­tions don’t re­quire ad­di­tional CPU per­for­mance— or, rather, the type of per­for­mance they could make use of per­tains to a sin­gle soft­ware thread run­ning on a sin­gle core. Adding more cores won’t help.

But some ap­pli­ca­tions scale well on mul­ti­ple cores. Be­lat­edly, games are be­gin­ning to fall into that cat­e­gory. Then there’s the old “build it and they will come” phi­los­o­phy. Who knows what delights coders and de­vel­op­ers may come up with if only main­stream PCs had more per­for­mance. What’s more, with AMD plan­ning to re­lease its new Zen CPUs in 2017, In­tel may at last be forced to up its game.

Well, ru­mor has it that In­tel is fi­nally plan­ning to re­lease some main­stream CPUs with more than four cores. Spot­ted in var­i­ous roadmaps is a new fam­ily of chips known as Cof­fee Lake. De­tails are sparse, but it’s pen­ciled in for early 2018. It’s ac­tu­ally slated as a high-per­for­mance mo­bile chip. But it is listed as of­fer­ing up to six cores.

Put an­other way, if it does slot into the LGA1151 socket (or its fu­ture main­stream equiv­a­lent), it’s not hard to imag­ine a desk­top sib­ling be­ing of­fered. If so, there will be much re­joic­ing in­side Max­i­mumPC HQ.

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