Intel’s latest chips for high-performance laptops offer more CPU cores, higher clock speeds, and higher… model numbers.
For the first time Intel is offering 6-core, 12-thread chips for laptops. And for the first time the company will use the Intel Core i9 name for some of its highest-performance mobile chips.
Meet the Intel Coffee Lake-H product family.
As the name suggests, the new chips are based on the same 14nm++ architecture as Intel’s Coffee Lake chips for desktops. These 45 watt processors offer more performance and consume more power than the 15 watt, quad-core Kaby Lake Refresh chips Intel launched last year. But the company says despite their differences, both are part of its 8th-gen Core processor lineup. Go figure.
Basically Kaby Lake-R chips are U-series processors aimed at thin and light laptops. Coffee Lake-H processors are high-performance chips aimed at gaming laptops, mobile workstations, and other high-end systems.
Intel says these chips bring faster load times and higher frame rates for gamers, faster photo and video editing, and better support for virtual reality, among other things.
Some chips also include a new Intel Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB) feature which automatically bumps up the CPU boost clock speed under the right circumstances.
For example, the top-of-the-line Intel Core i9-8950HK chip is a 6 core, 12-thread processor with a base clock speed of 2.9 GHz and turbo boost speeds that would normally top out at 4.6 GHz, but which Intel says can go up by as much as another 200 MHz “if the processor temperature is low enough and turbo power budget is available.”
The Core i9-8950HK is also fully unlocked, allowing users to overclock the CPU. Most of the other Coffee Lake-H chips are not.
Here’s a run-down of the first Coffee Lake-H chips expected to ship:
- Core i9-8950HK: 6 cores/12 threads, 2.9 GHz base/4.8 GHz boost frequency, 12MB cache, unlocked
- Xeon E-2186M: 6 cores/12 threads, 2.9 GHz base/4.8 GHz boost frequency, 12MB cache
- Xeon E-2176M: 6 cores/12 threads, 2.7 GHz base/4.4 GHz boost frequency, 12MB cache
- Intel Core i7-8850H: 6 cores/12 threads, 2.6 GHz base/4.3 GHz boost frequency, 9MP cache, partially unlocked
- Intel Core i7-8750H: 6 cores/12 threads, 2.2 GHz base/4.2 GHz boost frequency, 9MB cache
- Intel Core i5-8400H: 4 cores/8 threads, 2.5 GHz base/4.2 GHz boost frequency, 8MB cache
- Intel Core i5-8300H: 4 cores/8 threads, 2.3 GHz base/4 GHz boost frequency, 8MB cache
All of the new chips support dual-channel DDR4-2666 memory and optional Intel Optane memory. The Xeon chips (and the Core i5-8400H) are also Intel vPro eligible.
Speaking of Optane memory, Intel is also pushing its 3D Xpoint storage solution for both mobile and desktop users. The company is introducing a new Data Drive Acceleration feature that it says will let you pair a relatively small Intel Optane drive with a larger secondary hard drive to speed up load times for media, games, and other large files.
The company will also start issuing Core i5+, Core i7+, and Core i9+ badges for use on some computers that come with Intel Core chips and Intel Optane memory.
PC makers are already starting to introduce notebooks powered by the new chips, including general-purpose systems like the new Dell XPS, and an awful lot of gaming laptops, including:
- Acer Nitro 5
- Asus ROG Zephyrus and Zephyrus M
- Gigabyte Aero 14, 15, and 15X
- HP ZBook mobile workstations
- MSI GS65 Stealth Thin
- Origin EVO 15-S
- Samsung Notebook Odyssey Z
No mention of whether these chips are resistant
to those malware that can attack CPUs that are up to
a couple of decades old. If these CPUs aren’t
resistant, people shouldn’t buy them until the malware
resistant versions become available.
They are not. They’ll ship with software patches but Intel doesn’t have hardware mitigations yet.
They don’t need to be resistant in hardware… the extra 2 cores will make up for the software inefficiency in horsepower. But you will pay in battery life and fan noise.
(I personally am waiting for a mobile dual core with the hardware fix).
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