Intel's Coffee Lake will bring six-core CPUs to the masses


Is Intel about to bring six-core CPUs into its mainstream processor offerings? Apparently so, although you'll have to wait till the year after next for them to arrive.

Yes, according to a leaked slide, Intel is bringing forth Coffee Lake (yet another 'lake' – and a particularly tasty sounding one) in 2018, and this will be based on a 14nm process and offer six-core beasts as well as the usual dual and quad flavors.

Previously, Intel has pushed out six-core CPUs, but only in the form of enthusiast models with wallet-damaging price tags. Obviously, mainstream offerings would be far more accessibly priced.

It's also worth noting that we were led to believe Kaby Lake processors – which have just started shipping to device manufacturers – were to be the last outing on 14nm, with Intel's new scheme of three releases (Broadwell, refinement to Skylake, final hurrah with Kaby Lake). But it seems that Coffee Lake will be the final, even further refined, take.

Cannonlake (which you may previously have heard referred to as Skymont) will be the first step down to 10nm and is still expected to kick off next year.

Skylake-X next year

ZDNet, which spotted these developments, also noted that Intel will have Skylake-X processors coming out in Q3 next year, and these will be the usual high-end exorbitantly priced offerings which come in six-core, along with eight and 10-core varieties.

One last thing worth noting with all these new chip families is that from Kaby Lake onwards, you'll need to be running Windows 10 in order to be able to use the CPUs. They won't be compatible with older versions of Windows, so if you're thinking of a processor upgrade in the future, that's certainly something to bear in mind.

In other words, if you don't pull the trigger for a free Windows 10 upgrade now – before the deadline which is set at the end of this month – you may end up paying for it later.

Meanwhile, AMD's Zen 14nm processors are expected to be unleashed in the final quarter of this year, and are expected to initially be offered in up to eight-core versions, hopefully bringing some more intense competition for Intel.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).