Fifth time’s the charm. At least that seems to be Intel’s contention with its upcoming fifth generation of chips to be based on the 14nm manufacturing node and 9th generation of Core processors altogether.
After finally releasing the 7th generation, or Kaby Lake, Core processors unto the world late last year, the Santa Clara chipmaker tweeted that its 8th generation chips would harbor performance 15% better than their predecessors. Yet, on August 21, the company simply unveiled a Kaby Lake refresh, making the future dubious for Coffee Lake.
Despite abandoning the “tick-tock” formula, wherein Intel would come out with a new chip known as the “tick” and shrink its die down the following year for a so-called “tock,” the company alleges there are still huge gains to be had from its 14nm CPUs.
For that reason, we don’t expect to see 10nm chips arrive until 2019 at the earliest through the Cannonlake generation, with Ice Lake set to touch down the following year.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Intel’s 9th-generation 14nm Core processor
- When is it out? Presumably 2018, succeeding Kaby Lake R
- What will it cost? Likely as much as current Kaby Lake CPUs
Intel Coffee Lake release date
Since then, the Santa Clara chipmaker came out and teased an August 21 livestream reveal of its 8th-generation processors, which turned out to be a refresh of its 7th-generation processors, called Kaby Lake R.
For now, it’s unclear when we’ll officially see Intel’s Coffee Lake processors, though we do know that the company’s 10nm die shrink, code-named ‘Cannonlake’ is set for 2018 at the earliest, and the aforementioned, 10nm+ Ice Lake won’t be here until at least 2019.
Intel Coffee Lake price
Arguably the most elusive aspect of Coffee Lake is its pricing. For now, we don’t have much to base our speculation on aside from current market trends sanctioned by AMD Ryzen and Intel Kaby Lake.
Prior to Intel’s Computex showing, some outlets, such as PCWorld, were suggesting that Intel Coffee Lake processors would be implemented in “mainstream” laptops and PCs. Meanwhile, Cannonlake would be reserved exclusively for luxury devices such as Ultrabooks, which typically see lower sales margins overall.
That’s no longer the case seeing as Cannonlake was pushed back to 2018, meaning we’ll probably see Coffee Lake processors from every end of the computing spectrum. Depending on a few factors (e.g. brand, modifier, product line), there will undoubtedly be a broad selection of Intel Coffee Lake processors spanning a gamut of different budgets.
Buying an Intel Kaby Lake processor on its own will, as of this writing, set you back anywhere from $42 (£39, AU$66) to $350 (£415, AU$469) while Ryzen processors range from $168 (£158, AU$245) to $499 (£500, around AU$650).
Intel Coffee Lake specs
As spotted by Wccftech, many of the Coffee Lake processors of the Intel Core variety have already been leaked by the Sisoftware database, albeit at a preliminary level. As you can tell from these leaks, there are a lot of improvements in tow, mainly in the amount of cores and threads per core that we’re seeing in early Coffee Lake leaks.
What’s more, some laptop makers are brandishing notebooks powered by 8th generation U series processors. HP, for example, has announced a new family of ProBook computers donning up to an Intel Core i7-8550U. However, as it’s been confirmed, this is not a Coffee Lake processor, but instead a Kaby Lake R chip.
Still, it’s unclear how much will change given the marked upgrades in Intel’s marketing rhetoric. Although, as we stated earlier, Intel dubbed Coffee Lake’s performance 15% greater than that of Kaby Lake, the company has since gone on to say that its 8th-gen processors are more than 30% more powerful than those which preceded it.
That number derives from Intel’s own SYSmark 2014 v1.5 benchmark testing on Windows 10 where a Coffee Lake-based Core i7 quad-core CPU with a boost clock of 4GHz was pitted against the current-gen Core i7-7500U dual-core processor whose base/boost clock speeds are rated at 2.7GHz/3.5GHz, respectively.
It should be noted that whatever chip was being used in this isolated scenario is – like the Intel Core i7-7500U – a mobile, 15-watt processor that could, theoretically, be used in future iterations of the MacBook Pro or the best-in-class Dell XPS 13.
Finally, we’ve sadly been hearing that Coffee Lake chips will likely require new motherboards for use, even though it’s appearing more and more likely that a version of the LGA 1151 socket will still be in place. Though we now know more than ever about Intel’s forthcoming 9th-generation Coffee Lake CPUs, there’s still a ton of news to come.
As per usual, we encourage you return to this page periodically for in-depth coverage of the latest Intel Coffee Lake rumors and reveals.