Fifth time’s the charm. At least that seems to be the case with Intel’s fifth round of processors based on the 14nm manufacturing process.
After the release of the laptop-centric 8th-generation Kaby Lake R processors back in August, Intel finally released the 8th-generation Coffee Lake desktop CPUs in October 2017, along with a lineup of processors and motherboards.
Back in April, Intel launched some H-Series processors for laptops, including the Intel Core i9-8950HK, which is behind some of the best gaming laptops this year. The last official Coffee Lake processor Intel released was the Intel Core i7-8086K, celebrating the 40th anniversary original 8086 processor, running 6 cores at a stock 5GHz clock speed.
All signs on the Internet suggest Intel is ready to move onto its next generations of processors – and we mean multiple serieses.
In spite of earlier, more modest statements, Intel’s 8th-generation Coffee Lake processors are up to 45% faster than their Kaby Lake predecessors. This explains the requirement for users to upgrade to a new motherboard – even though some clever modders found a way around that.
What’s surprising is that even in the face of extremely tough competition from AMD, Intel is still at the top of the sales charts with Coffee Lake, even if its lead isn’t as big as it’s been in the past.
Unsurprisingly, the lineup includes processors in each of the Core i3, i5, i7, and the potentially new i9 categories.
We’ve also seen leaks for a X399 chipset, likely for the upcoming Cannon Lake processors. Meanwhile, there are whispers of a new Z390 platform that likely also supports Coffee Lake and even the anticipated Canon Lake processors.
Intel is likely to bring more Core i9 processors to the mainstream. And, while the Core i9 and i7 processors have yet to be confirmed, we do know that the 9th-generation Coffee Lake-S processors are indeed on their way.We also saw Intel showing off a 28-core CPU at Computex 2018, also running at 5GHz, but we don’t know if that’s at all indicative of its real-world performance.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Intel’s 8th-generation desktop CPU architecture
- When is it out? October 5th
- What will it cost? From $117 (about £85, AU$145) – $359 (about £265, AU$450)
Intel Coffee Lake release date
The Intel Coffee Lake processors finally touched down on October 5, 2017. Intel has also announced a new line of 8th generation Coffee Lake CPUs featuring Radeon RX Vega graphics that should be out sometime in the coming months.
Later into 2017, the Santa Clara chipmaker came out and teased an August 21 livestream reveal of its 8th-generation processors, which turned out to be a refresh of its 7th-generation processors for Ultrabooks and laptops, called Kaby Lake Refresh.
Then, back in April 2018, Intel released its H-series Intel Core CPUs alongside several high-profile laptops, like the MSI GS65 Stealth. We also saw Intel’s low-power T-series desktop chips release at the same time.
We’ve seen evidence that the 9th-generation Coffee Lake-S chips will be coming out later this year, but we’re still not sure exactly when that’s going to happen. Earlier rumors pointed to an 8-core Coffee Lake-S chip launching in September, but we still haven’t seen any kind of confirmation that the chip is real. Either way, we’re going to see some new Coffee Lake processors this fall, and we’ll update this article as soon as we know a solid date.
Intel Coffee Lake price
Arguably the most elusive aspect of Coffee Lake leading up to its canonical announcement was pricing. Aside from looking at the processor market AMD Ryzen rewrote, we didn’t have much to base our speculation. And now that Intel has released its first CPUs with discrete AMD Radeon graphics, we don’t have much to base the pricing for the laptops that will feature them.
Luckily, Intel has revealed a total rundown of the latest 8th-generation Coffee Lake chips since their announcement. And with that reveal, we finally knew that the Santa Clara tech behemoth was going to unleash an entire assortment of processors with a wide range of different prices.
Starting with the cheapest, the Intel Core i3 CPUs are Intel’s entry-level line is priced as follows.
- Intel Core i3-8100 – $130 (£99, AU$145)
- Intel Core i3-8350K – $180 (£160, AU$240)
- Intel Core i3-8300 – $138 (about £98, AU$180)
- Intel Core i3-8300T – $138 (about £98, AU$180)
- Intel Core i3-8100T – $117 (about £83, AU$152)
At the mid-range you have the Intel Core i5 CPUs, aimed squarely at a mainstream audience. They’re priced as follows:
- Intel Core i5-8400 – $190 (£183, AU$250)
- Intel Core i5-8600K – $257 (£190, AU$325)
- Intel Core i5-8600 – $213 (about £150, AU$277)
- Intel Core i5-8500 – $138 (about £98, AU$180)
- Intel Core i5-8600T – $213 (about £150, AU$277)
- Intel Core i5-8500T – $192 (about £137, AU$250)
- Intel Core i5-8400T – $182 (about £129, AU$237)
And, then you have the Intel Core i7 CPUs, aimed exclusively at enthusiast consumers, and are perfect for media editing, or any other multi-threaded workloads. They’re priced as follows:
- Intel Core i7-8700K – $350 (£290, AU$520)
- Intel Core i7-8700 – $313 (£290, AU$430)
- Intel Core i7-8700T – $303 (about £215, AU$395)
- Intel Core i7-8086K – $425 (£380, about AU$560)
Comparatively, an Intel Kaby Lake processor on its own will, as of this writing, set you back anywhere from $42 (£39, AU$66) to $350 (£415, AU$469), while Ryzen processors range from $168 (£158, AU$245) to $499 or £499 (AU$650).
Intel Coffee Lake specs
Let’s break it down: although all of the 8th-generation Coffee Lake chips are still manufactured on the 14nm node, Intel has proven that there’s still plenty of life in the process yet.
Again, starting from the ground up, the Intel Core i3 chips this time boast four cores each for the first time in the mainstream CPU space. What’s more, whereas the Intel Core i3-8100 takes advantage of four cores and four threads running at 3.6GHz, the unlocked Core i3-8350K totes the same number of cores and threads, but instead opts for a base frequency of 4GHz.
As for the Core i5 range, the plain Intel Core i5-8400 is a now a hexa-core monster, bearing six cores and six threads. Moreover, its base clock is 2.8GHz, and it operates at 4GHz with Turbo Boost.
Meanwhile the Core i5-8600K also squeezes six cores and six threads into the 14nm chip while brandishing base/boost speeds of 3.6GHz and 4.3GHz, respectively.
Then you’ve got the Intel Core i7-8700 and i7-8700K. The former is yet another six-core demon, albeit with double the number of threads as the i5-8600K. Its overclockable analogue, the Intel Core i7-8700K, poses a threat to the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, sporting six cores, 12 threads and base/boost clock speeds of 3.7GHz/4.7GHz.
Then, rounding out the Core i7 Coffee Lake CPUs, you have the Intel Core i7 8086K, which a 6-core 12-thread chip, clocked at 4.0GHz with a whopping 5.0GHz boost clock. This makes it the highest-clocked consumer chip Intel has released. Fitting way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original Intel 8086 processor.
And, following the announcement for the anticipated H-Series Coffee Lake Processors, including the Core i9-8950HK, clocked at 2.9GHz with a 4.8GHZ boost clock, we’re going to see some blazing fast laptops powered by these 6 core, 12 thread behemoths. Intel has also announced a new line of low-powered T-series desktop CPUs that should effectively fill out the budget segment of the CPU market.
We finally saw proof that the 9th generation Coffee Lake-S processors are on the way, and while the octa-core i9 chip is still in the realm of rumors, seven new chips across the Core i3 and i5 families were confirmed through Intel’s newest Microcode revision. The confirmed chips are as follows:
- Core i3-9000: 4-cores, 4-threads, clocked at 3.7GHz
- Core i3-9100: 4-cores, 4-threads, clocked at 3.7GHz
- Core i5-9400: 6-cores, 6-threads, clocked at 2.9GHz to 4.1GHz
- Core i5-9400T: 6-cores, 6-threads, clocked at 1.8GHz to 3.4GHz
- Core i5-9500: 6-cores, 6-threads, clocked at 3.0GHz to 4.3GHz
- Core i5-9600: 6-cores, 6-threads, clocked at 3.1GHz to 4.5GHz
- Core i5-9600K: 6-cores, 6-threads, clocked at 3.7GHz to 4.5GHz
However, there are still some unconfirmed chips, namely the high-end Core i7 and, more importantly, the Core i9 that’s supposedly aimed at a mainstream audience. These chips aren’t confirmed to be coming out, but we do believe they’ll happen. They are:
- Intel Core i7-9700K (est: 6-core, 12-thread)
- Intel Core i9-9900K (est: 8-core, 16-thread)
That’s all we know for now. We’ve seen a wide array of 8th-generation Coffee Lake processors, including some Coffee Lake processors for laptops. Now we’re getting 9th-generation Coffee Lake-S processors kicking off the next generation of CPUs, and, who knows? Maybe we’ll actually see Coffee Lake-X chips eventually.
There still a ton of news to come. Per our usual advice, we encourage you return to this page periodically for in-depth coverage of the latest Intel Coffee Lake reveals.
Joe Osborne has also contributed to this report