Here’s the 8th Gen Intel Core news you need before the official August 21 reveal

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Why it matters to you

Official details of Intel’s next processor line will be revealed on August 21 at 8 a.m. Pacific / 11 a.m. Eastern

Intel recently announced that its family of next-generation processors will be officially revealed on August 21, 2017. The event will take place on Intel’s Facebook page and its official newsroom as the moon passes between the Earth and the sun — aka, the Great American Solar Eclipse. The reveal date is no coincidence, as Intel wants to introduce its new desktop processors with “blazing” fast performance before the sun’s rays “blaze” around our moon to melt our eyeballs.

That said, here is all the 8th Gen Intel Core news we could round up prior to the show.

Meet Intel’s new caffeinated architecture

Intel’s new processor lineup is based on its 8th gen “Coffee Lake” architecture. It follows the company’s seventh-generation “Kaby Lake” design introduced in the third quarter of 2016, and its sixth-generation “Skylake” family introduced in the third quarter of 2015. As the pattern shows, Intel tends to introduce a new generational platform before October, and then rolls out the entire family over the course of a year.

Typically, a single generational design is split into several groups and designated with a letter. For instance, Intel’s “Coffee Lake-S” lineup will likely focus on its mainstream performance desktop processor family, while the “Coffee Lake-H” chips will likely land in high-dollar notebooks requiring high-performance graphics. Other groups will consist of processors targeting ultra-low-power thin and light notebooks (Coffee Lake-U), and units targeting extreme low-power tablets and 2-in-1 detachables (Coffee Lake-Y). Intel reserves the “X” designation for its super-powerful enthusiast desktop CPUs.

As of late, we’ve seen details surface regarding Intel’s Coffee Lake-S desktop processor family. Seven individual processors were leaked over the last week alone consisting of units packing six and four cores. Note that Intel’s eighth-generation lineup will finally introduce a six-core model to the mainstream desktop market. Typically, six-core units are served up to the enthusiast desktop processor market under its X-Series brand, including the Core i7-7800X, the Core i7-6800K, and the Core i7-5930K.

Here are the “leaked” eighth-generation Coffee Lake-S chips we’ve seen thus far:

i7-8700K 6 / 12 3.7GHz 4.7GHz 4.6GHz 4.4GHz 4.3GHz 95 watts
i7-8700 6 / 12 3.2GHz 4.6GHz 4.5GHz 4.3GHz 4.3GHz 65 watts
i5-8600K 6 / 6 3.6GHz 4.3GHz 4.2GHz 4.2GHz 4.1GHz 95 watts
i5-8600 6 / 6 2.8GHz 4.0GHz 3.9GHz 3.9GHz 3.8GHz 65 watts
i3-8350K 4 / 4 4.0GHz N/A N/A N/A N/A 91 watts
i3-8300 4 / 4 4.0GHz N/A N/A N/A N/A 65 watts
i3-8100 4 / 4 3.6GHz N/A N/A N/A N/A 65 watts

What’s interesting with Coffee Lake is that we’re seeing more than just two sets of speed numbers (typically base speed and turbo speed). With the eighth generation, details are dividing the turbo speed into four categories: single-core, two-core, four-core, and six-core.  The Core i3 models don’t even support Intel’s Turbo Boost Technology, although the Core i3-8350K will supposedly be unlocked and ripe for manual overclocking.

Based on leaked slides, Intel’s upcoming eighth-generation Coffee Lake-S desktop CPU lineup will rely on the same LGA 1151 motherboard “seat” (socket) used by its seventh-generation (Kaby Lake) and sixth-generation (Skylake) processors. The slides also show that the high-performance Coffee Lake units will consume 95 watts of power, the corporate/mainstream chips will consume 65 watts of power, and the low power models will only use 35 watts.

What else is new in Intel’s latest lake?

Coffee Lake-S will bring to the mainstream desktop market support for up to 16 PCI Express 3.0 lanes by the processor (essentially two graphics cards), and up to 24 PCI Express lanes provided by the motherboard chipset. The platform will also support up to up to six SATA 3.0 storage ports, and up to 10 USB 3.1 ports total, six of which can be based on “red” USB 3.1 Gen2 technology with transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps. The typical “blue” USB 3.1 Gen1 port, formerly known as USB 3.0, only provides transfer speeds of up to 5Gbps.

Here an additional list of the Coffee Lake-S platform features:

  • DDR4 memory clocked up to 2,666MHz
  • Enhanced instruction set
  • Support for memory overclocking
  • Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
  • Rec. 2020 and HDR video support
  • HEVC 10-bit hardware encode and decode
  • Support for premium Ultra HD content
  • Integrated USB 3.1 Gen2 support
  • Integrated Wireless AC R2 and Bluetooth 5 support
  • Support for Thunderbolt 3 with DisplayPort 1.4
  • Support for next-generation Intel Optane memory
  • Support for PCI Express 3.0 x4 storage
  • M.2 and U.2 slots directly connected to the CPU
  • New Intel SmartSound Technology featuring a four-core digital signal processor
  • Integrated SDXC 3.0 controller
  • Support for Modern Standby

Note that the overall Coffee Lake processor platform will arrive alongside a new motherboard chipset family providing a large chunk of the feature set. This will be the 300 Series chipset, with the Z370 chipset slated to arrive alongside the Coffee Lake-S desktop processors at the end of August. Whether current desktops with a 200 Series-based motherboards will need to swap them out for 300 Series-based models to support 8th gen processors is unknown for now.

As for integrated graphics, we’ve seen two components. One is dubbed as the 3E92H for the 6-core models, and one dubbed as 3E91H for the four-core models. In the Core i3-8350K chip, the 3E91H component supposedly has a base speed of 350MHz and a boost speed of 1,150MHz. The same integrated graphics in the Core i3-8100 supposedly has the same base speed, but a slower boost speed of 1,100MHz.

What’s the launch schedule?

Based on the information we have now, alleged leaked Intel slides state that six Coffee Lake-S processors will be sold to the mainstream desktop market at launch. These will consist of six-core and four-core 95-watt “K” models, and 65-watt models without the “K’ suffix (such as the i7-8700K vs the i7-8700). This rollout starts at the end of August through the end of 2017.

After that, additional Coffee Lake-S desktop processors are expected to roll out in the first and second quarters of 2018. These will include 2-core models with a low power requirement of 35 watts. Additional six-core and four-core models with 95-watt (K) and 65-watt (non-K) requirements appear to be on Intel’s menu for the first half of 2018.

Of course, all of this information is mostly based on Intel’s 8th gen desktop processors. Details about the company’s plans outside the desktop are scarce for now, although Lenovo will reportedly reveal the Lenovo Yoga 920 during IFA Berlin, which will pack eighth-generation Coffee Lake-U chips. Configurations will  supposedly include the Core i7-8550U and the Core i5-8250U.

Here’s what we currently know about Intel’s entire Coffee Lake-U lineup:

Cores Threads Base
i7-8650U 4 8 ? ? 8MB 15 watts
i7-8600U 4 8 ? ? 8MB 15 watts
i7-8550U 4 8 1.8GHz ? 8MB 15 watts
i5-8350U 4 4 ? ? 6MB 15 watts
i5-8250U 4 8 1.6GHz 3.4GHz 6MB 15 watts

That all said, all chips listed in our 8th Gen Intel Core news roundup could be revealed on August 21. The live streaming event will take place at 8 a.m. PDT / 11 a.m. EDT on the Intel Newsroom site, and hosted by Intel’s Client Computing Group senior vice president Gregory Bryant, along with several others.

Just as AMD did with Ryzen, Intel will show its Coffee Lake processors in action during a live broadcast, as well as showcase system designs based on the upcoming chips. A VR creator and imaging technologist will also be on hand to show the power of Intel’s eighth-generation Coffee Lake processor design.

“Start planning for what new 8th Gen Intel Core processor-based device to purchase in the holiday season and even before,” Intel says. “Don’t worry, you won’t miss the solar eclipse. Tune in before it descends upon Oregon and the West Coast and then makes its way across the U.S.”

We will update this article with the latest 8th Gen Intel Core news as the company releases more information.