Intel 8th gen Coffee Lake processors are here and promise a 40% performance bump over their predecessors

It seems like AMD Ryzen’s democratising effect on processor performance has pushed Intel to do the unthinkable.

Intel has revealed the first of the 8th generation mobile processors that are to hit the market soon. As you’ll see from the information revealed to the press, it seems like AMD Ryzen’s democratising effect on processor performance has pushed Intel to do the unthinkable.

Intel 8th Gen U-series processors. Image: Intel

Intel 8th Gen U-series processors. Image: Intel

Unthinkable? For the first time ever, Intel’s low-power U-series chips are going to get 4-cores with, wait for it, hyper-threading. This largesse is to the benefit of all users and we’ll be remiss if we don’t thank AMD for it.

Intel has revealed that four U-series 8th generation Intel Core mobile processors will launch on 21 August and hit the market in September. Eight generation desktop processors will arrive “this Fall”.

The U-series chips launching today have a 15 W TDP and are designed for thin and light laptops and computers requiring low power draw and heat generation.

The four CPUs in question are the Intel Core i5-8250U, i5-8350U, i7-8550U and i5-8650U. As you can see in the image below, all the processors support four cores and eight threads. The processors appear to differ in clock speed, cache size and graphics performance. The slowest in the lineup, the 8250U, has a base clock of 1.6 GHz going up to 3.4 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0. The fastest i7 goes from 1.9 GHz to 4.2 GHz.

Intel 8th Gen family. Image: Intel

Intel 8th Gen family. Image: Intel

The announced processor SKUs have full support for Turbo Boost 2.0, Hyper-Threading, AVX 2.0 instructions, Optane Memory and Quick Sync Video.

With the new architecture, Intel is promising a whopping 40 percent increase in performance over the equivalent 7th generation Kaby Lake SKUs. Of that, 25 percent is claimed to be a result of the increased core count. The remaining 15 percent, Intel claims, is coming from design and manufacturing process improvements.

Without Ryzen, we’re quite certain that Intel would have only delivered the usual 10-15 percent year-on-year performance bump that improvements to the design and manufacturing process would have brought. Bear in mind that these processors are still built with the 14nm++ technology seen in the 7th generation Kaby Lake platform, so it’s not like Intel couldn’t have added more cores sooner. As far as we can tell, the increased core count is the only aspect that really stands out here.

Regardless, this is certainly Intel's most exciting product announcement in a very long time. Quad-core U-series chips from Intel will enable a much more powerful computing experience on a very low power platform. This can only mean faster, thinner and lighter devices. The performance difference might be so huge, in fact, that it will be worth waiting a few months until newer devices are available on this platform. We'd go so far as to say that this new chip might completely undermine the existing laptop market. a 40 percent performance bump is no joke.

To throw some numbers around, Intel is also claiming a 2x improvement in performance over a five-year old machine, 48 percent faster image editing performance compared to 7th gen, 14.7x faster video rendering performance compared to 5-year old devices and 10-hours of battery life while playing back 4K UHD content.

The processors support Thunderbolt 3.

Intel promises that there will be 145 designs to choose from in the coming months and that the first generation of 10 nm chips will be included in the 8th generation family.

Intel will reveal more about the 8th generation platform live on Facebook at 8.30 pm IST. Be sure to tune in for more information and a “behind the scenes peek at a brand new VR experience” to help people enjoy the solar eclipse.

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