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Intel launches 8th generation Core processors
August 28, 2017, 10:50 am

Intel launched its eighth-generation Core processors last week promising speed boosts of up to 40 percent over the previous seventh-generation Kaby Lake chips.

Intel is naming its eight-generation Core processors differently from its predictable pattern of naming processors in the past. With the release of the first generation 45nanometer (nm) Nehalem-based microarchitecture in November 2008 under the code name Bloomfield, Intel introduced a new naming scheme for its Core processors. The new designations no longer corresponded to specific technical features such as the number of cores; instead, it divided processors along performance levels into i3, i5 or i7 category with each new generation of microarchitecture that it introduced.

The second generation of microarchitecture was the 32nm Sandy Bridge, the third was the 22nm Ivy Bridge, then Broadwell followed by Haswell. The next change was the introduction of the 14nm manufacturing process for the sixth-generation Skylake followed by seventh-generation Kaby Lake. In a break from this naming scheme, Intel has now introduced the eighth generation Core processor spanning multiple chip families built on 14nm+ (Kaby Lake), 14nm++ (Coffee Lake), and 10nm (Cannon Lake).

The four U-series chips Intel launched last week are fundamentally based on seventh generation Kaby Lake with the same architecture, the same GPU, and almost the same capabilities. The one minor update to the GPU side of the equation is support for HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2, without any need for third-party solutions. The other two differences are four cores in place of the previous two, and slightly higher clock speeds at maximum Turbo.

Intel says that improvement in performance of the eighth generation chips are largely due to the two extra cores, with all models offering four cores / eight threads. Additionally, the company says it has made improvements to the design and manufacturing process to further improve speed.The new chips are also designed to handle things like 4K video, VR, 3D, and other recent innovations on a platform-wide level.

Intel is positioning the new eighth-generation chips mainly toward customers with older computers, noting that while current generation Kaby Lake owners will see a moderate boost in performance, customers upgrading from, say, a five-year-old Ivy Bridge system would see more than double the speed from their current systems. Intel is saying that the first laptops with the new eighth-generation chips will be available from OEM partners starting in September.

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