Intel Coffee Lake 8th-gen Core processors release date rumours

A slide from Intel stated that 8th-gen Core chips would launch in the second half of 2017

Intel has teased its 8th generation Core processors, dubbed Coffee Lake, and says they'll be available this year. Here's what we know so far about Coffee Lake and Cannon Lake.

See also: Intel Kaby Lake release date, price and processor models

What is Intel Coffee Lake?

At a recent investors conference, Intel showed a slide detailing the roadmap for its Core processor range. The 6th and 7th-generation chips we know about - Skylake and Kaby Lake.

However, the slide - titled Advancing Moore's Law on 14nm - stated that 8th-gen Core chips would launch in the second half of 2017. So the twist was that these would also be based on a 14nm process.

Intel Coffee Lake release date rumours

No-one expected a fourth generation to use the same process, especially as Intel has already waved a 10nm Cannon Lake chip around at CES in January this year.

Some are claiming that the internal codename 'Coffee Lake' refers to the new 8th-gen 14nm chips, and since Intel hasn't said otherwise, we'll have to run with it, at least until we hear different.

In short, then, Coffee Lake is the 8th generation of Intel Core i processors, based on the same 14nm manufacturing process, and successor to Kaby Lake.

Intel Coffee Lake features and performance

So we know - roughly - when the 8th-gen Core processors are launching (likely very late in 2017 and starting with mobile chips) but how is Intel going to extract yet more performance without a process change?

Intel Coffee Lake release date rumours

Typically, or at least in the past, the company would come up with a new architecture (the chip's design) and then follow up with a 'process shrink' the following year to boost performance.

Recently, Moore's Law, which says that the number of transistors that will fit in a given area will double every 12-18 months, has slowed down. Or so it seems.

Look beyond the headline 14nm figure, and Intel has actually improved the process without changing the figure. According to some sources, Intel refers to Skylake as 14nm, Kaby Lake as 14nm+ and Coffee Lake at 14nm++.

These aren't simply names to delineate the different generations: there are performance improvements behind them. One is the move to FinFET - effectively a 3D transistor, as used by the latest graphics card GPUs - and along with other tweaks, it's probably unfair to call Coffee Lake a 14nm CPU.

In any case, the aforementioned slide quoted a 15 percent boost in performance over Kaby Lake, which itself is 15 percent quicker than Skylake.

So a Coffee Lake-powered PC should be noticeably quicker than a three-year old machine.

Intel is also likely to continue to improve the on-board GPU performance, which may well account for a decent chunk of that overall 15 percent bump. We'll have to wait until we see the benchmark results to know for sure, of course.

Quite how the chips will stack up against AMD's forthcoming Ryzen is another unknown. It could be shaping up for a very good year for CPUs.

Intel Coffee Lake release date rumours

Coffee Lake vs Cannon Lake

You're not going to be able to buy a PC of any description with a Cannon Lake chip in 2017. Intel has said that it will push 10nm processors to datacentres first, and this must be partly in order to prove the technology before rolling it out to consumers. But it could also be because server chips cost thousands of pounds, while laptop and desktop PC processors cost hundreds.

As with Kaby Lake, we're likely to see Coffee Lake first in low-power laptops and 2-in-1s, then on the desktop in early 2018. There may come a point where you have a choice of a Cannon Lake or Coffee Lake processor, but right now, it's far too early to say which will be the one to buy.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags intel

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

By Jim Martin

PC Advisor (UK)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?