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Leaky benchmarks show that Intel is replacing hyperthreading with i7 chips



Enlarge / 8th Generation Coffee Lake Processor

Mark Walton

While Intel's naming scheme for its processors is often described as "dull", there were some patterns that the company had knows seemed to follow. For desktop processors, i7 branding refers to hyperthreaded chips that execute two threads on each core. i5 branded components had the same number of cores but with hyperthreading disabled. In turn, i3 parts had fewer cores than i5 parts, but again with hyperthreading enabled. The eighth generation chips have changed this pattern a bit ̵

1; the desktop i3s have no hyperthreading, only a few cores – but the relationship between i5s and i7s persisted.

It looks like the next batch of Intel processors, presumably branded ninth generation, will further shake this situation. Benchmarks in the SiSoft Sandra database include a Core i7-9700K processor. This increases the core count from the current six cores in the 8th generation Coffee Lake parts to 8 cores, but, although it's an i7 chip, it does not seem hyperthreading available. Its base clock speed is 3.6 GHz, peak turbo is 4.9 GHz, and it has 12 MB of cache. The price is expected to be around the same level of $ 350 as the current i7s of the top class.

For the chip, which will be on top of the i7-9700K in its product range, Intel is expanding its use of its initially reserved i9 branding for the high-end X-Series desktop platform. The i9-9900K will be an eight-core, 16-threaded processor. This increases the cache to 16 MB and the peak turbo to 5 GHz – and the price up to $ 450.

Under the i7s i5s with six cores and six threads and below, i3s with four cores and four threads

Even without hyperthreading, the new i7s should be faster than the old i7s. An eight-core portion will be faster than the four-core / eight-thread chips a few generations ago and generally should also be faster than the six-core and twelve eighth-generation chips. The maximum clock speeds are slightly higher than the 8th generation chips. Nonetheless, this change in branding suggests that Intel has no room for maneuver. The 6th, 7th, 8th and next generation 9th generation processors (except for a few rare parts of the 8th generation) use cores that are close to the Skylake design, with each new generation slightly increasing clock rates and core numbers , But both seem to be close to their limits. The changes in the clock speed are usually negligible 100 or 200 MHz, and also the increase in the core numbers is of limited value. The benefit of the extra cores (or threads) is greatly reduced for most mainstream users, and although Intel has designs with more than eight cores, these are Skylake SP and Skylake X parts; They use a different jack, they have a very different internal layout (the cores are arranged in a grid instead of a ring), and they do not contain a built-in GPU.

Intel's 10nm manufacturing process and future core designs may be able to provide greater generation improvement, but the latter depend on the former, and the former is not expected to enter mainstream production by next year.


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