Heads up: there's some new silicon on the way very soon. From Intel, to be exact. And if you're wondering roughly how far ahead it'll be of the last generation, the first benchmarks have appeared online.
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A couple of weeks ago, Intel announced its first batch of 8th-generation CPUs. They're improved versions of the current Kaby Lake chips, but with double the cores. This results is that Intel says these chips offer up to 44 per cent better performance with a negligible impact on battery life. While these chips might not have the fancy new Intel 14nm++ architecture we were expecting, the new 8th-gen chips allow PC makers put quad-core chips in systems that previously capped out at two and that's still damn cool.
It's that time of year when Intel, the largest maker of laptop and desktop processors in the world, announces the guts of your future PC. These CPUs are always a little faster and a little more battery efficient. This year Intel is launching it's latest processor on the same day as the first major solar eclipse in North America in four decades. Coffee Lake, besides being the place I dream of waking up in each morning, is the 8th generation Core processor from Intel. It's fast, efficient, and it's going to be coming to a lot of very thin laptops later this year.
Modern processors can run at temperatures ranging from 25 to 90 degrees, depending on configuration, cooling and workload. That said, when a CPU takes on a heavy load, that increase tends to be gradual, rather than instantaneous. And it certainly shouldn't occur for basic, undemanding tasks. Unfortunately, Intel's Core i7-7700k might have a temperature problem, with spikes of 30;deg&C not uncommon when, say, opening a webpage.
Sometimes it feels like computers have reached peak speed. Often times, when trolling YouTube or playing a quick round of Overwatch the limitations on performance seem tied to something else. Your internet is too slow, or you need a new graphics card. Computer processors have gotten faster — every year Intel unveils a microarchitecture with breathless claims of mighty performance improvements, but CPUs haven't had a real leap forward in a while. AMD's new Ryzen processors comes perilously close to changing the game.
PC enthusiasts, it's a good year so far. Not only do we have a new extreme GeForce GTX 1080 Ti on the way, but AMD is finally bringing the fight back to Intel with its new Ryzen CPUs. Here's everywhere you can put your cash down a few days early to make sure you've got AMD's latest Ryzen chips in your hands as soon as possible.
PC hardware from a few years ago? Relics of another era. How about a decade old? You might as well be talking about fossilised remains. Yet, people still happily run gear such as Intel's venerable Q6600, one of the company's more overclockable quad-core chips, under the belief that it's "good enough". The benchmarks, however, tell a very different story.
This evening, Netflix is airing a four part Gilmore Girls special. I have no shame in admitting that, at some point, I'll be supremely keen on watching it.
And with good reason: it's a good show. But if you were hoping to watch it in 4K — since Netflix does that sort of thing now — Microsoft has some crappy news for you.
Kaby Lake, Intel's latest processor family, wasn't supposed to exist. Earlier this year Intel announced the end of its well-known tick-tock release schedule, whereby it trots out a new processor every September. The tick is the shrinking and improvements of the current microarchitecture, while the tock is a whole new architecture. Instead last year's "tock", Skylake, was going to hang around a while, with no new "tick" in sight.
The weekend is a great time to tackle that project you've been putting off for a while. Say, building a shelf, painting the bedroom or constructing your own CPU. Allotting time for these... wait, did I just write CPU? Yes, yes I did. And a fellow by the name of James Newman has shown it's very possible... though it might take longer than a single Sunday.
As one last thing at its Computex 2016 press conference, after introducing the Radeon RX 480 graphics card, AMD wanted to remind the world that its next-generation Zen CPU core isn't that far away. And we've now seen a desktop Zen chip for the first time, held by AMD boss Lisa Su — the same chip that will be competing with Intel's top processors in the months to come.
Today is the opening day of Computex 2016, and to mark the occasion Intel has a brand new processor family. Designed for the hardest of hardcore enthusiasts, Intel's new 14-nanometre Broadwell-E chips, the Core i7-69XX and i7-68XX, are its most powerful ever. Forget your garden-variety quad-cores and dual-cores; the Intel Core i7-6950X is an entirely unlocked, overclocking-friendly 10-core monster with support for quad-channel RAM and four graphics cards. If you can't afford the circa-$2200 price tag for the newest top-end silicon, though, new 8- and 6-core CPUs are also on the way.
It's been a long time since we've had to worry about CPU / OS incompatibilities. In fact, the last time it was an issue was the shift from x86 to x64, but that was largely transparent to consumers thanks to AMD and its x86-64 specification, which was later adopted by Intel. Now, with Windows 7 having just entered its extended support phase, Microsoft has taken the opportunity to drop the news that only Windows 10 will be supported on upcoming CPUs.
Intel's new Skylake processors fit inside practically any computer. Soon, you'll be able to get one inside a PC-on-a-stick. But it turns out that Core M computers can get even smaller still. Intel says it's already testing the new processors inside smartphones too.
Intel's new hardcore overclocking CPUs can hit some amazing core speeds with a cheap air or water-cooling system. They're built for speed, and unlocked to achieve those figures easily if you have the interest and technical know-how. One point of order, though — if you're buying a new top of the line Core i5 or Core i7, you won't get a cooler in the box.