Intel Core i9, Coffee Lake and Optane: all about Intel’s newest processors for laptops

Intel Core i9

Intel is poised to continue its dominance of the mobile computing world in 2018 with the release of new Coffee Lake H-series and U-series Intel Core processors, Core i9 CPUs for laptops, and Intel Optane taking over mobile memory.

All three new types of product are designed to give Intel what it needs to deliver top-tier performance for every laptop price point, purpose and form factor – and based on Intel’s promises and early hands-on time with several of these 8th-generation and Core i9 laptops, Intel seems well on its way to delivering.

Starting with the fun stuff, Intel Core i9 brings the firm’s most powerful CPU into the mobile space. The one and only Core i9 processor is the i9-8950HK, clocked at 2.9GHz and maxing out at 4.8GHz across its six cores and 12 threads. The processor has a relatively massive 12MB cache, and is unlocked for overclocking.

Clearly, the idea with this processor is to bring desktop, hexa-core power to gaming laptops and prosumer devices. Laptops we’ve seen already that possess this power include the Asus ROG G703, Aorus X9 DT and MSI GT75 Titan.

Better performance for all

Unlike the laser focus on enthusiast gaming of Core i9 on mobile, Intel looks for its Coffee Lake H- and U-series to improve upon the experiences of all gamers and general users, respectively.

The H series of Intel Core processors brings hexa-core design to Intel Core i7 chips for the first time in the i7-8850H with a 2.6GHz clock speed that boosts to 4.3GHz when needed with a 9MB cache in tow. These hexa-core CPUs should make managing multiple units in strategy and other similar games much more efficient.

Intel’s Coffee Lake U-series, however, simply doubles down on the power of 8th-gen Kaby Lake R with more quad-core chips that range in clock speed from 2.3GHz to 3.0GHz and cache size from 4MB to 8MB. By Intel’s measure using a Core i5-8400U processor, this chip is 2.5x more responsive and 2.1x faster in office productivity tasks than a five-year-old system. The new U-series also integrates updated Iris Plus graphics.

To make those gains feel even greater, Intel has brought its Optane high-speed memory to laptops through both direct Optane SSDs, like the Optane SSD 800p, as well as Optane hybrid drives for disk drives paired with SSDs. According to Intel, the gains amount to 1.3x performance improvement in data writing and retrieval-related tasks, and 4.7x faster level loading in games.

Intel hasn’t laid out pricing expectations for any products containing these new processors or storage improvements, leaving that up to individual device makers. Expect to see laptops with these new processors inside laptops priced from around $500 / £400 / AU$650 starting very soon.

Joe Osborne

Joe Osborne is the Senior Technology Editor at Insider Inc. His role is to leads the technology coverage team for the Business Insider Shopping team, facilitating expert reviews, comprehensive buying guides, snap deals news and more. Previously, Joe was TechRadar's US computing editor, leading reviews of everything from gaming PCs to internal components and accessories. In his spare time, Joe is a renowned Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master – and arguably the nicest man in tech.