Need to Know
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.