Intel’s 8th Generation Release Offers a Rebuttal to AMD’s Ryzen Series
Andrew Wheeler posted on August 31, 2017 | 5919 views

During a Facebook Live session last week, on the same day that everyone was focused on the solar eclipse in the United States and around the world, Intel released its 8th-generation Core processor series. The processors represent an update that affects every product that uses Intel CPUs: workstation desktops, mobile notebooks and tablets.

The initial launch focused on Intel’s efforts to engineer a better balance in performance for increasingly thin notebooks—a challenging task to manage while staying within set design parameters that must be in place to ensure satisfactory battery life. Power consumption and performance are also incredibly important for laptops, and the main upgrade in this generation chip is a doubling of processor cores—from two to four.

The architecture for the eighth-generation processor is called Kaby Lake. These processors are due out later this year. The next processor release, which is due this fall, is called Coffee Lake. Intel explained that it is modifying what the new generation designation means for its processors. Prior to this announcement, Intel would release a seventh-generation component with predictable and precise capabilities for programmers using the same architecture and process node technology. This is no longer the case with parts in the eighth-generation core—customers, performance and capabilities will determine when the full shift to a new underlying architecture will occur.

Gregory M. Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group, Intel Corporation, with Karen Regis, mobile marketing manager, passing along a new 8th-generation Core Quad mobile CPU during the Facebook Live event at Intel’s facility in Oregon. (Image courtesy of Intel.)
Gregory M. Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group, Intel Corporation, with Karen Regis, mobile marketing manager, passing along a new 8th-generation Core Quad mobile CPU during the Facebook Live event at Intel’s facility in Oregon. (Image courtesy of Intel.)

This is a nod to Intel’s customers, who will see a small boost in performance if they use products with the current generation of Kaby Lake processors. However, Intel customers who have laptops that are a few years old will see a dramatic almost doubling of their CPU performance with new laptops that are outfitted with the new 8th-generation CPUs, which will be available this fall.

Highlights:

  • For the U Series laptop processors, Intel revealed two new Core i7 chips and two new i5 chips, both of which provide significant speed improvements compared to the last generation of processors—up to 40 percent—due to the addition of two extra cores and fourthreads.
  • The new chips are meant to process virtual reality experiences, 4K video and 3D graphics better throughout Intel’s large platform of products.
  • These processors are built on the 14-nanometer (nm) technology node, but the 8th-generation processors will see a transition to 14++ Coffee Lake technology nodes, and eventually to the 10 nm Cannon Lake technology node.

When AMD released its Ryzen CPUs in the first quarter of 2017, it basically laid a smack down on Intel by offering customers twice the cores they were used to having with Intel processors. Here’s the 8th-generation family spec portrait. (Image courtesy of forums.evga.com.)
When AMD released its Ryzen CPUs in the first quarter of 2017, it basically laid a smack down on Intel by offering customers twice the cores they were used to having with Intel processors. Here’s the 8th-generation family spec portrait. (Image courtesy of forums.evga.com.)

Intel has taken a lot of heat this year for being slow and riding its legacy status to the point of unproductive hubris, but at the Facebook Live event on August 21, the company replied, and even hinted at the work it is doing on its next generation of processors, which will be based on an incredibly small 10 nm+ Ice Lake family.

Personally, I would like to see these baked into a new Microsoft Surface Book or next-generation Surface Studio.


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