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Intel’s 8th Generation processors are on the way, with lower-power variants arriving as soon as the second half of this year. News of the updated processor line, codenamed Coffee Lake, came recently at Intel's annual investor meeting. But other than an estimated launch time, details on the new processors are scant.
What we do know for sure is that this update will not bring 10-nanometer lithography to Intel’s popular line of chips. For that, eager high-performance users will have to wait for the Cannonlake series, ostensibly slated for release in mid-2018. 
Intel introduced 14nm architecture back in 2014 with its Broadwell series, and the company has been making incremental improvements to the design ever since. Its 7th Generation Core processors brought a 15 percent performance increase over the previous generation, and Intel says the 8th Gen Coffee Lake will offer a similar speed bump. 
That’s shown in the following graphic, part of a presentation given by Murthy Renduchintala, president of Intel’s client and IoT business and systems architecture group, during the company’s investor meeting last month:
Intel Core processor generations

Changing its strategy from previous CPU releases, Intel is expected to kick off the 8th Gen rollout by releasing new U-series and Y-series variants destined for laptops, 2-in-1 convertibles and mobile devices. This is a fast-moving market segment hungry for innovation in terms of portable power, lower power consumption and longer battery life.

We can expect to see 8th Gen processors show up in the marketplace in the first quarter of next year. These could include new 6-core Xeon chips destined for data centers and high-performance workstations with multiprocessor arrays. Standard desktop processors should be a part of that release, too, and will carry nomenclature such as Core i7-8000K.

What About 10nm?

Tech watchers have been waiting for Intel 10nm chips for quite some time now. Initial rumors indicated the new, smaller architecture might come as part of Intel’s 8th Gen release, but it was not to be.

Though Intel has not yet officially confirmed a release date, Cannonlake 10nm chips could arrive during the second half of 2018. This is likely to be what Intel calls a fluid release, meaning Cannonlake could be the first series to feature two chip sizes. In this case, the leaner, faster 10nm chips would find their way into enterprise-class hardware as well as high-end mobile devices. The remaining chips would be built on the current 14nm platform.

Intel knows the competition is closing in fast. Qualcomm recently unveiled its Snapdragon 835 chipset. Qualcomm also confirmed that Samsung has started building the new SoC (system on a chip) using its 10nm FinFET process.

For now, 14nm is the best the industry has to offer. The added performance that comes with Intel’s upcoming 8th Gen processors should make a compelling argument for upgrade aging infrastructure. Your clients on the threshold of a big purchase will have no shortage of options to consider.


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