Intel on Tuesday announced a new line of 8th generation Core vPro mobile processors for business laptops and, to an extent, portable workstations. The launch comes just one week after rival AMD rolled out new Ryzen Pro and Athlon Pro mobile processors for the same segments, underscoring the competitive landscape that exists between the two companies.
The new chips from Intel are based on the company's Whiskey Lake architecture. Whiskey Lake is built on the same 14-nanometer++ manufacturing process as Coffee Lake and is the third 14nm Skylake process refinement, after Kaby Lake Refresh and Coffee Lake. We already saw Intel launch a batch of 8th generation Core processors based on Whiskey Lake in August of last year, but these new parts incorporate vPro features not found on those other chips.
One of those features is Intel's Hardware Shield technology. This is intended to offer out-of-the-box protection to help defend against firmware attacks.
"Intel Hardware Shield helps ensure your OS runs on legitimate hardware and provides hardware to software security visibility, enabling the OS to enforce a more complete security policy. Importantly, no additional IT infrastructure is required," Intel explains.
Initially, there are two processors comprising this launch. They include the Core i7-8665U and Core i5-8365U, both of which are 4-core/8-thread chips. The Core i7 part has a 1.9GHz base clock and a 4.8GHz boost clock, while the Core i5 chip runs at 1.6GHz to 4.1GHz. There is also additional cache on the Core i7-8665U compared to the Core i5-8365U, at 8MB versus 6MB.
These new CPUs will likely find their way into thin and light business laptops and 2-in-1 devices. They support both LPDDR3 2133MHz and DDR4 2400MHz memory. According to Intel, systems equipped with the Core i7 part will offer up to 65 percent faster performance than a 3-year-old PC, which the fine print reveals to be a laptop with a Core i7-6600U processor, and up to 11 hours of battery life.
The other big selling point is that some of these systems will come with Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) operates on the same frequency as 802.11ac, but offers more throughput and lower latency. Wi-Fi 6 is also better equipped to handle multiple wireless devices simultaneously.
Some laptops with 8th gen Core vPro processors will also feature Intel's recently announced Optane memory H10 storage solution. These are essentially hybrid M.2 form factor solid state drives that combine QLC 3D NAND flash memory with ultra-fast Optane memory in a single package.
Laptops built around Intel's new 8th gen Core vPro family will start rolling out in the coming months from the likes of Dell, HP, Lenovo, Panasonic, and others.