Intel typically comes out with one microprocessor every year. However, this appears not to be the case for this year as a tweet from Intel points out that the PCs that will ship later this year will either use the 14nm chip called Coffee Lake, or the upcoming 10nm chip called Cannon Lake.
While the Cannon Lake processor was shown off during Intel's press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, the Coffee Lake processor was a virtual unknown, until now. The 8th-generation processor follows three other generations of Intel processors that follow the 14nm process: Broadwell, Skylake, and Kaby Lake. The launch of this new chip signals the fact that the 14nm process will be sticking around for much longer.
Intel Coffee Lake Facing Stiff Competition From AMD
Having a high-performance PC chipset is an absolute essential for gaming and virtual reality users, and this idea is not lost on Intel. At an Investor Day event last week, the company confirmed its plans to launch the new processor on the second half of the year and promised a considerable 15 percent bump in performance compared to its current-generation chip, the Kaby Lake.
This news is something of a shock since Kaby Lake is still pretty much new in the market, and also because the company's road map last summer showed that Coffee Lake was supposed to launch in 2018.
The change could be due to the fact that Intel is facing a lot of competition from AMD and its Ryzen chip, which is expected to launch this March. It is expected that Coffee Lake will be equipped with a six-core CPU as part of its i7 lineup, which is something that is currently being used in the company's higher-tier product lines such as Xeon and Extreme Edition. On the other hand, Ryzen will have octa-, hexa-, and quad-core versions.
Intel's partners, Apple and Microsoft, are also experimenting with their own versions of ARM-based chips. Another rival could come in the form of mobile companies such as Qualcomm and Samsung. The two are expected to come up with their own version of a 10nm processor that will be featured in the highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S8.
Intel Coffee Lake's Market Positioning
It is interesting to note that Intel is coming out with two chips this year. It is believed that the Cannon Lake processor will be targeted toward the higher-end markets, while Coffee Lake will be used in the more mainstream desktops and notebooks. This "split" approach could prove to be useful as the company is not laying all of its eggs in the new and still unproven 10nm process.
— Intel Official News (@intelnews) February 9, 2017