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Intel releases 8th Gen Core U-Series processors

by Tarinder Sandhu on 21 August 2017, 08:00

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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Intel is today launching the first slew of 8th Generation Core processors. These processors are destined for the premium Ultrabook market and arrive in the form of four U-series chips outfitted with a configurable 15W TDP.

Stepping back for a moment, on a conference call last week, Intel has gone on record as saying that the entire spectrum of 8th Generation Core processors - Ultrabook, performance notebook, desktop, etc. - will be built on either Kaby Lake Refresh, Coffee Lake or Canon Lake architectures, spanning production from present 14nm+ down to 10nm. This means that generational chips will no longer be restricted to architectures.

As the U-series is coming first, set to be in the market by next month in a wide range of Ultrabooks, Intel has played it safe, architecturally, by using a refined version of Kaby Lake known as the 'Refresh'. The big news is that the four new chips will offer significantly more CPU processing power than any U-series available today, with up to a 40 per cent gain made possible by a combination of switching from a dual-core, quad thread design (2C4T) to quad-core, octo-thread (4C8T), improved manufacturing techniques and better design (higher Turbo bins). That's an impressive achievement given the lowly wattage limit Intel has to work with.

So let's take a look at the four new processors and see how they stack up against some of the most commonly-used 7th Generation U-series present in Ultrabooks such as the Razer Blade Stealth and Dell XPS 13.

Intel U-series

Model
Cores /
Threads
L3
Cache
(MB)
Base
Clock
(GHz)
Turbo
Boost
2.0
(GHz)
Graphics
TDP (W)
Price
8th Gen Core U-Series
Core i7-8650U
4 / 8
8
1.9
4.2
UHD 620
15
TBC
Core i7-8550U
4 / 8
8
1.8
4.0
UHD 620
15
TBC
Core i5-8350U
4 / 8
6
1.7
3.6
UHD 620
15
TBC
Core i5-8250U
4 / 8
6
1.6
3.4
UHD 620
15
TBC
7th Gen Core U-Series
Core i7-7500U
2 / 4
4
2.7
3.5
HD 620
15
$393
Core i7-7200U
2 / 4
3
2.6
3.5
HD 620
15
$281

The obvious standout feature is the greater number of cores. We're not going to see double the all-core performance as adding in twice the silicon artillery means that in heavy-load situations the new 8-series chips won't clock as high. However, single-thread peak performance remains excellent.

Again, there is little difference between the Core i7 and Core i5 variants of the 8xxx U-series CPUs, and they differ only in the CPU and GPU speeds. Speaking of which, Intel puts almost all of its performance eggs in the CPU basket, meaning the HD Graphics 620 from the 7th Generation chips is carried out, but is now called UHD 620 due to the ability to run 4K content. Going back to speeds and feeds, Core i7 chips' IGP runs at up to 1,150MHz whilst the Core i5 can peak at 1,100MHz.

Intel says that about 40 design wins will be shown off today, ostensibly updates to Ultrabooks from the likes of HP, Dell, and Razer, with more than 145 set to be made public soon.

Popular Ultrabooks just got a shot in the performance arm with Intel's latest U-series processors, now packing in twice the number of CPU cores. It can be argued that innovation has stalled in the desktop space, yet it is alive and kicking in the notebook arena.



HEXUS Forums :: 13 Comments

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It can be argued that innovation has stalled in the desktop space, yet it is alive and kicking in the notebook arena.

It can also be argued that a certain company might be feeling the heat in other arenas so is having to release some of the innovations it's had parked on the shelf for the last 5 years while lumbering people with hamstrung tech to try and force sales of their more powerful chips. Were it not for AMD's recent strides I wouldn't mind betting these U-series chips would be dual core again.

As an XPS13 owner with a hamstrung i7 “premium” cpu - I'll hold my breath regarding any performance boasts until I see the thermals and throttling behaviour in independent tests of retail consumer units. Don't care what the headline values are if it throttles to the point of uselessness
The major problem I have with MacBook and iMac is the price which start at $1000 then you see “with intel HD graphics” Does it make sense to have an i7 processor with intel HD graphics?
Thank you AMD!
lumireleon
The major problem I have with MacBook and iMac is the price which start at $1000 then you see “with intel HD graphics” Does it make sense to have an i7 processor with intel HD graphics?

yes. Mine does. Have enough threads for sound recording and photo editing but without the penalty on battery life that a dGPU would bring. Not everyone buying an i7 wants to game.
ik9000
lumireleon
The major problem I have with MacBook and iMac is the price which start at $1000 then you see “with intel HD graphics” Does it make sense to have an i7 processor with intel HD graphics?

yes. Mine does. Have enough threads for sound recording and photo editing but without the penalty on battery life that a dGPU would bring. Not everyone buying an i7 wants to game.
photo editing works better with a better GPU. AMD offers better graphics horsepower on low tier chips, intel customers suffer because of intel's bad graphics.