Intel Launches 8th Gen Core i5 And Core i7 Processors Claiming A 40 Percent Performance Boost

8th Gen Intel Core U series front 2
The total solar eclipse is scheduled to sweep across the United States later today, but Intel is preempting that momentous event with a new product launch. What we’re witnessing today isn’t the expected release of Coffee Lake, which we have been talking about for months thanks to numerous leaks, but what Intel is calling a “Kaby Lake Refresh”.

The new 8th generation mobile processors will cover the four following device classes:

  • Y-Series: fanless, detachable always-connected PCs
  • U-Series: thin and light convertibles and notebooks
  • H-Series: gaming notebooks and mobile workstations
  • S-Series: desktop and all-in-one PCs ranging from value- to performance-driven
intel 8thgen

The first products to arrive will be Core i5 and Core i7 processors in the U-Series rated at 15 watts, which will be targeted at thin and light notebooks and 2-in-1 convertibles in the consumer and business sectors. These products will launch today (you can expect to see a flurry of announcements over the next week), while the desktop parts will arrive later this fall.

intel 8thgen benchmarks 2

Intel is being a bit cagey with performance figures at this point, only suggesting that users will see "up to a 40 percent" uplift in benchmarks like SYSmark and MobileMark, compared to 7th generation Kaby Lake processors. However, Intel makes the case that the new 8th generation Core processors offer a compelling reason to upgrade PCs that might be five or more years old. In this case, Intel claims that its 8th generation Core i5 processors offer over twice the productivity and connected web performance compared to Core i5 processors from five years ago.

Four processors are launching today, including two Core i5 parts and two Core i7 parts. While there have been previous Core i5 desktop processors that have incorporated four physical cores, the 8th generation versions are the first mobile chips to feature four physical cores with HyperThreading enabled. This gives the chips the capability of tackling eight threads, putting it on equal footing with the Core i7. What’s really interesting with this launch, however, is that Intel is effectively doubling the number of cores compared to most previous generation Kaby Lake Core i5 and i7 processors for ultrabooks, while maintaining the same power envelope and pricing. This is an impressive feat for the company and a boon to consumers, especially considering the inclusion of HyperThreading. 2133MHz LPDDR3 is also supported, although not LPDDR4.

intel SKUs

With the Core i5 now capable of processing eight threads, the Core i7 distinguishes itself with higher base/turbo clocks and 8MB of cache (instead of 6MB). 8th generation Core i7 processors also have a slightly higher GPU clock (1150MHz versus 1100MHz).

We must say that we’re were a bit puzzled by the announcement of the Kaby Lake Refresh at first. Given that we’ve been hearing so much about Coffee Lake in recent weeks, we were almost certain that they would be part of today’s announcement. However, Intel made it very clear to us that these are NOT Coffee Lake processors — that family will arrive towards the end of 2017. Further confounding matters is the fact that there will also be 10nm Cannon Lake parts that will be featured as 8th generation Intel Core processors. Confused yet?

8th Gen Intel Core U series processor die

It’s quite possible that Coffee Lake desktop processors are what Intel is referencing when it says that “additional products for enterprise, workstation, and enthusiasts notebooks and desktops” will arrive this fall. Perhaps that’s when we’ll see the 6-core, 12-thread processors that have been prancing around on the internet.