Today Intel has revealed that the company will be announcing their 8th generation Core processors and associated architecture on August 21st. This announcement of an announcement comes as the company is in the middle of launching the rest of the Core i9 Skylake-X processors, with the announcement essentially set to fill out the rest of the year for the company’s CPU product portfolio.

Intel has in recent times settled into a fairly consistent and roughly yearly release cadence for the Core processor family. Other than Broadwell’s delay, Intel has typically launched a new processor in the summer/fall timeframe for the past half-decade. And as early as an investor meeting in February, the company revealed that we should expect the 8th generation processors in the second half of this year.

Officially, Intel has not published any Core architecture roadmaps in some time, but what is widely expected to be revealed on the 21st is Intel’s Coffee Lake processors. Coffee Lake is a further evolution of Skylake and Kaby Lake, and like its predecessors, the company has already been confirmed that these 8th generation processors will also be made on their 14nm process. Meanwhile back at Computex Intel was talking up a sizable 30% performance gain in SYSmark, though based on Intel’s associated demonstration it looks like that claim is primarily about laptops. Otherwise, what little we know of Coffee Lake is that it will require a new chipset, and desktop processors will not work in existing 200-series motherboards.

The big question, besides official specifications, will be around what launches when. Whether Intel will lead with mobile, lead with desktop, or even launch both at the same time. Intel has traditionally led with mobile, and as a recently as 7th generation Core (Kaby Lake) that was still the case. On the other hand (and rumors aside), the fact that we’ve already seen motherboard manufacturers accidentally confirm information about desktop processors solidly points to desktop parts sooner than later, an interesting turn of events given the still-ongoing Skylake-X launch.

Otherwise, this launch may give us a hint of what to expect for the structure of future Intel processor launches. An announcement like this would normally be made at IDF, which would have taken place the week of August 14th had Intel not discontinued it this year. Intel is plenty capable of launching products outside of IDF (see: Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X), but the loss of IDF changes things significantly. On the one hand, they're no longer under the gun to present something big to the amassed press, investors, and developers. On the other hand, they don't have those same masses conveniently gathered in one location. So it will be interesting to see how Intel handles this launch now that it's a lower-key event.

Finally, given this timing, it remains to be seen how Intel will work their forthcoming first generation 10nm Cannonlake parts into the rotation. Cannonlake was originally expected this year, though it’s anything but clear if that’s still going to happen. However even an early 2018 launch would come only a handful of months after Coffee Lake, and with initial 10nm yields pushing a practical need to start on small die products (e.g. U/Y processors), it’ll be interesting to see how Intel structures their product lineup for these back-to-back transitions.

Source: Intel

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  • Santoval - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    I am quite sure that Apple would love to scale up their CPUs for their Mac computers, but I do not think they (and Tim Cook in particular) are ready to reenact their PowerPC to x86 move once again. They will probably play it safe and stay on x86, out of fear of scaring away their users and due to the massive porting effort that would require, from MacOS itself to the most trivial MacOS program.

    And now that the x86-64 market is no longer a monopoly, with the competition between Intel and AMD heating up, they have even less of a reason to move. Competition means lower prices from Intel, sooner or later, and lower CPU prices mean higher profit margins (which is the reason they would move to an ARM ISA in the first place) - since there is no way they are going to drop their prices.

    As much as I would love to see an ARM based Mac I highly doubt it is going to happen, and in the very low power budgets of phones and tablets they cannot beat Intel's performance. They are also never going to develop a high TDP Apple CPU for another customer, since although that would mean more profits it is not Apple's style.

    So the only path we can expect a high (or rather mid power, in the 15 - 20 W range, for low power laptops) power, wider ARM CPU is from ARM themselves. That should be their goal in the mid - long term, in order to expand their market, but are they going to do it?
  • Manch - Thursday, August 10, 2017 - link

    They use AMD GPU's. Now that AMD has a decent CPU, I wonder if Apple will go the way of the consoles. Have semicustom design for their laptops. Would provide packaging advantages so they can make the next MacBook Air even thinner.
  • Lolimaster - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    The IPC difference is 5-7%.
  • name99 - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link


    Meanwhile on the other side of the world we have TSMC saying in March
    "Samsung announced late last year it plans to use EUV in a 7nm process that could be in production by 2019. “We believe we will be the first one” to use EUV in volume production, said TSMC’s Woo with risk production starting by June 2018."

    and more recently
    "TSMC used an unnamed “novel resist” chemical to replace five immersion masks with one EUV mask at pitches ranging from 26-30nm. Liu said the company currently expects EUV could compress as many as 16 immersion masks to four or five."

    with 5nm in 2019...

    And this stuff seems to all be happening on schedule. TSMC Board meeting today approved US$3,153.6 million for various capital spending.
    (Don't think this $3 billion is for the whole of 2017. They seem to have these meetings four to six times a year and EVERY ONE OF THEM ends with a resolution to spend somewhere from $1 to $4 billion!)
  • Yojimbo - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    From what I have heard, people believe that Intel has the most EUV tools in the field. And Samsung and TSMC have been a bit looser with their naming recently than Intel has been.
  • edzieba - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    EUV has been "coming soon totally for realz this time guys 100% sure" so many times, I will simply not waste time listening to the marketing drivel until they have the initial production wafers rolling out the fab.
  • name99 - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    You realize the above statement doesn't make you a wise and careful analyst? It makes you someone who can't distinguish between the statements of various enthusiastic amateurs and the statements of people who actually matter.
    If people like E S Jung (head of Samsung Foundry) or Mark Liu (Co-CEO of TSMC) say they'll be introducing EUV in 2018, that's rather different from random conference attendees saying "well, this works, that doesn't, we're optimistic we can get it working in a few years"...
  • extide - Monday, August 14, 2017 - link

    You know they all buy the EUV machines from the same place, ASML. That's Intel, TSMC, Samsung, GF, etc. They are all honestly on pretty similar footing as far as how far away production is. Of course there are secrets at each shop, but ASML knows all of them...
  • Lolimaster - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    Those gens, years ago they were called simple higher numbered SKU's.

    Skylake-Kaby Lake-Coffee Lake-Canon Lake
  • Lord of the Bored - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    I still remember when we didn't use cryptic business-speak like SKU. We used words like model and revision.

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