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.

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Acer Aspire Nitro 5 $749 (about £530, AU$980)
Sporting a faux carbon fiber lid, the Acer Nitro 5 will be one of the more affordable Intel 8th-gen H-series laptops available starting this month.

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Acer Aspire 7 – $849 (about £600, AU$1,110)
Meanwhile, Acer's more business facing Aspire 7 brings the same level of performance to a more professional device plus higher-tier Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti graphics.

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MSI GS65 Stealth – $1,799 (about £1,280, AU$2,350)
The MSI GS65 is fresh, more minimalistic take on the brand's classic Stealth series featuring an even thinner chassis and smaller bezels.

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MSI GT75 Titan – $2,399 (about £1,710, AU$3,120)
On the opposite end of the portability equation, the MSI GT75 Titan is one of the first of three gaming laptops to feature an Intel Core i9 processor for true overclocking potential.

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Asus ZenBook Pro UX550
The Asus ZenBook Pro UX550 is one of the thinnest laptops that will features an H-series Coffee Lake processor

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Asus ROG G703
The Asus ROG G703 pairs up the new Intel Core i9-8950HK processor with Nvidia GTX 1080 for unparalleled performance in a gaming laptop.

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Samsung Odyssey Z 15
The Samsung Odyssey Z 15  was one of the only wholy new gaming laptops we saw rocking Intel's new H-series Coffee Lake processors.

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HP Omen 15
The HP Omen 15 is not only of the brands first laptops to feature a hexa-core Intel Core processor, but also a Nvidia GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU.

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HP Omen 17
Featuring the same choices in processors, the HP Omen 17 also sports a larger 17.3-inch screen.

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Gigabyte Aero 15X - $1,999 (about £1,420, AU$2,610)
Sporting a new logo and 0.1-inch thinner design, the Gigabyte Aero 15X continues the series' tradition of being of the most affordable and potent gaming laptops in the world.

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Aorus X9 DT - $2,599 (about £1,850, AU$3,390)
The Aorus X9 DT is the last of the four laptops to feature Intel's Core i9 processor and to top it off this gaming laptop is equipped with a real mechanical keyboard and Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics.

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ASUS TUF FX504

(Image: © Joel Burgess)

ASUS TUF FX504 - From AU$1,599 (about £875, US$1,233)
ASUS is using Intel’s mobile chip launch to kick off a new range of laptops under its The Ultimate Force (TUF) branding. The TUF FX504 will be available from the end of April in Australia only, for the time being.  

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MSI GE73 Raider

(Image: © Joel Burgess)

MSI GE73 Raider - 1060 FHD AU$2,799 (about $1,529 US$2,149)

The update to MSI’s competitively priced GE gaming laptops, sees the full range of 17-inch models updated with new Core i7 mobile processors. All models are now available for pre-order globally. 

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.