Unnamed 8-core Intel Coffee Lake-S spotted in 3DMark database, Z390 chipset on the anvil
While Ryzen 2 will hog a sizeable share of the limelight this year, Intel is not the one to sit back and watch. We have been expecting mainstream 8-core CPUs from Intel for quite some time and looks like 'Coffee Lake-S' (CFL-S) will be Intel's answer to AMD with regard to higher core counts for mainstream CPUs. An unnamed eight core CPU was spotted in Futuremark's 3DMark database by Videocardz and going by the information therein, it is most likely to be the 8-core CFL-S CPU we've been anticipating.
The 3DMark listing shows an 8 core 16 thread CPU clocked at 2.20 GHz. The indicated speed could be a base clock but does raise an eyebrow as it looks to be somewhat on the lower side. The motherboard is recognized as an Intel CoffeeLake S 82 UDIMM RVP board indicating that this could be an engineering sample. Apparently, the board's firmware is also not updated to reflect the CPU's actual name.
The intriguing aspect of CFL-S is its intended position in Intel's plans for 2018 and beyond. We've been hearing about 'Ice Lake' and 'Cannon Lake' and Intel's ultimate move to the 10nm fabrication process.The hexa-core Intel Core i7-8700K is the current reigning CPU in the 'Coffee Lake-S' family and that is fabricated using a 14nm process. Cramming in 4 extra cores should mean that Intel is gunning for a 10nm process keeping in mind the thermals and power. That means the 8-core CFL-S actually could come under the 9th generation 'Ice Lake' family. However, if Intel decides to place the 8-core CFL-S under 'Cannon Lake', it will continue to be part of the 8th generation. We should have more clarity on the positioning towards launch time later this year.
The news of new 8-core chips also signals the impending arrival of the much anticipated Z390 chipset-based motherboards. According to a leaked roadmap, we should expect to see Z390 boards arrive sometime in H2 2018. The Z390 is the successor to the enthusiast Z370 platform. While the new 8-core CFL-S chips are expected to sport the same LGA 1151 socket as the 'Kaby Lake' counterparts, they will require an upgrade to a Z390 board, presumably to satisfy additional electrical lane requirements. Enthusiast notebook maker Eurocom is also apparently looking to incorporate the Z390 chipset in their laptops.
While the 3DMark listing is not comprehensive and is in fact erroneous, there are tell tale signs that Intel does not like conceding the high core count mainstream CPU market to AMD. Right now, Intel's higher core offerings are confined to the HEDT segment with the 8C/16T configuration being seen on the 'Skylake X' Core i7-7820X. The Ryzens, on the other hand, have been offering superior multi-core performance at more affordable prices, thereby endearing them to the mainstream desktop market.
Intel will, therefore, look at more ways than one to take back its slice of the pie.