Intel's New CPUs Appear, Some Sans Hyperthreading

Image: Intel / Project Alloy

We're halfway through the year, which means it's about time for some new CPUs to show up. Figures from Intel's next series have appeared online, and some of the CPUs are missing a familiar feature.

There's been some chatter going around the tech world for a little while that Intel — not long after releasing their anniversary edition CPU — will ship three new 9000 K-series CPUs.

The quixotic part: the new i5 and i7 CPUs, according to Taiwanese tech site Coolaler, won't have hyperthreading.

Image: Coolaler

That's backed up by some benchmarks that reporters have found floating about in the SiSoft Sandra database. The database was down at the time of writing, but Guru3D snapped a shot of the i7-9700K, the middle CPU of the three.

Image: Guru3D

In the brackets under the Result ID, you'll see 8C, which refers to 8 cores, while the 8T in the capacity column refers to 8 threads. The i9-9900K, meanwhile, looks like it'll have 8 cores and 16 threads — kind of necessary to combat the appeal of AMD's rising Ryzen wave.

Given that the i7 K-series chip won't have hyperthreading, it's a safe bet that the i5 won't either. But to illustrate why, a quick explanation of hyperthreading.

Hyperthreading has been a feature of Intel chips for aeons — since late 2002 for consumers, when it first appeared in the Pentium line — and it essentially allows an operating system to turn every physical core on a CPU as two cores.

The idea is to ensure your CPU doesn't waste time by intelligently scheduling tasks, although Linus from Linus Tech Tips has some more palatable analogies below.

The kicker with hyperthreading is that it's useful on applications that aren't that great at taking advantage of multiple cores — which games traditionally haven't been. They're getting better on that front, but you won't find Battlefield 5 or the next Assassin's Creed taxing all of your CPU cores as much as 3D rendering software or something like Adobe After Effects. What games tend to care more about is clock speeds — and Intel appears to have that advantage in the bag still.

So in that sense, the lack of hyperthreading on the i5 and i7-series CPU isn't actually that monumental a loss. It is a bit strange to see a feature depart after being a staple for more than over a decade. And it'll be concerning for those who game while also using more CPU intensive programs.

But as always, the proof will be in the pudding. The expectation is that we'll see the next Intel CPUs in the third quarter of this year — we'll keep you posted when more info comes to light.

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