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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  • jospoortvliet - Thursday, August 10, 2017 - link

    I easily believe they held back on adding cores but not a new process. That just doesn't fit their MO. Reply
  • marc1000 - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    lol great remark, Intel competing with the Moon for attention! Reply
  • Gastec - Sunday, August 20, 2017 - link

    Indeed, and only a fool would pick a fight with a force of Nature :) Reply
  • Buk Lau - Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - link

    How much harder can you squeeze out of a tube of toothpaste aka 14nm Intel? Reply
  • Lolimaster - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    Funny thing is people still wanted to buy a 4c/8t intel i7 for more than $330 when they had 90% of that chip in the name of Ryzen 5 1500X for half the price.

    Now those same people drool over the i7 8700K when they already have the 8c/16t Ryzen 7 1700X for $299. Intel love those kind of blind customers, they spit on them but they say thx and have some bills.
    Reply
  • HammerStrike - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    If IPC is your jam Intel is still the king. Just because I don't like them doesn't mean they don't have the best architecture. Reply
  • name99 - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    Actually if IPC is your jam, Apple Hurricane is king. Around 15 to 25% higher than Intel.
    But Intel still wins (for now...) on frequency.

    We shall see what the A11 brings, but I expect it will be a whole lot more exciting than Coffee Lake's expected ~3% IPC boost and ~300MHz higher turbo frequencies.
    (Note how Intel now always talks about how great the Sysmark improvement is? Sysmark, by DESIGN, is not a CPU benchmark, it's a system benchmark. So it picks up improvements in things like RAM speed, flash speed, faster PCI, even more cores/better hyperthreading.
    All that's perfectly legit IF you're interested in the naive question "how fast is this computer for office work" --- but that's NOT the same thing as asking "how fast is this CPU on single-threaded performance".)

    What you mean is not best at IPC but best as single-threaded performance.
    Reply
  • ddriver - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    Sure, A10 might have a strong ALU, but ALU performance is secondary, it is basically only used to drive program flow. 99% of number crunching is done on the SIMD units, and ARM is still at 128 bit throughput while intel is already (and prematurely IMO but someone gotta do it) pushing 512 bit.

    A strong ALU makes a strong impact in something like a mobile phone, based on the typical usage scenarios, but that chip won't do too well in a prosumer situation. Basically OK for content consumption, to weak for content creation.

    Granted, very few people out there do any content creation on ios devices, maybe a few illustrators sketching and few musician wannabes mixing rudimentary music.
    Reply
  • emn13 - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    ALU performance is still *by far* the most important aspect of CPU performance; and on x86 the extend to which SIMD matters is somewhat inflated because using the SIMD instructions for serial floating point code is generally a good idea. However, that use-case does not extend to larger SIMD batch sizes.

    Now, certainly number crunching matters, and SIMD is OK for that, but lots if not most of workloads contain fairly little SIMD - and I'm going to speculate that it's not going to be hugely valuable to extend SIMD support *in general*. Keep in mind further that workloads that really benefit from larger SIMD batch sizes tend to benefit orders of magnitude more from GPUs and parallelization for the same reasons.

    Larger SIMD batch sizes have downsides and costs too; it's not a free lunch - even when you aren't using them! So it's really not clear if e.g. AVX 512 is a good idea in the first place, and that goes even more so for further increases thereafter.
    Reply
  • name99 - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    Right now the A10 has 3 128bit wide vector units, comparable Intel today has 2 256 wide units. This shows in the numbers --- dense linear algebra IPC for A10 is about 3/4 the value for Intel.

    It's unclear where Apple will go with this. As others have pointed out, integer performance is by far the more challenging (and important) part of modern CPU design. MOST (not all, but most) FP work (certainly that which is amenable to ever wider vectorization) is best run on systems that better exploit the substantial regularity in most FP algorithms, so DSPs for extremely regular algorithms and data flow, GPU-like designs for less regular but substantially decoupled data flow. I've said before that the only reason it makes sense for Apple to drop the IMG GPU is to replace it with something better, and that something better would be a throughput engine, which would designed to handle throughput code with extremely low overhead for shifting from the main latency cores to the throughput cores and back.
    Meanwhile on the latency cores we shall see if Apple adopts SVE (initially on top of NEON hardware, but with an eye to deprecating NEON).

    Point is
    - FP performance is mostly not interesting any more if your goal is to understand these designs and computing in general. Boasting about how well a latency core handles a throughput operation just shows that you don't understand the engineering big picture.

    - the way Intel has handled growing its SIMD units at every stage, from MMC through various SSEs to the clusterfck of all the different AVX versions on different CPUs is hardly something to be proud of. The main thing it has achieved is to ensure that almost no wide-spread code ever uses the best Intel SIMD capabilities because Intel uses those to segment markets, instead wide-spread code targets the lowest common denominator.
    Multiple NEON units (like Apple has done) is a better intermediate term solution because everybody wins, with generic code working well on both the high end and the low-end. SVE right now seems like an even better solution, allowing the same code to work on everything from the lowest 128-bit wide implementation to as high as you practically want to go (4096-wide I think).

    It remains to be seen how this will play out, but I could see Apple moving to SVE soon. Maybe not this year. (The drama for the A11 would appear to be dropping 32-bit support, and adding the Apple throughput engine. And while who knows what is being done behind the scenes, publicly LLVM's SVE support is mostly still at the design/prototype stage.) But maybe next year on 7nm?

    As for discussions of "musician wannabe's", really dude?
    (a) It's an engineering discussion. You also omitted, among others, photographers and video editors/manipulators.
    (b) The discussion refers to CPUs not how they are used. Scenarios like recognition (think real-time translation), AR and computational photography, or games may not be prosumer, but they certainly can demand powerful computation and are part of what Apple is targeting.
    (c) It's inevitable that Apple will at some point move their desktops (and likely even their data-warehouses) to ARM. The wins are just too compelling in terms of more control of the pacing of innovation, while TSMC charges a lot less than Intel. Which means all those markets that you claim as not existing on iOS are still within Apple's design ambit.
    Reply

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