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July 18, 2017

Intel could launch 8th-gen CPUs as early as this year, starting with new i5s

by John_A

Why it matters to you

If the rumors prove true, Intel’s low-power, high-performance chips could help ultra-mobile laptops give full-sized computers a run for their money.

Retail listings for an upcoming refresh of the Acer Swift 3 suggest that Intel may have plans to release a new line of low-power quad-core i5 processors before the end of the year.

According to PC Perspective, the retail listings state clearly that the processor is a quad-core Intel Core i5-8250U. That model number suggests it’s not just a new quad-core i5, but a new 8th-generation processor.

Intel’s latest processors, the 7th-generation or “Kaby Lake” models, came out in 2016, but the 8th-gen designation on the i5-8250U is a little misleading. Intel’s processor roadmap for 2017 reportedly illustrated the company’s plans to release “Kaby Lake-R” processors in the second half of 2017, so this new quad-core i5 processor might not be the same leap we saw from the 6th-generation to the 7th-generation. It’s more of a refinement, than a brand-new generation, despite its label.

So what’s the big deal, if it’s just a new processor coming out right on schedule? Well, according to stats Benchlife dug up, this new Core i5-8250U has some very interesting properties.

Namely, it’s a very low power quad-core chip, which means you’d end up getting some great multi-tasking performance without nearly as much heat buildup or power consumption. That means more horsepower, without cutting into battery life.

Not only does this new processor offer quad-core performance in a lower-power package, it does so with hyperthreading. So those four cores can actually emulate eight cores, giving you some seriously impressive performance in a very lightweight package.

After doing some digging, PC Perspective found a number of results in the Geekbench database for the i5-8250U, from upcoming laptops like the Dell XPS 13 9360. According to the Geekbench results, the i5-8520U with hyperthreading is capable of outperforming a current generation i5-7200U in multi-core performance by about 54 percent.

Its single-core performance is about the same, though, so it’s a boost you’ll only notice when you’re doing some serious multi-tasking or running processor-intensive applications. Still, it’s an impressive leap forward for a low-power chip. And it’s just further proof that ultra-mobile laptops really are slated to give their full-sized cousins a run for their money in the near future, as the performance gap between them gets slimmer and slimmer.

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