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Intel’s 9th Gen HyperThreaded i5s could steal the show from 8-core i7 chips

Intel Coffee Lake die

Even more information surrounding Intel’s ninth generation has leaked just one day after the massive leak of processors we saw yesterday. Chinese website HKEPC report that they have spoken with an unnamed Taiwanese motherboard manufacturer who has subsequently spilled the beans on the upcoming 9th Gen Cannon Lake microarchitecture.

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While we still don’t have all the details, according to this leak, Intel are upgrading their top i7 range from six-core/12-thread, to eight-core/16-thread with Cannon Lake. This will also see Intel upgrade their core i5 and i3 chips to feature Hyperthreading, which would bring these processors up to core parity with AMD’s Ryzen.

Supposedly, these will be manufactured on the 10nm lithography due to the continued Cannon Lake nomenclature, yet this contradicts earlier leaks that lightly imply a continuation of 14nm++(+?). It seems that Intel may be yet again gearing up to a mixed architecture generation, similar to the approach we saw with the eighth generation. This may lead to multiple microarchitectures, such as Coffee Lake and Cannon Lake, encompassed within the ninth generation.

If this all comes to pass, then the Core i5 range may have a six-core/12-thread processor in its midst, and the i3 range with full four-core/eight-thread processors. This could definitely shake up the best processors for gamers down the line, especially with Intel’s strong single-core performance. Of course, these cores may come at a cost… but we were pleasantly surprised this wasn’t the case, at least not by much, with the bump in cores with Coffee Lake processors.

Intel 10nm Cannon Lake wafer

Intel may be looking to take the spotlight from AMD’s Pinnacle Ridge launch with their Coffee Lake refresh chips, which is looking to launch early next year. Subsequently, Intel may then be aiming their 9th Gen chips in the second half of 2018, alongside their mysterious Z390 chipset.

Another recent leak alluded to a Core i9 making its way to the laptop space, and while Intel have seemingly no issue cannibalising their own enthusiast high-end range, it still seems unlikely that an i9 processor for desktop will grace the shelves under the non-enthusiast 300-series branding, rather than the enthusiast X299. Intel have for a long time been in a position to market ‘the world’s only enthusiast laptop processor’, and that is a marketing line Intel surely cannot refuse with their next possible mobile venture.

It seems Intel are gearing up to take AMD and their dastardly high-core count processors on head-to-head throughout 2018, although these last few leaks have been far from bulletproof so far – it doesn’t help that Intel’s mixed architecture generations are adding a dose of confusion into the mix. With Pinnacle Ridge expected as a Ryzen refresh early in the year, Intel certainly have their work cut out for them in the new year.