Update: Intel has made a video replay of its Intel Core i9 and vPro launch event in Beijing here - the video is embedded below as well.
After years of incremental updates that still see years old Wintel-based computers in use with owners in not too much of a hurry to upgrade, AMD's surprise attack on Intel with dramatically better processors at dramatically better value for consumers finally awoke the sleeping Intel giant.
In record time, Intel announced new processors that would come with more cores at faster speeds, something the tech titan need not have waited for AMD to do first, but did.
Now, while some of Intel's new processors launched last year, what we're seeing this week is the introduction of both the super high performance i9 mobile processor for laptops, and Intel's 8th-generation processors for its vPro range of business-class computers, which is written up in a separate article you can find here.
Well, Intel launched the Core i9 processor for laptops at an event in Beijing, rather than in the US, which presumably reflects China's continuing challenge to US domination in the world.
The processor maker says that this new 8th-gen Core i9 was "part of the new line-up of high-performance mobile products" and is "the highest-performance laptop processor Intel has ever built to deliver the best gaming and content creation experience on the go".
In addition, Intel also announced "a new Intel Core platform extension that brings together the benefits of 8th Gen Intel Core processors with Intel Optane memory", delivered new processors within its "family of high-performance desktop CPUs and chipsets that deliver modern standby and ambient computing capabilities" and shared "new details on the 8th Gen Intel Core vPro platform" which I mentioned will be written about in a separate article.
So, what else is Intel saying about its 8th-gen processors for laptops family?
Well, billing it all as "delivering the ultimate gaming and content creation experience", Intel proudly boasts that its "new 8th Gen Intel Core i9, i7 and i5 processors for laptops are based on the Coffee Lake platform and leverage the 14nm++ process technology enabling them to deliver up to 41% more frames per second in gameplay or edit 4K video up to 59% faster than the previous generation with same discrete graphics".
There are various disclaimers to these figures as there usually are, but at least we're talking in the high double digits this time, rather than the much lower improvements boasted of in the past.
Intel continues talking up the power of its newest processors, and notes that the top of the line is the "8th Gen Intel Core i9-8950HK processor" which is "optimised to push the limits of performance".
Indeed, we are told that "it is the first mobile Intel processor with six cores and 12 threads", to which the world can rightly wonder why it took so long.
That said, it is here at last, and Intel tell us that it "comes fully unlocked and features the new Intel Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB), which opportunistically and automatically increases clock frequency up to 200 MHz if the processor temperature is low enough and turbo power budget is available. This translates to a turbo frequency of up to 4.8 GHz".
I imagine this probably because Intel wants to keep the turbo frequency of up to 5.0Ghz and beyond for the next model. There always needs to be a reason to upgrade, right?
In any case, Intel continues, stating that "as the PC gaming industry rapidly grows", the company "has seen increasing demand for incredibly fast laptops that can provide desktop-like performance for an immersive and responsive experience, including the ability to stream and record without compromising gameplay while still enabling portability".
Personally, I thought people wanted this from laptops years ago, but with the envelope of power and possibility always being pushed to new limits, there's no doubt that Intel's statement is quite correct.
After all, as Intel states, "performance goes beyond gaming".
The company says that "thanks to the rapid pace of technology innovation, the industry has broadened the access to all types of content and how people create it. It has radically redefined what creativity means, and as content has become richer and more immersive, the level of performance needed to both consume and create that content has also increased", which means Intel states, as foreshadowed, that the new processor family "provides a powerful mobile platform for creators".
We're also told that the "highest-performance 8th Gen Intel Core mobile processors’ single- and multi-threaded performance allows users to enjoy the smoothest and highest-quality mobile VR and new Windows Mixed Reality Ultra experiences", as VR and mixed reality experiences have become ever more important in latter part of the second decade of the 21st century.
Here's the video replay of Intel's new Core i9 and vPro announcemnts, followed by Intel's Core i9 Youtube video. The article continues thereafter:
Intel Core i9 official YouTube video:
And, with a new mobile processor comes a new chipset, the "Intel 300 Series Chipset," which adds "integrated Gigabit Wi-Fi for a blazing-fast connection that is capable of being up to 2 times faster than standard 2x2 802.11AC 80 MHz (867 Mbps)".
On top of all of that comes new support in the 8th-gen range for Intel's Optane memory, dubbed as being "a smart and adaptable system accelerator for desktop and mobile platforms, increasing the performance and responsiveness of SATA-based storage technology without compromising storage capacity".
Intel tells us that its Optane memory is "available across both 8th Gen Intel Core mobile and desktop platforms".
Additionally, Intel states releasing "a new Data Drive Acceleration feature that delivers a boost to a large secondary HDD data drive. This powerful combination provides up to 4.7 times the game loading and 1.7 times faster media loading", with more on Data Drive Acceleration here.
So, how can you tell that an Intel 8th-gen processor is paired with Intel Optane memory?
Were told that "consumers will also begin to see a new platform extension with Intel Core i5+, i7+ and i9+ badges on select systems", starting with these new high-performance 8th Gen Intel Core mobile processors and desktop processors.
Intel says the + designation indicates a consumer is "purchasing a device that has the combination of Intel Core performance with the acceleration of Intel Optane memory".
So, there you have it.
Intel has thrown down the gauntlet to AMD, and wants to appeal to consumers who want the best Intel can deliver.
AMD has its Ryzen platform, which will be upgraded to Ryzen 2 later this year as it seeks to keep the pressure on Intel, which as noted is great news for consumers wanting more bang for their buck.
Whether any or all of this can help make PCs great again in the face of ever greater threats from smartphones, tablets and ever more powerful ARM processors is yet to be seen, but there's no sign that a world without PCs is truly coming anytime soon, so if the time is right for you, the time to power up your PC with a brand new model — whichever class and brand of processor you choose — may well be now.