from the dive-into-a-coffee-lake dept.
Over the past six weeks, AMD's Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 CPUs have been making Intel's life a bit difficult. Chipzilla's standard desktop lineup has been rattled by AMD's new chips, which offer higher core counts and better performance in many workloads for significantly less money. Intel, of course, was never going to take this lying down — and new rumors suggest the company will accelerate the launch of its Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X CPUs, pulling them forward to a June Computex unveiling as opposed to the original August timeline. Meanwhile, Intel will reportedly launch its Coffee Lake refresh in August of this year rather than waiting until January 2018.
14nm Coffee Lake will include Intel's first "mainstream" 6-core chip.
At the top of the stack are two Core i7 Coffee Lake processors. In previous generations 'Core i7' meant that we were discussing quad-core parts with hyperthreading, but for this generation it moves up to a six-core part with hyperthreading. The Core i7-8700K starts at a 3.7 GHz base frequency and is designed to turbo to 4.7 GHz in single threaded workloads, with a thermal design power (TDP) of 95W.
[...] In the middle of the stack are the Core i5 processors, with the new generation matching the 'same configuration without hyperthreading' philosophy that followed in the previous generation. The two Core i5 parts operate at lower clockspeeds compared to the Core i7, and perhaps more so than we are previously used to, especially with the Core i5-8400 having a base frequency of 2.8 GHz. Intel sampled us the Core i5-8400 for our review, because it hits an important metric: six cores for under $200.
[...] It is interesting to note that in the last generation, Intel had processors with two cores and two threads (2C/2T), two cores with hyperthreading (2C/4T), quad cores with four threads (4C/4T) and quad cores with hyperthreading (4C/8T). This layout had staggered, regular steps. With the move to 6C/12T on the high-end Core i7, and 6C/6T on the mid-range Core i5, Intel completely skips the 4C/8T parts and moves straight to 4C/4T on the Core i3. This is likely because a 4C/8T processor might overtake a 6C/6T part in some multi-threaded tests (it would also explain why moving from a previous 4C/8T Core i7 processor to a 6C/6T Core i5 8th generation is not always an increase in performance).
However at the bottom of the stack are the 4C/4T Core i3 processors, where Intel is pushing out an overclockable Core i3 processor again. This is a little bit of a surprise: in our testing of the previous generation overclockable Core i3, the fact that it was dual core was a setback in a lot of testing. With the Core i3-K now being quad-core, and overclocking it to try and beat a six-core chip for less money, for certain things like gaming we might see less of a difference between the two.
Previously: AMD's Ryzen Could be Forcing Intel to Release "Coffee Lake" CPUs Sooner
Intel's First 8th Generation Processors Are Just Updated 7th Generation Chips
Intel Launches 8th-Gen Core Desktop Chips; Claims New Core i7-8700K is its Best Gaming Chip Ever
AMD's high Ryzen sales may have convinced the company to release a new version on a slightly improved process in Spring 2018:
AMD has informed its partners that it plans to launch in February 2018 an upgrade version of its Ryzen series processors built using a 12nm low-power (12LP) process at Globalfoundries, according to sources at motherboard makers.
The company will initially release the CPUs codenamed Pinnacle 7, followed by mid-range Pinnacle 5 and entry-level Pinnacle 3 processors in March 2018, the sources disclosed. AMD is also expected to see its share of the desktop CPU market return to 30% in the first half of 2018.
AMD will launch the low-power version of Pinnacle processors in April 2018 and the enterprise version Pinnacle Pro in May 2018.
The new "Pinnacle Ridge" chips appear to be part of a Zen 1 refresh rather than "Zen 2", which is expected to ship in 2019 on a 7nm process. The 12nm Leading-Performance (12LP) process was described by GlobalFoundries as providing 15% greater circuit density and a 10% performance increase compared to its 14nm FinFET process.
AMD has yet to release 14nm "Raven Ridge" CPUs for laptops.