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Intel 8th Gen Core Coffee Lake CPUs emerge

by on25 September 2017

Couple of SKUs and new Z370 chipset

Intel has officially announced its 8th generation Core Coffee Lake desktop CPUs as well as its newest Z370 chipset, which will be a must for these new CPUs, despite being based on the same socket.

Although we have already seen Intel's 8th generation Core launched earlier with Kaby Lake Refresh mobile parts, the stars of the show are the new Coffee Lake desktop parts and today Intel unveiled a total of six 8th gen Core SKUs, including two Core i7 parts, the Core i7-8700K and the Core i7-8700; two Core i5 parts, the Core i5-8600K and the Core i5-8400; and two Core i3 parts, the Core i3-8350K and the Core i3-8100; as well as the new Z370 chipset.

Although based on the same 14nm manufacturing process and pretty much the same design as the Kaby Lake architecture, improvements in the process let Intel to get higher performance at nearly the same TDP. The GPU on these new Coffee Lake CPUs is likely to be the same as on Kaby Lake CPUs, but with a slightly higher clock speed.

While there are still no reviews, Intel claims that we should see a significant performance increase of 25 percent in FPS in some games and up to 45 percent increase in "mega-tasking" applications, compared to the 7th gen CPUs.

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The biggest change is the number of cores, as the flagship Core i7-8700K and Core i7-8700 now pack six cores with enabled Hyper-Threading for 12-threads, while the mid-range Core i5 series, will have to stick with the same six cores, but without Hyper-Threading support. The Core i3 lineup was also pushed up and now packs four cores without Hyper-Threading.

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As you can see from the previous table, compared to the previous 7th generation, the new 8th generation has both a higher core count and higher Turbo clocks, and lower base clock, while the TDP remained nearly the same, at least in the high- and mid-range segment. The exception is the Core i3-8350K SKU, which now has a 91W TDP, which is a significant push compared to the Core i3-7350K which was at 65W.

Intel is especially proud about its K-series unlocked parts, which may provide better overclocking results and new features, including per-core overclocking, max memory ratio of up to 8,400 MT/s, real-time memory latency control, extended PLL trim controls and enhanced package power delivery. There have been rumors that the flagship Core i7-8700K easily overclocks to 4.8GHz, which is an impressive feat, if true.

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The biggest drawback of Intel's 8th Gen Core Coffee Lake CPUs is that they won't work in Z270 motherboards, and will need new Z370 chipset motherboards. According to Intel, this is because of improved power delivery, support for DDR4-2666 memory and more. To make things even worse, the Z370 chipset motherboards won't even be backwards compatible with Kaby Lake CPUs, although these have the same LGA 1151 socket.

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The bad side of the story is the higher launch price tag, which has been increased by around 20 percent compared to the 7th generation CPUs, with Core i7-8700K going for US $359 while the Core i7-7700K was launched at US $305. Same goes for the Core i5-8600K at US $257, while the Core i5-7600K launched at US $217. Of course, these are priced for 1000 units so expect retail prices to be even higher and we still need to see the complete price of the platform, which could be significantly higher.

Hopefully, the reviews won't be far away as we are hearing that usual suspects already got their hands on samples so these should be coming up shortly.

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Last modified on 25 September 2017
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