As we sit here and ponder how much longer it will be until Intel refines its 10-nanometer technology and delivers Cannon Lake on a mass scale, there are other processor releases that will fill the gap between now and then. One of them is Intel's impending 9th Generation Core processor launch. Said to be a refresh of Coffee Lake, the latest rumor points to Intel introducing these chips next month.
In case you have not been following the rumor scene, these 9th Gen Coffee Lake Refresh (Coffee Lake-R) chips will counter AMD's first and second generation Ryzen lineup with what will be Intel's first mainstream 8-core CPU options. Not all of the 9th Gen parts will be 8-core chips, but if the leaked information to this point proves true, at least some of them will be.
Note that we are talking about Intel's mainstream processor family, and not its high end desktop (HEDT) or server CPU lines, both of which exist beyond the current 6-core ceiling. Intel has fallen behind AMD in mainstream core count, and while the performance doesn't always shift to AMD, there are certainly cases where it does.
Based on previous leaks and rumors, here are the three processors we 'know' about:
- Core i9-9900K with 8 cores and 16 threads
- Core i7-9700K with 6 cores and 12 threads
- Core i5-9600K with 6 cores and 6 threads
What we don't have is all the information on the clockspeeds of Intel's upcoming parts (an official Intel document lists the Core i5-9600K running at 3.7GHz to 4.5GHz, but neither of the two higher end SKUs are listed). However, sources tell PC Builders Club that they will have "significantly higher clockspeeds." Those anonymous sources, who supposedly signed an NDA with Intel, claim that multiple samples have reached 5.5GHz while overclocked.
If the chips are capable of hitting that speed while overclocked, it stands to reason Intel's refined silicon will also sport higher clocks at stock, compared to its 8th Generation lineup, at least for its 6-core CPUs.
The other interesting thing the sources noted is that Intel's upcoming chips feature soldered heatspreaders instead of the thermal interface material (TIM) that has been a point of criticism by enthusiasts. Intel has been catching heat (see what we did there?) for using what many consider to be a low quality TIM. Moving to a soldered solution should help with temps, and could explain why the upcoming chips are able to overclock higher.
Here's crossing our fingers that it all turns out to be true.