Intel’s 8th-gen Core processors are available starting today. Code-named “Coffee Lake,” the new chips that were introduced last month offer better up to 25 percent better all-around performance than their 7th-gen “Kaby Lake” predecessors.
The new mainstream desktop chips also include the first quad-core Core i3 desktop processor and the first hexa-core Core i5 desktop chip.
Prices start at just $117 for the new Core i3-8100 desktop CPU. The only catch? You’ll probably need a new motherboard to use the new chips.
That’s because the new chips only support boards with Intel 300 series chipsets. That means you’ll need to spend a little more to upgrade an existing desktop… which makes me wonder whether it’s really worth buying a Core i3-8100 chip at this point unless you’re already planning to build a new desktop from scratch and you were going to need a mainboard anyway.
Most folks will probably get the new chips when they buy a new desktop that has them pre-installed though. Expect to see a bunch of Coffee Lake-powered desktops in the coming months.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the new chips isn’t how they compare to earlier Intel desktop processors… but how they compare to AMD’s Ryzen processors in terms of price, performance, and CPU count. In the past if you’ve wanted more than 4-cores in a desktop chip, Intel has charged a premium price for its high-end processors. The company’s highest-price Core i9-7980XE is an 18-core chip that sells for $2000, or about twice as much as the 16-core AMD Threadripper 1950X.
In other words Intel is taking the challenge from AMD’s Ryzen chips seriously, which is great news for folks looking for affordable multi-core desktop chips this year.