Intel Coffee Lake reviews, news, performance, and availability | PCGamesN

Intel Coffee Lake reviews, news, performance, and availability

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The Intel Coffee Lake processor range has expanded, with new six-core mobile CPUs, Desktop CPUs, and mobo chipsets expanding the eighth generation. There are even rumours of an eight-core, potential Core i9 in the works for sometime later in the year. So, what are these 8th Gen chips offering the previous 7th Gen ones couldn’t?

Intel's Coffee Lake chips have topped our guide to the best CPUs for gaming.

Intel Coffee Lake CPU reviews

Intel Coffee Lake laptop reviews

Intel Coffee Lake motherboard reviews

Intel Coffee Lake PC reviews

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Vital stats

  • Intel Coffee Lake release date
    Intel's latest desktop gaming CPUs launched October 5, 2017, with the mobile gaming chips arriving in April 2018. There's also a potential 8-core desktop chip - a Core i9 maybe - possibly arriving at the end of the year.
  • Intel Coffee Lake pricing and availability
    The top Core i7 starts at around $339 (£318), with the two Core i5s from back in October costing $250 (£222) and $179 (£160) respectively. The two i5 chips that launched in April cost $213 and $192.
  • Intel Coffee Lake specifications
    There are six six-core chips: two K-series and four 65W. The Core i7 8700K will top out at 4.3GHz, and the i5 8600K at 4.1GHz, all-core Turbo clockspeeds. There's also three four-core i3 chips finishing the lineup.
  • Intel Coffee Lake performance
    The single-core performance of Intel's new Coffee Lake chips makes them great gaming CPUs. And when you bring in the prospect of 5GHz+ overclocking that's going to make things tough for AMD's Ryzen.

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After less than a year of 7th Gen Kaby Lake processors, we've moved on to the 8th Gen, featuring Coffee Lake and Cannon Lake designs... as well as some lively refreshes.

There's even an 8th Gen chip sporting Radeon graphics silicon made by AMD. We're pretty confident that was one of Nostradamus' doom-laden prophecies foretelling the end of the world.

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And we have finally received mainstream motherboard chipsets that will give the non K-series processors a proper home. Up to now we've just had the high-end Z370 motherboards, which are mostly unnecessary for something like a cheapo Core i3 processor. Although a Z390 may still be your best option for the time being.

Intel unveiled the first 8th Gen Core CPUs back in August last year - these 15W chips are a set of ultra low-power Core i7 and Core i5 processors for super thin laptops, not the beefy desktop Coffee Lake CPUs some might have hoped for. They are still interesting little chips, if you want a quad-core 2-in-1 or ultrabook-style laptop. Intel have doubled the core count, and left HyperThreading turned on for both i7 and i5 variants, giving them both eight threads.

But now we’ve potentially completed the Coffee Lake desktop chip lineup, which are definitely more exciting than mobile processors, right?

Intel Coffee Lake Wafer

It might seem rather unusual for Intel to be retiring Kaby Lake so quickly, but there are a number of factors at play which are making this generation different from previous ones. For a start there is now increased competition in the CPU market from AMD’s Ryzen processors, but Intel are also struggling against the continual demand for CPU die shrinks and the increasing difficulty of making ever smaller transistors. 

So now we’re looking at another stop-gap processor generation based on the same basic architecture as Skylake and Kaby Lake, as well as the same lithography Intel have been using since the 2015 Broadwell designs. Indeed there are set to be Kaby Lake refreshes mixed in with the Coffee Lake and Cannon Lake chips too.

Intel’s old-school tick-tock release cadence - where they launched a new architecture on an old process before re-engineering it again for a smaller lithography - was retired because successive CPU generations were having to stick on a particular production process for longer periods of time. It was then replaced by a new release cadence they called Process>Architecture>Optimisation... which didn’t even make it through one cycle. Now it’s just Process>Architecture>Optimise>Obey>Submit.

So if it’s all essentially the same why should we care about Coffee Lake? Well, this time it’s all about the AMD-inspired increased thread-count and a six-core i5...

Intel Coffee Lake pricing and availability

Intel Core i5 8400

Thankfully stock is far more readily available for the vanguard of Intel's Coffee Lake CPUs than they were pre-Christmas - especially since the refreshed chips made it onto the shelves. It's almost the complete inverse of what's happening in the graphics card market. Though if AMD have their way then people are going to start jumping on the CPU crypto-mining bandwagon and start eating up processor stock too...

The Core i7 8700K starts at around $339 (£318), delivering the full six-core, 12-thread monty for a more reasonable price than it was hitting at the paper launch. There are also now four Core i5s, with the 8600K costing $250 (£222), the 8600 priced at $213, the 8500 priced at $192, and the mighty 8400 priced at $179 (£160).

A brand new i3 chip also accompanied the i5 chips in April - the i3 8300 priced at $138. We can also finally get our hands on the more cost-effective budget motherboard chipsets.

The mainstream Coffee Lake motherboard chipsets launched on April 3, 2018. The H370, B360, and H310 chipsets are now available, with the Z370 still sitting in the top spot. Did anyone say Z390?

Due to the long period of time between the initial October launch for Intel's Coffee Lake and the refresh in April, motherboard manufacturers have been creating some pretty budget-friendly Z370 boards. This has left the premium H370 boards in a bad spot, at least until prices for the mainstream and budget chipsets start to drop in the coming months.

Intel Coffee Lake specs

Intel Coffee Lake - 8th Gen Core CPU specs

Coffee Lake is the next 14nm CPU design after Kaby Lake, which Intel is calling 14nm++ in an attempt to make it seem different. What’s making the new generation relevant, however, is the fact they’re bringing six-core / 12-thread processors into high-end laptops and standard desktops for the first time. 

This is the big news for Coffee Lake: both the Core i7 and Core i5 ranges have a six-core CPU at the top. The Core i7 comes with six cores and 12 threads while the Core i5 version dodges HyperThreading and so is stuck with a straight six-core design.

That's rather exciting for us gamers because it means there’s a robust 14nm six-core part combining Intel's high-end single-threaded gaming performance with an extra two cores to give it decent multi-threaded chops too. Intel's resolutely quad-core K-series i5 from the Kaby Lake generation were able to either keep pace with, or beat AMD's six-core, twelve-thread Ryzen 5 1600X, so adding another couple of Intel cores to the mainstream mix gives Intel one hell of a gaming chip. 

There were four six-core Coffee Lake CPUs at launch: a pair of Core i7 chips, one a K-series and another non-overclockable variant, and another two six-core i5 CPUs. These were joined by two new six-core CPUs in April: the i5 8600 and i5 8500. The specs show a disappointingly low base clockspeed for all the chips, most especially the Core i5 8600K. Thankfully they have more acceptable all-core Turbo clockspeeds, especially when matched with a belligerent Asus Z370. The Core i7 8700K has a rated Turbo of 4.7GHz, which is rather stellar if we're able to hit that as a matter of course. Some motherboards, such as the MSI Z370 we used in our testing, will stick to Intel’s guidelines and only offer 4.3GHz and 4.1GHz all-core Turbo speeds for the i7 8700K and i5 8600K respectively.

Intel Coffee Lake die

There’s also two quad-core processors making their way into the budget-oriented Core i3 range too, the Core i3 8350K and Core i3 8300. The i3 8350K is essentially a Core i5 7600K with an almost budget price tag.

Somewhat frustratingly Intel have nixxed backwards compatibility for the Coffee Lake chips, meaning you can’t just drop an 8th Gen chip into your existing 200-series motherboard. Given the Z270 and Z370 platforms look almost identical quite why the 200-series won't support Coffee Lake remains unclear, though there are suggestions it's down to the Intel Management Engine providing remote support in the corporate environment. It doesn't look like the 300-series will be backwards compatible either.

 

Intel mobile Coffee Lake

Pentium and Celeron processors have also not been forgotten, with a pre-new-year release for the four- and two-core Gemini Lake chips and further budget Coffee Lake Pentium Gold and Celeron chips in April.

Last, but definitely not least, Enterprise recieved some fresh-faced vPro-capable Coffee Lake desktop processors in April - the power efficient 35W 'T' chips - with coinciding chipset, the Q370.

There will also be Cannon Lake chips coming later on, and potentially eight-core Coffee Lake CPUs, and that might hint at why the new chipset needs to be separated out from the last-gen 200-series. But, at the moment it's still all speculation on that front until we hear a definite yes or no from Intel. But hopefully that won't be long coming.

April also saw the launch of a handful of powerful high-end mobile CPUs. The top of the stack is the the six-core twelve thread Core i9 8950HK - marking the first i9 chip on mobile.

Following the i9 there's the two six-core Core i7 chips and two four-core Core i5s: the i7 8850H, i7 8750H, i5 8400H, and i5 8300H. All come with a 45W TDP.

Intel Core i9 8800K

Benchmark databases offer a wealth of pre-release notifications about upcoming hardware, and with the latest leak detailing what looks like an early engineering sample of an eight-core Coffee Lake chip. It looks like an engineering sample because it's running in what is reported to be an Intel test platform and the 3DMark results screen has no idea what lithography it's using or its TDP.

It does show a 2.2GHz clockspeed, which is also indicative of early silicon. That means it's likely not coming until around the end of the year... coincidentally that's when we're expecting to see the high-end Z390 chipset appear. Funny that.

Coffee Lake Core i9 anyone?

 

Intel 8th Gen mobile machines

Intel Coffee Lake performance

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The real headline grabber from the first Coffee Lake performance tests is the fact that you can easily get 5GHz+ frequencies out of both the K-series Core i7 and Core i5 parts. You don’t have to go crazy with liquid nitrogen or set the CPU voltage to dangerous levels to get there either, and the temperatures at those speeds shouldn’t frighten you either.

With that overclocked performance the Core i7 8700K is capable of outperforming the top AMD Ryzen CPU, the 1800X, despite the fact that it has two fewer cores than its main rival. The superior gaming performance was almost a given, but the fact it can match it for general multi-threaded performance too is seriously impressive.

It’s the same situation with the Core i5 8600K too. That’s able to match the multi-threaded performance of the similarly priced Ryzen 5 1600X, despite having half the thread count of the AMD processor. 

The problem for the two Coffee Lake K-series chips, however, is the fact that such CPU-intensive performance doesn’t matter one jot to us gamers. Even when they’re running at over 5GHz that doesn’t deliver them any extra gaming frame rates compared with the brilliant Core i5 8400.

That’s a straight six-core Coffee Lake chip, with no HyperThreading, no access to multiplier overclocking and gaming performance to rival anything on the market right now. Only the super CPU-heavy Civilization VI gives it any cause for concern. Even then, it matches the Kaby Lake Core i7 7700K benchmarks in everything from Cinebench to GTA V.

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________________________________________________

This page is regularly updated with all the latest news, rumours and information about Intel's Coffee Lake platform. Bookmark away and let us know what you think about the blue team's mainstream platform in the comments.

Click on the jump links below to get back up to the relevant sections sharpish.

 

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SkankwOn avatar0V3RKILL avatarB0GiE-uk- avatarAlberello avatarelites2012 avatarAnakhoresis avatar+20
SkankwOn Avatar
186
1 Year ago

Still rocking a Sandy Bridge 2500K clocked at 4ghz and I'm still yet to see any real reason to even consider upgrading. Zen does intrigue me though....

5
O Prwtos Avatar
3
11 Months ago

im still on the nehalem i7 920

2
Vlasec Avatar
6
6 Months ago

I upgraded from Phenom II X4 955 BE to Ryzen 7 1700. Quite a noticeable increase in performance. AMD deserves standing ovations for pulling off Ryzen. They caught Intel with pants down and with a fraction of their R&D budget, they created a CPU that made a revolution in what numbers 7, 5 and 3 mean in CPU naming.

2
O Prwtos Avatar
3
11 Months ago

altough my dad is using pentium 4 still lol

1
danwat1234 Avatar
5
11 Months ago

P4, what an energy guzzler!

2
Vlasec Avatar
6
6 Months ago

Unless he uses his PC only like five hours a week, I'd advise him to buy something newer with like 15-65W TDP. P4 has over 80W and I bet it doesn't go idle very often, being seriously underpowered today.

2
JMiles2 Avatar
114
2 Months ago

SkankwOn:

> "Still rocking a Sandy Bridge 2500K clocked at 4ghz and I'm still yet to see any real reason to even consider upgrading."

You just say that because you don't have the money to spend...

0
SkankwOn Avatar
186
2 Months ago

Presume all you like... I have a £1800 gaming laptop as well as my Desktop so ner. :p

1
0V3RKILL Avatar
298
1 Year ago

waiting for Zen this time around.

4
B0GiE-uk- Avatar
112
1 Year ago

Can't wait for Zen to kick Intel in the knackers!

4
Nopax Avatar
3
8 Months ago

After seeing such a performance boost i think i'll finally upgrade my i7 [email protected] 2.9Ghz that i bought back in 2009

i'm very happy that i managed to make a pc that lasted this long ^^

Lets hope that this 8th gen can manage to do the same thing

I am still somewhat divided.. the AMD uses more Pci lanes .. which should have better multithreading - i wonder if the next gen games will be optimized for them or not..

3
Vlasec Avatar
6
6 Months ago

Look at some tests with DX12 and Vulkan. I didn't see too much advantage for Intel in those. If someone goes for maximized build, I guess i7-8700K is a nice choice. For anything else tho, you save like $200 by getting Ryzen 7 1700 that has pretty much equal multi-threaded performance and lower power consumption. Or R5 1600 if you are on a budget.

2
JMiles2 Avatar
114
2 Months ago

Streetguru:

> "For anything else tho, you save like $200 by getting Ryzen 7 1700 that has pretty much equal multi-threaded performance"

A Ryzen 7 1700 scores 13,750 with 8 cores on cpubenchmark (13,750/8=1,719 per core), while a 8700K scores 16,139 with only 6 cores, which is a score of 16,139/6=2690 per core.

So not only does the 6 core score substantially better than the 8 core Ryzen 7 1700, when you look at the score per core the Ryzen 7 1700 is nowhere near what you consider "pretty much equal multi-threaded performance", quite the opposite actually.

1
raymond.caron Avatar
7
2 Months ago

The 8700k is an overclocked overheated CPU that most likely has a short shelf life due to that. It also isn't worth spending an arm and a leg on a new Intel motherboard when you can get one for Ryzen and then swap out the CPU in 2020 for a 7nm Ryzen.... Something that Intel can't do.. You know the upgrading a CPU and moving to a smaller node... Intel can't do that with their massive CPU's.

AMD's CPU's are so cheap, they made it the single most cost effective manner to upgrade a computer. Swap out the CPU. And here you are telling people to buy something huge, slow, expensive, with absolutely no chance to updgrade in the future.

Intel isn't only the more expensive choice, it's the slower choice.

1
Streetguru Avatar
15
7 Months ago

The Ryzen chips at most price points have better multi-threading, especially the closer they get to 4ghz. And the motherboards are currently cheaper, just need to know which to get at around $70.

Ryzen is still the far better value overall, I don't think it's worth losing a 6c/12t chip at the same cost as a 6c chip just for about 10fps sometimes.

1
Carlos Dang3r Avatar
1
5 Months ago

I just built a new system with an 8700K. Like you, I've been using my first gen i7-860 since 2010. What a beauty of a chip that was. Paired with 16 GB of DDR3 and a GTX 1060 6 GB, that i7-860 still ran modern games smoothly.

1
Alberello Avatar
3
1 Year ago

This mean that AM4 socket will be replaced by AM4+ after only one year?

1
[UDFL] gÜd Avatar
3
8 Months ago

nope, AMD Ryzen+ (12nm) will still run on AM4, the 7nm Ryzen 2 will be on a diff socket ( Lisa might come up with a way to chuck it in the same socket haha!).

3
elites2012 Avatar
2
1 Year ago

the last intel chip i bought was a pentium 166mmx. when intel stops dicking people around with the uber high prices, then thats when ill maybe switch. so for now ill stick to being 10-25 % slower than intel. ass long as i can get 70+ fps

1
Anakhoresis Avatar
677
1 Year ago

If there's a 6 core 6 thread i5 for a reasonable-ish price, then it seems like you can assume there will be a 6 core 12 thread i7 for a reasonable-ish price as well, I would think. And this would force people to start investing more into multi-threading too.

1
grndzro4645 Avatar
2
11 Months ago

Sorry but I don't want ocean front property in Arizona.

30%...More like 5%

1
danwat1234 Avatar
5
11 Months ago

Yeah right... Intel'd be lucky to get 7% more performance clock for clock. Excited for the 6-core laptop chip(s) from Intel and 8-core from AMD.

1
danwat1234 Avatar
5
11 Months ago

So, the Coffee Lake chips aren't that much faster than a Ryzen... so probably very little clock for clock performance increase vs Kaby Lake... bleh

1
Dave James Avatar
616
11 Months ago

Yeah, they're claiming a 30% perf increase, but that was only linked to the ULP mobile cores not the desktop ones. Though it will be interesting how they price the i5 hex-core, if that runs at 5GHz it could be a gaming monster.

2
boe_d Avatar
8
10 Months ago

I'd just like more PCIe slots without buy a server motherboard with obsolete tech.

1
Scritty Avatar
2
9 Months ago

You do know these are early engineering samples right? These clockspeeds are probably significantly lower on engineering samples than they will be on the finished chip? That's pretty standard practice. These chips are so motherboard manufacturers and other third parties can get their specs right. An upgrade is vital for my 4670 as I tend to play CPU intensive games rather than eye candy games and I've topped out to a lag in games like Dwarf Fortress, Factorio, Prison Architect, Stonehearth as well as some of the 4X games I like to play on large/giant map sizes. My old 4670 is really struggling and a chip that clocks close to 5 Ghz with a good IPC is now vital

1
Lse123 Avatar
1
7 Months ago

In a kaby lake i7 7700 PC... can I change/replace processor to coffee lake i7 8700... ?

1
Iluv2raceit Avatar
10
7 Months ago

No, you can not. Coffee Lake uses an all-new 1151 socket that utilizes different voltages. You will be required to buy a new Z370 motherboard if you want to upgrade to Coffee Lake. At least you will be able to reuse your DDR4 ;-)

0
Streetguru Avatar
15
7 Months ago

You cannot, but there's really no reason to upgrade from that CPU for gaming.

0
Streetguru Avatar
15
7 Months ago

Your temperature chart is completely pointless since you didn't test it with the stock cooler. I also don't think I saw how you're measuring your power draw.

Not sure how you can really recommend it over Ryzen, you do get slightly more fps in some games yes, at the cost of not having a 6c/12t chip at the same price point, currently even cheaper because Ryzen can work and even OC on $70 motherboards, meaning you can close that gap a bit, and still maintain the far better multi-threaded performance, and possibly longer lasting platform.

Should have also likely included the R5 1400.

May be a double post.

1
theicewind Avatar
1
3 Months ago

Also - very much looking forward to mobile coffeelake. It's long overdue.

1
cowboy44mag Avatar
2
2 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.

1
zno3 Avatar
1
1 Month ago

If you can use skylake motherboard i would try going budget gaming with this, so im going ryzen instead

1
possem Avatar
1
8 Months ago

Stupid review, the elephant in the room is the fact that the RRP is meaningless. The fact is, the Intel i7 7700K is currently available for £222 from amazon. This is massively cheaper than the suggested RRP of the 8700k. Therefore unless the 8700k is discounted from launch, the 7700k is still a far superior value proposition and there is no comparison - contrary to the suggestion that 8700k would offer an alternate proposition at a 'similar' price point - No.

0
Twitch.Tv/Bluehound17 Avatar
4
7 Months ago

Lol , you’re the one who’s stupid, of course they will lower the price of the 7700k , because new line up is coming out, what they meant by “similar price point” is back when the 7700k was first released not the current price, and is $50 a real big deal to you? Then you should stick with AMD lol.

1
theicewind Avatar
1
3 Months ago

"But now we’ve got the first Coffee Lake desktop chips, which are definitely the more exciting ones, right?"

NO! stop making such a big deal about desktop processors. If we see statistics, people buy laptops 3-4 times more often than desktops. And even doubling the core amount isn't enough to get their attention? so sick of this

0