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Intel to launch new 8th generation Kaby Lake Core processors today

New i7/i5 chips for laptops are the first to land.

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Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Intel today announced its new 8th generation Core processors today, which promises to bring a 40 percent speed boost over the previous 7th generation Kaby Lake chips they are replacing.

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This time around Intel is doing things a little differently. Normally, generation leaps go hand-in-hand with architecture changes, but Intel's 8th generation chips will consist of some that use the current 14-nanometer+ Kaby Lake architecture, and later chips that will make use of both 14-nanometer++ Coffee Lake and 10-nanometer Cannonlake architectures.

But for today, Intel is focused on only 8th generation Kaby Lake chips -- two new Core i7 chips, and two new i5 chips, all of which will be U Series laptop processors.

All four chips feature quad-core/eight threads, and are claimed to be up to 40 percent faster than their existing 7th generation counterparts. Intel claims that 25 percent of that performance boost comes from the addition of extra cores, with the remainder being put down to manufacturing and design improvements.

i7-8650U i7-8550U i5-8350U i5-8250U
Base clock (GHz) 1.9 1.8 1.7 1.6
Max 1-core clock (GHz) 4.2 4.0 3.6 3.4
Max 2-core clock (GHz) 4.2 4.0 3.6 3.4
Max 4-core clock (GHz) 3.9 3.7 3.6 3.4
Cores/Threads 4/8 4/8 4/8 4/8
Cache (MB) 8 8 6 6
Max GPU clock (GHz) 1150 1150 1100 1100

The chips also feature a rebranded GPU (the old HD 620 has been rebranded UHD 620) and come with support for 4K video, VR, 3D and such (although it's technically the CPU that is the driver for this improved graphics support).

The bottom line is that what we're looking at here is revamped 7th generation chips, with new architecture coming down the pipes later. This means that eventually the 8th generation lineup of chips will be a mish mash of 14-nanometer+ Kaby Lake, 14-nanometer++ Coffee Lake, and 10-nanometer Cannonlake architectures, which will no doubt end up being confusing for all concerned.

Intel says that the first crop of laptops powered by the new 8th generation chips will be available from OEM partners starting September.

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