After weeks of anticipation, Intel finally revealed their 8th generation Intel Core processors. The first batch of them will be the U SKU processors – built on the KBL-R (Kaby Lake R) architecture. This line is primarily made for performance on the go and features a pair of i5 and i7 processors.
The i5 line features the 8250U and the 8350U, while the i7 is used in the 8550U and 8650U processors. These are all very similar in many ways – they all have four cores with eight threads and 15 watts of power. However, the 8250U has a 1.6GHz base frequency that can be boosted to 3.4GHz using Turbo Boost 2.0 while the the 8350U has a base of 1.7GHz and can be bumped up to 3.6 GHz. The i7s have a modest boost by default with 1.8 GHz for the 8550U and 1.9 for the 8650U, but can see gains up to 4.0GHz and 4.2GHz respectively using Turbo Boost 2.0. The U line is set to be used in tablets, 2 in ones, and laptops – primarily thin and light ones and not larger gaming-centric ones.
Intel is claiming that users will see up to 40% faster performance out of an 8th Gen i5 versus a seventh-gen equivalent, which should make business-centric users happy. This makes it easier to edit spreadsheets, documents, or presentations and if you have a daily workload filled with those things, this savings in time can be invaluable. For anyone who is self-employed or works as an independent contractor, being able to multi-task with great ease is a must. Content creators should also see major gains when it comes to editing photos and videos – although the claims of 48% do rely on a lot of variables, such as what you’re creating and editing and also what programs you’re using. Using a high-end program like Photoshop will naturally make things take a bit longer than a lighter-weight image editing program like Irfanview.
The 8th gen processors will still use integrated graphics — but they’re now rebranded as UHD Graphics and feature 4K playback for content creation and displays. This rise in 4K support comes at a perfect time too, with 4K TV prices dropping for those who want to use a television as their main display and 4K PC monitors are around and provide a better overall look depending on what you’re doing. Someone who is buying a new device primarily for living room gaming via Big Picture Mode or 4K Netflix streaming may want to use a 4K TV as their primary display device – but anyone who does serious video editing or content creation should definitely go with a monitor instead. They’re better-optimized for PC-related tasks that require staring at a screen for long periods of time and have better viewing angles that reduce eye strain.
The processors are also aiming to bring VR to a more accessible price point, with promised support in 2 in 1s meaning that we should see some super-light devices having VR support. Windows Mixed Reality headsets are set to be supported — so while things like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive won’t work on the lower end of the spectrum. Intel’s precise touch technology is set to make Windows Ink better with an increase in response time — so users who do a lot of graphic design and art-related tasks should benefit from it while those seeking more security will get two-factor security using the Online Connect system. Battery life is set to be about the same as it was before — with up to 10 hours being promised for things like video playback.
The first round of Intel 8th gen-powered devices are set to come to the market in September — so it won’t be long until we get to see real-world tests on these impressive specs. Desktop computers should see 8th gen processor inclusion later in the fall, with more devices supporting it down the line. Right now, Intel is going all-in when it comes to its new processors. This line should bring about better value for consumers — especially for those looking to upgrade years-old models. With the company making regular comparisons to five year old devices, now is a good time to upgrade for those looking to buy something either for a high school or college-bound kid or for their own use. Pricing on supported devices is key too — because if users have to fork over $800 or more right out of the gate to get this new technology, they will be more resistant to doing so.
Efficiency is really going to be the key improvement with the mixed reality headset support being mentioned – but not truly specified. That was something where they definitely went into detail about a benefit without offering up a lot of facts for the end user. While the U series will be the first set of 8th gen processors released, we’ll see greater options over time. The Y series will be used in detachable computers, whle the H series will be in higher-end laptops and the S series will play a part in value-oriented desktops, all-in-ones and the ever-expanding Mini PC market. With AMD raising their game and competing with Intel like never before with the Ryzen series, this is Intel’s chance to shine – they just need to make sure to partner with companies that produce durable devices that are built to last a reasonable period of time to ensure that customers associate their processors with quality products.