Intel’s answer to AMD Ryzen 2 will be an 8-core Coffee Lake... but not for a while | PCGamesN

Intel’s answer to AMD Ryzen 2 will be an 8-core Coffee Lake... but not for a while

Intel Core i9 8800K

It seems Intel are preparing to go on the offensive against the upcoming AMD Ryzen 2 processors with their very own range of mainstream eight-core processors. Yes, an octacore Intel Coffee Lake CPU has been spotted lurking in the 3DMark database.

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With the second generation of AMD Ryzen chips set to launch in only a matter of weeks now it’s about time we started to hear a little bit more from Intel. They weren’t just going to let AMD launch a whole CPU range unchallenged, where they? And a mainstream eight-core / 16-thread Coffee Lake chip is surely their only real option to right now.

The listing on the 3DMark database is pretty light on details and pretty light on power too, if the minimal specs are to be believed, which makes us think this is a relatively early engineering sample being put through its paces. The initial report claims the CoffeeLake S82 UDIMM RVP is a recognised Intel testing platform, and given the low 2.2GHz clockspeed, and lack of any name or process information, the likelihood of it being early silicon is pretty high.

Which means this eight core Coffee Lake chip isn’t being introduced any time soon, so AMD may have some clear air for their Ryzen 2 chips for a while. If it was imminent we’d have expected to see these sorts of benchmarks being run by motherboard manufacturers in their own board, not Intel test platforms. 

Future Intel motherboards

And, from what our industry sources have told us, that kinda makes sense. We’re expecting the budget 300-series motherboards to be with us soon, but they’re not going to deliver the sort of platform you’d think would accompany a high-end CPU launch. That’s more what you’d expect from the touted Z390 chipset reveal.

That, we’re being told, is not going to happen until September or October this year. And as the Intel Z390 boards aren’t expected to provide anything above some extra native USB capabilities they desperately need some sort of hardware support to make them seem in any way worthwhile. No one would be upgrading to a Z390 board if there wasn’t a better reason than USB 3.1 gen2 support, but an eight-core i7 - or even Coffee Lake Core i9 - might just offer that.

And if AMD had some inkling that an eight-core Intel chip might be in the offing that might explain why a potential top-end Ryzen 7 2800X hasn’t been seen in any of the leaked benchmarks so far - they could well be keeping their absolute best Ryzen 2 chip in reserve.

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4 Months ago

The next few months will really be interesting to keep an eye on. AMD will be releasing Ryzen 2000 processors in just about 30 days, and Intel is going to have to come up with a compelling answer. So far leaked benchmarks of the new Ryzen 2700X shows around an 18% increase over the Ryzen 1700X. Ryzen 2000 series processors are being leaked as having 400Mhz factory clock speed bumps over Ryzen first generation. This is all very interesting because Intel hasn't really made a performance increase since Skylake. The IPC of Sky Lake, Kaby Lake, and Coffee Lake are the same. The only performance increases Intel has managed come from increased processor speed (i.e. factory overclocking the processors) and with Coffee Lake the introduction of more cores. I find this very interesting as Intel for years bashed AMD for needing to compete with high clock speeds and more cores, now its Intel who is doing the exact same thing to maintain their performance crown.

In most every review one can find no one ever downclocks an Intel system to the same clock speed of their Ryzen competitors (and sets the RAM to run at the same speed) so we can see clock per clock just how Intel stacks up to Ryzen. The reasoning has been "why do that, no one is going to buy an expensive Intel processor and downclock it", but now we can see how such a comparison would come into play with Intel preparing a 8 core 16 thread processor that will run at nearly the same clock speed as their Ryzen competition.

Intel is planning to combat Ryzen 2000 series with Coffee Lake 8 core 16 thread processors. With 8 cores and 16 threads it is highly unlikely those processors would be able to clock to 5Ghz (current generation Coffee Lake processors are already at thermal limit pushing 5Ghz), and the Coffee Lake refresh will most likely still be on their 14nm process. Therefore Coffee Lake processors will have to run at speeds probably not exceeding ~4.5Ghz. A Ryzen 2700X (or maybe even if they have a 2800X) running at 4.4 - 4.5Ghz vs an Intel Coffee Lake 8 core 16 thread processor running at ~4.5Ghz will be an interesting showdown. So far Ryzen 1800X processors have given their Intel competition a real challenge with only being able to clock to a maximum of 4.1Ghz, and Intel has had to push overclocks of 4.7 - 5Ghz (600 - 900Mhz greater than Ryzen) to achieve a performance advantage. While Intel will more than likely retain a slim gaming advantage (5 - 10fps), the Ryzen 2000 series processors should outperform their Intel competition at content creation (i.e. workstation tasks). With the fact that AMD processors have always had better pricing and price to performance Intel may have a really hard time selling their new Coffee Lake refresh. An expensive 8 core 16 thread 14nm processor vs a Ryzen 2700X (or 2800X?) on 12nm (with better power management and less heat issues) is going to be a hard sell if it can only manage 5 - 10 fps gaming advantage and be dominated in workstation tasks.