Computex 2018 | Intel celebrates 40 years of the x86 architecture with the 8th generation Core i7-8086K Limited Edition processor

The 8th gen Intel Core i7-8086K is now official. (Source: The Verge)
The 8th gen Intel Core i7-8086K is now official. (Source: The Verge)
Intel is celebrating 50 years of its existence and 40 years since the first x86 processor, the 8086, debuted and is introducing the 8th generation Core i7-8086K Limited Edition CPU to commemorate these milestones. The Core i7-8086K is a 6-core 12-thread part that can overclock to a 5 GHz single-core boost out of the box making it a compelling option for gamers and content creators.

It's finally here. After months of speculation, Intel has made the 8th generation 'Coffee Lake' Core i7-8086K official. The Core i7-8086K is special for both Intel and end-users. For Intel, the Core i7-8086K is a commemoration of 40 years of the x86 architecture whereas for the end-users this CPU aims to be a performance behemoth. 

It all started with the debut of the 8086 microprocessor about 40 years ago in June 1978. The development of the 8086 was a milestone in computer history. Working from a rented facility on Walsh Avenue in Santa Clara, Intel wanted the 8086 to be the first 16-bit CPU in the market and was targeting an aggressive timeline of 18 months — from design to shipment. While initial sales lagged, Intel's new marketing campaign codenamed 'Operation Crush' helped boost sales by conveying to clients the capabilities and benefits of the new chip. Soon, the 8086 processor and the x86 architecture on which it was based became the de facto computing standard of the industry.

That was the time when a 3-micron die size and 5 MHz clock was considered revolutionary. Fast forward to June 2018 and we now have a 14nm++ 6-core 12-thread 4 GHz clock chip in the form of the Core i7-8086K. This is the first Intel CPU to feature a 5 GHz single-core turbo boost out of the box (300 MHz increments in both base and turbo speeds over the Core i7-8700K) with the all-core turbo expected to be around 4.6 GHz. The frequency bumps are not too drastic as the Core i7-8086K is essentially just a top-end binned Core i7-8700K having the same TDP at 95W. The higher frequency should help in speeding up single-threaded applications and should especially please gamers and content creators. Apparently, Intel is still using thermal paste for the heat spreader so it is likely that retailers could offer delidded chips with custom heat spreaders.

Those holding off from upgrading to the Core i7-8700K might want to look at the Core i7-8086K when it becomes available on June 8 12.01 AM PDT — the exact date on which the 8086 was made available 40 years ago. But you might have to hurry up as the Core i7-8086K will be made only in limited quantities. Intel is, however, running a sweepstakes and is giving away 8,086 Core i7-8086K chips to winners. More details about entry into the sweepstakes are available here.

The Intel 8086 microprocessor. (Source: Intel)
The Intel 8086 microprocessor. (Source: Intel)
The Intel 8086 die. (Source: Intel)
The Intel 8086 die. (Source: Intel)


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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2018-06- 5 (Update: 2018-06- 5)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.