9TH GEN THAT ISN’T
Intel recently released a microcode guidance update document that let slip the fact that 9th generation processors are on the way. Not only did it list several model numbers, but it also listed them all under the 8th generation Coffee Lake S subheading, indicating that the 9000 series (at least initially) will simply be a Coffee Lake Refresh of the 8th generation, and goes a long way to explaining why Z370 motherboards are getting BIOS updates with support for “new generation CPU” including 8-core parts, presumably meaning the 9000 series.
The models listed included:
• Core i5-9600K
• Core i5-9600
• Core i5-9500
• Core i5-9400
• Core i5-9400T
• Core i3-9100
All the i5’s are 6-core parts where as the i3’s are all quad cores. As no i7 9000 CPUs were listed, the rumour mill is suggesting that this means 8-core parts might finally be coming to Intel’s mainstream desktop line-up.
Not much in the way of specs is known at this stage but 200MHz speed bumps plus increased power management is touted as the headline improvements.
At the top end there’s talk of the 8-core processor being christened an i9 part and the successor to the ever popular 8700K remaining a 6-core product:
• Core i9 9900K
• Core i7 9700K
Word is these might finally utilise soldered TIM under their IHS enabling them to reach overclocks of up to 5.5GHz.
Until Intel sorts out its troubled 10nm manufacturing and gets on with producing a real 9th gen core microarchitecture (Ice Lake), it looks like this Cannon Lake Refresh will have to do for now. All this further muddies the waters as to what the 8th generation means, as it will then contain Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake, Whiskey Lake, 10nm Cannon Lake and soon Cannon Lake Refresh-based processors.
B450 REVEALS RYZEN FUTURE
B450 motherboards to replace B350 offerings have been announced by all motherboard makers and should start showing up in stores and systems soon.
The only real benefit of the B450 over the B350 is official support for the Ryzen 2000 series out of the box, and that means supporting XFR2 for better and longer turbo boost clock speeds on the new processors. Aside from XFR2 support, PCI-E lane counts, USB3.1 port counts, number of DIMM slots and SATA ports all remain the same.
One curious thing that was discovered in one of MSI’s marketing videos was “digital power design for 8-core and up CPU”. With AMD already known to be working on Zen 2-based 7nm CPUs, this would seem to confirm that the B450 series will be able to take Zen 2 CPUs that have a core count upwards of 10-cores! Current rumours place the mainstream AM4 socket topping out at 16-cores with Zen 2 to also offer a 10-15% increase in IPC (much more than Zen+ has at +3%).
With Intel just barely getting to 8-cores on its mainstream platform, it would seem AMD is wanting to keep the pressure on in these ongoing core wars against Intel.