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In­tel re­veals its new processor range, while hack­ers em­bar­rass some high-pro­file tar­gets


IN­TEL HAS RE­VEALED the first of its 8th-gen­er­a­tion pro­ces­sors, as well as tak­ing the un­usual step of in­clud­ing three dif­fer­ent plat­forms into this gen­er­a­tion: Kaby Lake Refresh, Cof­fee Lake and Can­non Lake.

Cof­fee Lake, which em­ploys a new 14nm++ man­u­fac­tur­ing process, and Can­non Lake, set to be In­tel’s first 10nm chips, won’t ar­rive un­til ei­ther later this year or early in 2018, but the first batch of Kaby Lake Refresh parts are al­ready mak­ing their way into lap­tops and de­vices.

The Core i7-8650U, Core i7-8550U, Core i5-8350U and Core i5-8250U are so far the only 8th-gen CPUs to be de­tailed in full, though the H-series, Y-series, S-series and the rest of the U-series will also be part of the 14nm+ Kaby Lake Refresh plat­form. The mo­bile PC M-series and over­clock­able desk­top K-series are yet to be shown, though it’s pos­si­ble that th­ese will be part of Cof­fee Lake or even Can­non Lake in­stead.

What dis­tin­guishes the four un­veiled lap­top chips from their Kaby Lake and Sky­lake pre­de­ces­sors is core count: they’re all quad-core with eight threads, whereas their ear­lier equiv­a­lents were dual-core with four threads. With no changes to the ef­fi­ciency of 14nm+, only very small im­prove­ments to boost clock speeds and re­duc­tions to base clock speeds – pre­sum­ably to re­duce heat buildup – th­ese ex­tra two cores are the main driv­ing force be­hind claimed per­for­mance im­prove­ments of up to 40%. This fig­ure ap­plies specif­i­cally when mul­ti­task­ing with var­i­ous low-de­mand ap­pli­ca­tions such as Skype, Mi­crosoft Word and Slack. The dif­fer­ence be­tween Kaby Lake and Kaby Lake Refresh will be smaller in sin­gle ap­pli­ca­tions, such as Adobe Light­room, which In­tel says can run up to 28% faster on the new U-series chips. Oth­er­wise, Kaby Lake Refresh is as mi­nor an up­date as the name sug­gests: the 15W TDP of the four an­nounced pro­ces­sors re­mains un­changed from their near­est Kaby Lake ver­sions, and while the 8th-gen­er­a­tion chips will in­tro­duce In­tel UHD Graph­ics, this is sim­ply a re­brand­ing of the ex­ist­ing In­tel HD Graph­ics. GPU speeds and per­for­mance are thus un­changed. As for Cof­fee Lake and Can­non Lake, even fewer de­tails have been given of­fi­cially, al­though leaked bench­marks sug­gest that the 8th-gen desk­top chips will also re­ceive two ad­di­tional cores each. The en­try-level Core i3-8100, for in­stance, has been listed with four cores, up from two cores on the Core i3-7100. Sim­i­larly, the Core i7-8700K has been listed with six cores, up from the Core i7-7700K’s four. This hasn’t been con­firmed, how­ever, nor have any re­lease dates. In­tel has at least said that 8th-gen CPUs won’t re­quire a new moth­er­board, so it’s a safe bet that th­ese desk­top parts will use the ex­ist­ing LGA 1151 socket.

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