CPU

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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.

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