One of the most oft-repeated complaints from Intel's haters is that the company has allowed its mainstream Core lineup to top out at four cores since its inception. That means, depending on how you count it, we've had eight or nine generations of quad-core CPUs as the pick of the litter. We heard this past November that Intel would be bringing six-core CPUs to the desktop platform, and about a month ago a Geekbench result for a six-core Coffee Lake CPU popped up. Today eTeknix seems to have another bit of news corroborating the idea: a chart of unknown origin listing lots of specifications for what are purportedly a trio of Coffee Lake CPUs. Grab the salt-shaker and let's dive in.
For the most part, the table looks legitimate. It even uses Intel's favorite font, Clear Sans. The three processors described are all six-core models with 12MB of L3 cache, so we can reasonably expect that all three would be branded as Core i7s. The main memory interface is still dual-channel DDR4 at 2400 MT/s. Two of the described CPUs have a 95W TDP rating, while the third is spec'd for 65W. Notably, the two 95W chips are unlocked for overclocking.
The fastest of the chips purportedly has a base clock speed of 3.7 GHz, and it's supposed to turbo to 4.3 GHz on a single core. The other 95W CPU has a much lower base clock rate of 3.2 GHz and maximum turbo speed of 3.6 GHz, but otherwise it appears to be identical. The 65W processor once again has a lower base clock rate of 3.1 GHz, but it turbos nearly as high as its top-end cousin, to 4.2 GHz on a single core. Curiously, this list of specifications doesn't include a listing for Hyper-Threading, but it does note that all three CPUs will come with the usual GT2 graphics.
Coffee Lake is the fourth architecture on Intel's 14nm process. Despite that, Intel claims Coffee Lake CPUs could offer as much as a 30% increase in performance in the same power envelope. That claim comes from a comparison between a two-core, four-thread Kaby Lake part versus a four-core, eight-thread Coffee Lake chip, both 15W parts. Moving from four cores and eight threads to six cores and 12 threads on the desktop seems unlikely to produce similar gains. Still, Intel's continuing process optimizations seem to be bearing fruit. eTeknix says Coffee Lake six-core chips will arrive "late this year," so it seems we may have some time yet before we'll know for certain.