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8th Gen Intel Core news: Mobile quad-cores confirmed, desktop rumors stay strong

8th gen intel core
Intel finally revealed its family of next-generation Core-branded processors. The event took place on Intel’s Facebook page and its official newsroom as the moon passed between the Earth and the sun — aka, the Great American Solar Eclipse. The reveal date was no coincidence, as Intel wanted to introduce its new processor family with “blazing” fast performance before the sun’s rays “blaze” around our moon to melt our eyeballs. That said, here is all the 8th Gen Intel Core news we could dig up.

These aren’t the processors you were looking for

For starters, the big surprise with Intel’s eighth-generation processor reveal was that it didn’t introduce the coffee-injected desktop chips we were expecting to see. Instead, Intel showcased laptop-bound “U” processors based on its updated seventh-generation “Kaby Lake” CPU architecture.

We actually saw Intel’s four announced chips in previous leaks that suggested they were based on Intel’s new (and not yet released) eighth-generation “Coffee Lake” design. But that’s not the case, as they’re based on what’s now dubbed as “Kaby Lake+.” It’s better, stronger, and faster than before, but doesn’t include all the new and improved technologies provided on the newer Coffee Lake platform. Consider these four chips as a prelude to what’s to come in the desktop market later on this year.

Here are you first “official” eighth-generation chips based on an enhanced seventh-generation platform:

Max. Boost
Speed (Max)
i7-8650U 4 / 8 4.2GHz 8MB 2 UHD 620 1,150MHz
i7-8550U 4 / 8 4.0GHz 8MB 2 UHD 620 1,150MHz
i5-8350U 4 / 8 3.6GHz 8MB 2 UHD 620 1,100MHz
i5-8250U 4 / /8 3.4GHz 8MB 2 UHD 620 1,100MHz

What’s most notable is that all four chips are quad-core, though they’re built for thin and light laptops, and fit in a 15-watt thermal design power. Previously, Intel was only able to fit dual-core chips into that power envelope.

That means you’ll now see thinner laptops, like the Dell XPS 13, with quad-core processors inside. While we’ll have to wait for benchmarks to see exactly how it all adds up, Intel promises performance gains of up to 40 percent. We can certainly see that as possible in applications that focus on multi-core performance.

Meanwhile, meet the new caffeinated architecture

Beyond Intel’s four old-is-new “Kaby Lake+” chips, the company’s next eighth-generation processor reveal will supposedly include its freshly-baked “Coffee Lake” architecture. It follows the company’s vanilla, seventh-generation “Kaby Lake” design introduced in the third quarter of 2016, and its sixth-generation “Skylake” family introduced in the third quarter of 2015.

As of late, we’ve seen details leak regarding Intel’s Coffee Lake-S desktop processor family. Seven individual processors were leaked over the last week alone consisting of units packing six and four cores. Note that Intel’s eighth-generation lineup will finally introduce a six-core model to the mainstream desktop market. Typically, six-core units are served up to the enthusiast desktop processor market under its X-Series brand, including the Core i7-7800X, the Core i7-6800K, and the Core i7-5930K.

Here are the “leaked” eighth-generation Coffee Lake-S chips we’ve seen thus far:

i7-8700K 6 / 12 3.7GHz 4.7GHz 4.6GHz 4.4GHz 4.3GHz 95 watts
i7-8700 6 / 12 3.2GHz 4.6GHz 4.5GHz 4.3GHz 4.3GHz 65 watts
i5-8600K 6 / 6 3.6GHz 4.3GHz 4.2GHz 4.2GHz 4.1GHz 95 watts
i5-8600 6 / 6 2.8GHz 4.0GHz 3.9GHz 3.9GHz 3.8GHz 65 watts
i3-8350K 4 / 4 4.0GHz N/A N/A N/A N/A 91 watts
i3-8300 4 / 4 4.0GHz N/A N/A N/A N/A 65 watts
i3-8100 4 / 4 3.6GHz N/A N/A N/A N/A 65 watts

What’s interesting with Coffee Lake-S is that we’re seeing more than just two sets of speed numbers (typically base speed and turbo speed). With the eighth generation, details are dividing the turbo speed into four categories: single-core, two-core, four-core, and six-core.  The Core i3 models don’t even support Intel’s Turbo Boost Technology, although the Core i3-8350K will supposedly be unlocked and ripe for manual overclocking.

Based on leaked slides, Intel’s upcoming eighth-generation Coffee Lake-S desktop CPU lineup will rely on the same LGA 1151 motherboard “seat” (socket) used by its seventh-generation (Kaby Lake) and sixth-generation (Skylake) processors. The slides also show that the high-performance Coffee Lake units will consume 95 watts of power, the corporate/mainstream chips will consume 65 watts of power, and the low power models will only use 35 watts.

Intel did not provide any details about desktop chips during its initial 8th gen Intel Core briefing, but did say that official information will be available in Fall of 2017.

What else is new in Intel’s latest lake?

Coffee Lake-S will bring to the mainstream desktop market support for up to 16 PCI Express 3.0 lanes by the processor (essentially two graphics cards), and up to 24 PCI Express lanes provided by the motherboard chipset. The platform will also support up to up to six SATA 3.0 storage ports, and up to 10 USB 3.1 ports total, six of which can be based on “red” USB 3.1 Gen2 technology with transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps. The typical “blue” USB 3.1 Gen1 port, formerly known as USB 3.0, only provides transfer speeds of up to 5Gbps.

Here an additional list of the Coffee Lake-S platform features:

  • DDR4 memory clocked up to 2,666MHz
  • Enhanced instruction set
  • Support for memory overclocking
  • Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
  • Rec. 2020 and HDR video support
  • HEVC 10-bit hardware encode and decode
  • Support for premium Ultra HD content
  • Integrated USB 3.1 Gen2 support
  • Integrated Wireless AC R2 and Bluetooth 5 support
  • Support for Thunderbolt 3 with DisplayPort 1.4
  • Support for next-generation Intel Optane memory
  • Support for PCI Express 3.0 x4 storage
  • M.2 and U.2 slots directly connected to the CPU
  • New Intel SmartSound Technology featuring a four-core digital signal processor
  • Integrated SDXC 3.0 controller
  • Support for Modern Standby

Note that the overall Coffee Lake processor platform will arrive alongside a new motherboard chipset family providing a large chunk of the feature set. This will be the 300 Series chipset, with the Z370 chipset slated to arrive alongside the Coffee Lake-S desktop processors at the end of August. Whether current desktops with a 200 Series-based motherboards will need to swap them out for 300 Series-based models to support 8th gen processors is unknown for now.

As for integrated graphics, we’ve seen two components. One is dubbed as the 3E92H for the 6-core models, and one dubbed as 3E91H for the four-core models. In the Core i3-8350K chip, the 3E91H component supposedly has a base speed of 350MHz and a boost speed of 1,150MHz. The same integrated graphics in the Core i3-8100 supposedly has the same base speed, but a slower boost speed of 1,100MHz.

What’s the remaining launch schedule?

Outside the four eighth-generation chips now on the market, alleged leaked Intel slides state that the six Coffee Lake-S processors will be sold to the mainstream desktop market before the end of 2017. These will consist of six-core and four-core 95-watt “K” models, and 65-watt models without the “K’ suffix (such as the i7-8700K vs the i7-8700). This rollout supposedly starts at the end of August through the end of 2017.

After that, additional Coffee Lake-S desktop processors are expected to roll out in the first and second quarters of 2018. These will include 2-core models with a low power requirement of 35 watts. Additional six-core and four-core models with 95-watt (K) and 65-watt (non-K) requirements appear to be on Intel’s menu for the first half of 2018.

Of course, all of this information is mostly based on Intel’s 8th gen desktop processors. Details about the company’s plans for its remaining processor lineup outside the desktop space is unknown for now. Leaks pointed to five Coffee Lake-U processors for laptops, but four of those turned out to be the Kaby Lake+ chips revealed by Intel on August 21. Here’s the supposed Coffee Lake-U chip that’s still churning in the rumor mill.

Cores Threads Base
i7-8600U 4 8 ? ? 8MB 15 watts

We will update this article with the latest 8th Gen Intel Core news as the company releases more information.

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Kevin Parrish
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then…
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