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Intel Rolls Out 8th Gen Core Whiskey Lake-U, Amber Lake-Y CPUs For Fanless Mobile PCs

Intel is launching a new wave of 8th generation Core processors for thin-and-light notebooks and 2-in-1 convertibles that fall in the U-Series and Y-Series processor families.

At their core, the Whiskey Lake-U and Amber Lake-Y processors are fundamentally architecturally identical to Kaby Lake Refresh processors. That means that these processors are still built on 14nm process technology -- Intel won't be making a shift to 10nm for its consumer processors until late 2019.

You can see the chart below for the new lineup of Whiskey Lake-U and Amber Lake-U parts; Intel has mainly focused on increasing boost clocks, which should help single-threaded performance across-the-board:

We were actually first tipped off to the Amber Lake-Y parts back in July, and we know that at least one upcoming Dell product will feature the processors. There was a [since removed] listing on Dell's website that mentioned an XPS 13 2-in-1 notebook with Core i5-8200Y and Core i5-8500Y processor options. Other likely candidates for the Amber Lake-Y parts include a refreshed family of Apple 12-inch MacBooks and Microsoft's Surface Pro family of tablets.

As for the Whiskey Lake-U parts, expect to see a slew of new thin-and-light notebooks taking advantage of these new processors over the next few days at IFA 2018. 

Besides the boost clock improvements, the other big addition with these new processors is a new supporting chipset that adds native USB 3.1 support and integrated 802.11ac Wi-Fi. These are similar to the chipset changes reportedly on tap for upcoming Coffee Lake Refresh desktop processors with the accompanying Z390 chipset.

Interestingly, Intel seemingly indicates that the new PCH supports native Thunderbolt 3. However, this isn't the case at all. In fact, system OEMs will still need to incorporate a Thunderbolt 3 controller chip (at an added cost), which has us scratching our heads why Intel would include it in the block diagram. We're still waiting on true native Thunderbolt 3 support, so maybe that will have to wait until next year along with 10nm parts.

So, what exactly can we expect from these new processors? Besides incremental improvements in performance over existing chips, Intel says that the new Whiskey Lake-U and Amber Lake-U will enable OEMs to push fanless systems that can achieve 16+ hours of battery life to get you completely through the workday. Intel also says that the systems offer up to a 2x improvement in performance compared to a “5-year-old” PC.

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