Intel Whiskey Lake release date, news and rumors

 techradar.com  10/4/2018 8:45:28 PM  6  Bill Thomas

Intel Whiskey Lake has been officially launched, and it’s the latest line of 8th Generation mobile processors behind the next generation of laptops and 2-in-1 devices, but what do we know about it?

Let’s take things back to Computex 2018 real quick. Intel was all over the news, for its 28-core behemoth, but it also shared another key piece of information – that two new mobile-based microarchitectures would make their way to the public in the near future – Amber Lake Y-series and Whiskey Lake U-series

Now, why this called for two different microarchitectures is a mystery to us, but they’re both products of the third refinement of Skylake. These new chips will likely take Kaby Lake Refresh’s spot as the best processors for laptops and Ultrabooks. But, wait, weren’t there some Coffee Lake U-series processors announced back in April?

There totally were! However, we actually haven’t seen these chips in many laptops – most of the best laptops this year are still using either Kaby Lake Refresh U-series or Coffee Lake H-series chips. Still, the newly refreshed MacBook Pro 2018 is rocking Coffee Lake U-series chips.  

When Intel figures out how to fix its supply issues, Whiskey Lake will be behind some of the best Ultrabooks later this year and throughout 2019. Seeing as they include boost clocks up to 500MHz faster than Kaby Lake Refresh, we predict a Whiskey Lake revolution.

So, now that we finally have a ton of information to go off of, strap yourself in and bookmark this page – we’ll keep it updated with all the latest information.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Intel’s latest mobile microarchitecture 
  • When is it out? Fall 2018  
  • What will it cost? Depends on the laptop 

Manufacturers are already starting to list Whiskey Lake processors, so we can expect to see them in the wild later this year. Whiskey Lake has been officially announced by Intel, but there really wasn’t much fanfare surrounding the announcement. 

Going forward, we’re probably going to see plenty of new laptops with the new processors launching this fall – likely refreshes of some of the best Ultrabooks, like the HP Spectre x360, Dell XPS 13 and maybe even the Surface Laptop 2

However, thanks to some supply issues, we might have to wait a bit longer to see new laptops using Whiskey Lake chips. Devices like the MacBook 2018 may have to be pushed back to October or November to facilitate Intel’s product supply. 

Because Whiskey Lake is a mobile microarchitecture, it’s unlikely that the price of the actual chip will affect most consumers. For instance, the Intel Core i5-8250U is listed at $297 (about £225, AU$400) and the Intel Core i7 8550U at $409 (about £310, AU$551). However, these aren’t really public facing prices, and is rather what laptop manufacturers pay to include these chips in their laptops.

So, we’re getting 3 15W TDP U-series processors and 3 5W Amber Lake Y-series chips. With a Core i3 (or m3), i5 and i7 in either category, we can expect a pretty wide range of laptops starting at around $500 (around £389, AU$680)  for the m3 and i3 laptops, whereas Core i7-backed notebooks will be more expensive, likely around $1,000 (£760, AU$1,350). 

Either way, Whiskey Lake was just launched, so we’re sure we’ll see pricing for the laptops sporting these new processors in the very near future.

Specs

Intel introduced three Whiskey Lake processors, a Core i3, a Core i5 and a Core i7. The Core i5 and i7 are both four-core, eight-thread chips, much like their Kaby Lake R brethren, whereas the Core i3 still rocks two cores and four threads. Where they really set themselves apart is in their clock speeds. 

The stock clocks on the Core i5 and i7 are virtually the same as the Core i5-8250U and Core i7-8550U at 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz respectively. But Intel, has boosted the boost clocks for the Core i5-8265U and Core i7-8565U drastically – up to 4.6GHz and 3.9GHz, respectively.

We haven’t seen what this performance hike translates into RE: real world performance, but average users likely won’t notice a difference. However, this much of an increase in Turbo Boost speeds can back up Intel’s claim that Whiskey Lake can have up to a double-digit increase in performance over 7th-generation Kaby Lake processors.

As far as the integrated GPU goes, though, it looks like Intel is sticking with the Intel UHD Graphics 620 chip found in the Kaby Lake-R chips, so don’t expect vastly improved GPU performance with this new microarchitecture – even if Intel says gamers will be able to play games using just the integrated graphics.

What’s probably more noteworthy than clock speeds and GPU improvements, though is the fact that Intel has found a way to integrate 802.11 AC Wi-Fi into the PCH on Whiskey Lake processors. This functionality isn’t included in the Amber Lake Y-series chips, but Intel is offering discrete solutions for those fanless models – on top of eSIM support for laptop makers that want to build LTE modems into new laptops.

We’re sure we’ll get more information about how these new processors perform once we get our hands on laptops running them. So, until then, be sure to check back often, as we’ll add any information that comes our way.

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