Intel Coffee Lake release date, news and features

Update: Intel has just announced that the precursor to Coffee Lake, the Kaby Lake X series of 7th generation Core processors, will go on pre-order starting next week on the E3 2017 stage.

Fourth time’s the charm. At least that seems to be Intel’s contention with its upcoming fourth generation of chips to be based on the 14nm manufacturing node and 8th generation of Core processors altogether. 

After finally releasing the 7th generation, or Kaby Lake, Core processors unto the world late last year, the Santa Clara chipmaker tweeted that its 8th-generation Coffee Lake chips would – contrary to popular belief – harbor performance 15% better than their predecessors.

Despite abandoning the “tick-tock” formula, wherein Intel would come out with a redesigned chip known as the “tick” and then shrink the die the following year for a so-called “tock”, there are still huge gains to be had from the 14nm fabrication process. Perhaps Moore’s Law subsists after all?

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Intel's 8th-generation 14nm Core processor
  • When is it out? The second half of autumn 2017
  • What will it cost? Likely as much as current Kaby Lake CPUs

Intel Coffee Lake release date

After stating back in February that Coffee Lake would surface in the latter half of the year, Intel reassured us the validity of its claim at Computex 2017 held in Taipei, Taiwan. According to industry whiz Paul Thurrott via Thurrot.com, Intel will have more to say on the matter later on in 2017. 

What’s more interesting is what the company had to say about its 10nm die shrink. Originally expected to launch alongside Coffee Lake, Intel quietly mentioned at Computex that we won’t see chips based on the 10nm manufacturing process until 2018 at the earliest. Codenamed “Cannonlake”, we’ve been hearing about this silicon for the past three years. 

While it previously seemed like Intel would introduce a simultaneous product launch – Cannonlake alongside Coffee Lake – that no longer appears to be the case. Instead, if reports from ExtremeTech posted back in April (which should, mind you, be taken with a large grain of salt) are to be believed, we can expect Intel’s 8th-gen processors in August. 

Intel Coffee Lake price

Arguably the most elusive aspect of Coffee Lake is its pricing. For now, we don’t have much to base our speculation on aside from current market trends sanctioned by AMD Ryzen and Intel Kaby Lake.  

Prior to Intel’s Computex showing, some outlets, such as PCWorld, were suggesting that Intel Coffee Lake processors would be implemented in “mainstream” laptops and PCs. Meanwhile, Cannonlake would be reserved exclusively for luxury devices such as Ultrabooks, which typically see lower sales margins overall. 

That’s no longer the case seeing as Cannonlake was pushed back to 2018, meaning we’ll probably see Coffee Lake processors from every end of the computing spectrum. Depending on a few factors (e.g. brand, modifier, product line), there will undoubtedly be a broad selection of Intel Coffee Lake processors spanning a gamut of different budgets.

Buying an Intel Kaby Lake processor on its own will, as of this writing, set you back anywhere from $42 (£39, AU$66) to $350 (£415, AU$469) while Ryzen processors range from $168 (£158, AU$245) to $499 (£500, around AU$650). 

Intel Coffee Lake specs

As spotted by Wccftech, many of the Coffee Lake processors of the Intel Core variety have already been leaked by the Sisoftware database, albeit at a preliminary level. Unfortunately, however, the SKU numbers and product lines haven’t been made clear. 

All we know as of right now is a) that these processors are both unlocked, presumably “K” variants of the Core i5 and i7 branding and b) a bunch of specs that are mostly arbitrary given the circumstances. Nevertheless, they are as follows:

8th-generation Intel Core i5:

  • 3.5GHz base clock
  • 3.5GHz boost clock
  • 6 cores, 6 threads
  • 1.5MB L2 cache (256KB per core)
  • 9MB L3 cache
  • Likely LGA 1151 socket support

8th-generation Intel Core i7:

  • TBD base/boost clock speeds
  • 6 cores, 12 threads
  • 1.5MB L2 cache (256KB per core)
  • 12MB L3 cache
  • Likely LGA 1151 socket support

As a refresher, these are the specs of the flagship Kaby Lake processors these leaked CPUs are, in all probability, about to succeed:

7th-generation Intel Core i5-7600K:

  • 3.8GHz base clock
  • 4.2GHz boost clock
  • 4 cores, 4 threads
  • 1MB L2 cache (256KB per core)
  • 6MB L3 cache
  • LGA 1151 socket support

7th-generation Intel Core i7-7700K:

  • 4.2GHz base clock
  • 4.5Ghz boost clock
  • 4 cores, 8 threads
  • 1MB L2 cache (256KB per core)
  • 8MB L3 cache
  • LGA 1151 socket support

As you can tell, there are a lot of improvements in tow, mainly in the amount of cores and threads per core that we’re seeing in early Coffee Lake leaks. Still, it’s unclear how much will change given the marked upgrades in Intel’s marketing rhetoric. 

Although, as we stated earlier, Intel dubbed Coffee Lake’s performance 15% greater than that of Kaby Lake, the company has since gone on to say that its 8th-gen processors are more than 30% more powerful than those which preceded it. 

That number derives from Intel’s own SYSmark 2014 v1.5 benchmark testing on Windows 10 where a Coffee Lake-based Core i7 quad-core CPU with a boost clock of 4GHz was pitted against the current-gen Core i7-7500U dual-core processor whose base/boost clock speeds are rated at 2.7GHz/3.5GHz, respectively.

It should be noted that whatever chip was being used in this isolated scenario is – like the Intel Core i7-7500U – a mobile, 15Watt processor that could, theoretically, be used in future iterations of the MacBook Pro or the best-in-class Dell XPS 13.

Though we now know more than ever about Intel’s forthcoming 8th-generation Coffee Lake CPUs, there’s still a ton of news to come. So, return to this page periodically for in-depth  coverage of the latest Intel Coffee Lake rumors and reveals.