As if in swift response to AMD's nearly year-long Zen onslaught, Intel will release the desktop parts (S Series) of its 8th Gen Coffee Lake CPU on October 5, a mere 10 months after unsheathing Kaby Lake. The upcoming products include Core i3, i5, and i7 CPUs in both locked and unlocked versions. More importantly, the Core i5 and i7 will feature six cores (a first for the i5 part), and the Core i3 will have four cores (also a first).
As we reported in early August, these CPUs will require a new chipset (Z370) and thus new motherboards. Intel has also confirmed that previous generation CPUs will not work with the new chipset. The company said that there will be more than 50 new Z370 motherboards to support these CPUs. We've reported on other rumors that suggest next year we'll see eight-core parts and yet another (Z390) chipset.
Intel indicated that this 8th-generation part is built on what it calls a 14nm++ process. The company would not comment on the die size or transistor count at this time. However, Intel is promising gamers an approximately 25% improvement in performance over Kaby Lake--this is using a direct comparison of the Core i7-8700K versus i7-7700K in Gears of War. You can bet that we'll provide a thorough set of benchmarks across several taxing games come launch time.
The company has added a few more knobs for the overclocking crowd to turn, as well. Turbo Boost 2.0 is still supported, but you now get per-core overclocking, a maximum memory ratio up to 8,400 MT/s, memory latency control, and PLM Trim controls.
We've included a slide from Intel's press deck below. It lists some of the key specs and pricing. Notably, the high-end Core i7 part is $20 higher than initial Kaby Lake pricing; the Core i5 sits $15 higher. This move is likely designed to cover the additional costs of the silicon along with avoiding cannibalizing the existing Kaby Lake models. Cache sizes are higher and base clocks are lower, comparatively, but the single-core max frequencies are higher. TDP is also higher, presumably to support the higher core count.
This information was initially under embargo until October 5, but a media leak has convinced Intel to let us run with the information immediately. We'll provide a more detailed breakdown and analysis in the ensuing hours.