The Intel Coffee Lake refresh is here, with 6-core mobile chips and mainstream mobos

Gigabyte Aero 15W performance

The Intel Coffee Lake generation of processors has just had its first major update since its lightweight launch back in October last year. Some might even say paper-light… Along with a handful of new desktop processors, we’ve got new high-end gaming laptop CPUs, and, finally, the full range of motherboard chipsets.

Check out our pick of the best CPUs for gaming right now.

Arguably the most interesting of these new launches are the six-core mobile Coffee Lake processors. Along with those extra cores, Intel are also introducing the first Core i9 CPU to ever grace the laptop world. Before you get too excited, the Core i9 8950HK isn’t some 18-core monster processor; it’s just one of the three six-core chips they’re launching with this release.

But it does come with a healthy 4.8GHz maximum clockspeed, though there are obviously caveats to that headline-grabbing frequency. That’s the single core max turbo speed – Intel won’t say what it will hit as an all-core limit – and that’s achieved using the new Thermal Velocity Boost feature which seems to sit on top of the Turbo Boost 2.0 tech.

It looks like Intel’s analogue to AMD’s XFR tech, allowing the mobile Core i9 processor another 200MHz of single-core boost if the laptop architecture provides the extra thermal headroom needed to hit such heights.

The previous top-end Intel mobile chip was the Core i7 7920HQ, a Kaby Lake generation quad-core, eight-thread design which only had a maximum boosted speed of 4.1GHz. Pack in the extra cores you get with the Core i9, as well as the the two Core i7 hexcores, and you’re looking at genuine performance boosts for all the high-end Coffee Lake mobile parts.

That said, gaming is still not going to see a huge hike in performance with these new six-core chip. We’ve tested the new GIgabyte Aero 15W, with the Core i7 8750H, and despite a higher clockspeed, and two extra cores, it’s gaming performance is almost identical to the original Aero 15 machine. Though, as you’ll see in our review later, it’s still an impressive overall upgrade and one of my favourite ever gaming laptops.

Asus ROG Strix H370-F Gaming performance

Intel have also fleshed out the desktop Coffee Lake processor range, with three new standard chips – Core i5 8600, i5 8500, and i3 8300 – and a host of new low-power variants of the existing lineup.

Along with those new mainstream chips we’re also, finally, seeing the release of the mainstream motherboard chipsets.

Though, in all honesty, they’re a little too much and a little too late. At launch the H370 boards, and some B360s, are more expensive than the budget-oriented Z370 motherboards manufacturers were forced to create because Intel had delayed the full chipset lineup. Fingers crossed prices for the supposedly affordable lower-spec motherboards drop soon after today’s launch.