Intel teases speedy 'Coffee Lake' processors that could come to Apple's 2018 MacBooks

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
Intel's 8th-generation processors, codenamed 'Coffee Lake,' will be faster than the previous generation by a wider margin than previously thought, with the chip producer claiming the new generation could offer 30 percent more performance compared to the 7th-generation 'Kaby Lake' chips, believed to be used in the upcoming MacBook refresh.




In Intel's testing of the "Coffee Lake" processors, the chip maker claimed it saw a "performance improvement of more than 30 percent" over the 7th-generation equivalents. During its investor meeting in February, Intel had initially claimed the performance improvement between the processor generations was 15 percent.

The footnotes from the Computex statement by Intel Client Computing Group Corporate VP and General Manager Gregory Bryant that this performance improvement was seen under a single synthetic benchmark, SYSmark 2014 version 1.5, and between just one processor from each generation. For "Kaby Lake," Intel used an i7-7500U processor with 8 gigabytes of DDR4-2133 RAM, while "Coffee Lake" was represented by "estimates" for a processor, with a turbo clock speed of up to 4GHz, an undisclosed base clock, and using DDR4-2400 memory.

The note advises performance estimates are "Pre-Silicon and are subject to change," with a 7-percent margin of error. Despite this, if Intel's figures are accurate and the supposedly comparable processor enters production, computers using "Coffee Lake" chips will still see a substantial improvement compared to the previous generation.

Intel declined to provide further details about the "Coffee Lake" chips, advising it will provide more information "in the future."

"Coffee Lake" is an optimization of "Kaby Lake," which Intel continues aiming for release in the second half of 2017, with the first devices using the processor expected by the holiday season. It will be the fourth chip generation to use the 14nm process, with "Coffee Lake" becoming the third "tock" in a row for Intel's retired "tick-tock" development strategy.

While "Coffee Lake" is a promising chip for future use in Apple's MacBook Pro line in the future, it is unlikely that it will be equipped with 32 gigabytes of memory. "Coffee Lake" does not include support for LPDDR4, which would allow for such quantities of memory to be used without requiring a new RAM controller, with its exclusion limiting memory to 16 gigabytes.

It is more probable that 32 gigabytes will be offered to MacBook Pro customers if Apple uses "Cannon Lake," the first Intel chips produced using a 10-nm process, offering a reduction in power usage compared to previous generations. Last month, comments from a company executive revealed uncertainty over whether the first shipments of the "Cannon Lake" processors will occur this year, or if it will ship at the start of 2018.

Currently, 7th-generation "Kaby Lake" processors are expected to be used in a future refresh of Apple's notebooks and iMacs. Replacing the "Skylake" chips used in the 2016 MacBook Pro, "Kaby Lake" will offer marginal performance improvements, but with lower power consumption.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,112member
    Oooh, 15 watt quad core...13" rMBP would get a lot more interesting with that, and earn the Pro name. Quad core, thunderbolt 3, with external graphics it would be a nice portable + docked stationary system without the need for a desktop. 
  • Reply 2 of 34
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,069member
    Meh, I'd rather wait patiently for Cannon Lake, hopefully sometime in the first half of 2018.

    The Xeon's look like they are finally getting some love, a reaction, I assume, to AMD clawing back some mindshare in the server space with some pretty decent products. Maybe 2018 will, in fact, be year on the Mac Pro.
  • Reply 3 of 34
    I just hope that something worthwhile will be available by the time my 2011 MacBook Pro finally kicks the bucket. This thing has been a tank and Intel hasn't done a great job of coming out with anything that really slaughters it.
    vukasikar210watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 34
    netroxnetrox Posts: 997member
    It's likely that the new MacBook will have faster SSD making RAM requirement less of an issue. Heck, even this MacBook without TouchBar clocks over 2GB per second read and over 1.5GB per sec write on SSD. That is pretty fast. We needed a lot of RAM back then when we used HDD but with SSD being virtually instantaneous at access time and being much faster as well, the requirement is less important than ever. But we definitely need the 32GB support for high end computing.
    baconstang
  • Reply 5 of 34
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,112member
    netrox said:
    It's likely that the new MacBook will have faster SSD making RAM requirement less of an issue. Heck, even this MacBook without TouchBar clocks over 2GB per second read and over 1.5GB per sec write on SSD. That is pretty fast. We needed a lot of RAM back then when we used HDD but with SSD being virtually instantaneous at access time and being much faster as well, the requirement is less important than ever. But we definitely need the 32GB support for high end computing.

    Closer to 3GB/s, the BlackMagic test wasn't built for over 2000MB/s if that's what you saw. I think they just pushed an update to allow higher. 
    vukasika
  • Reply 6 of 34
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,029member
    I just hope that something worthwhile will be available by the time my 2011 MacBook Pro finally kicks the bucket. This thing has been a tank and Intel hasn't done a great job of coming out with anything that really slaughters it.
    So much has changed since 2011. You don't even have a Retina, IPS display at this point, nd even if you've installed an SSD you're still on SATA-II, so anything you get today will look better and be faster than what you're using now, even if you got the low-end model for the size category.
    edited May 2017 macxpressStrangeDayspscooter63
  • Reply 7 of 34
    vukasikavukasika Posts: 93member
    I just hope that something worthwhile will be available by the time my 2011 MacBook Pro finally kicks the bucket. This thing has been a tank and Intel hasn't done a great job of coming out with anything that really slaughters it.
    Agreed. Just retired my 2008 MacBook Pro.  the iPad Pro 12.9 has been meeting my mobile needs since then & I'm typing this on a 2014 5k iMac that I max'd out then so it's still doing just fine.  I'm curious to see if the MacBook Pro refresh will finally put it on par with this 2014 iMac I'm sitting at.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 34
    All I can say is, Intel had better ship those chips, otherwise Apple is going to tell them to GoJumpInna Lake. 🍸
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 34
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,104administrator
    netrox said:
    It's likely that the new MacBook will have faster SSD making RAM requirement less of an issue. Heck, even this MacBook without TouchBar clocks over 2GB per second read and over 1.5GB per sec write on SSD. That is pretty fast. We needed a lot of RAM back then when we used HDD but with SSD being virtually instantaneous at access time and being much faster as well, the requirement is less important than ever. But we definitely need the 32GB support for high end computing.
    Optane might be coming, and that's ridiculously fast.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 34
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Soli said:
    I just hope that something worthwhile will be available by the time my 2011 MacBook Pro finally kicks the bucket. This thing has been a tank and Intel hasn't done a great job of coming out with anything that really slaughters it.
    So much has changed since 2011. You don't even have a Retina, IPS display at this point, nd even if you've installed an SSD you're still on SATA-II, so anything you get today will look better and be faster than what you're using now, even if you got the low-end model for the size category.

    Last Fall I upgraded from a 2011 17” mid-tier, quad-i7 MBP upgraded with an SSD, to a high-end 2015 15” quad-i7. The upgrade to a Retina display is stunning, no doubt. But the performance improvement is best described as “incremental”. To be honest, I had expected more out of a 4-years-more-recent computer that was one tier up on Apple’s “Good, Better, Best” structure. It was still a worthy upgrade (screen, portability, ports, etc), but even now when I occasionally go back to the 2011 MBP it’s really not that big of a performance difference (for what I do).

    The 2016 models are a little faster still, but I don’t know that it would have justified the expense of upgrading from my 2011 MBP if performance had been my primary consideration. The screen and better portability (size/weight) were the driving factors for the upgrade.

  • Reply 11 of 34
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,138member
    wiggin said:
    Soli said:
    I just hope that something worthwhile will be available by the time my 2011 MacBook Pro finally kicks the bucket. This thing has been a tank and Intel hasn't done a great job of coming out with anything that really slaughters it.
    So much has changed since 2011. You don't even have a Retina, IPS display at this point, nd even if you've installed an SSD you're still on SATA-II, so anything you get today will look better and be faster than what you're using now, even if you got the low-end model for the size category.

    Last Fall I upgraded from a 2011 17” mid-tier, quad-i7 MBP upgraded with an SSD, to a high-end 2015 15” quad-i7. The upgrade to a Retina display is stunning, no doubt. But the performance improvement is best described as “incremental”. To be honest, I had expected more out of a 4-years-more-recent computer that was one tier up on Apple’s “Good, Better, Best” structure. It was still a worthy upgrade (screen, portability, ports, etc), but even now when I occasionally go back to the 2011 MBP it’s really not that big of a performance difference (for what I do).

    The 2016 models are a little faster still, but I don’t know that it would have justified the expense of upgrading from my 2011 MBP if performance had been my primary consideration. The screen and better portability (size/weight) were the driving factors for the upgrade.

    The 2016 MacBook Pro may be only slightly faster, but also remember its more efficient so it can sustain that performance longer without needing to clock itself down so it doesn't overheat. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 34
    vannygeevannygee Posts: 61member
    If my 3-month old 15" touch bar is outdated I'll be pretty mad..
    They should update the 12" and wait for coffee lake for the rest
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 34
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,593member
    Intel ISA - pah!

    Its AppleISA that'll provide the real performance benefits.

    Drop an A11X in to run touchbar, app map & graphics with an early release Coffee Lake CPU and (no integrated graphics) and transition the functions over to ARM/AISA
    edited May 2017
  • Reply 14 of 34
    "Faster" and "mini" nanaometer technology. Tell me how is multitasking doing there as with less cores that "faster" doies not look so well seriously. I look at what we do on those Mac's - not to some benchmarks to get feeling subjective improvement.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 34
    anomeanome Posts: 1,441member
    vannygee said:
    If my 3-month old 15" touch bar is outdated I'll be pretty mad..
    They should update the 12" and wait for coffee lake for the rest
    If there's an MBP update at WWDC, it's unlikely to be more than a speed bump, just upgrading to equivalent Kaby Lake processors, and maybe some cosmetic tweaks, like "fixing" the keyboard (so certain tech journalists shut up about it).

    On the other hand, if they do a complete redesign again, then your current MBP will be worth a fortune on the collectables market in ten years time. Think of it as an investment.

    vannygeewatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 34
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,029member
    anome said:
    vannygee said:
    If my 3-month old 15" touch bar is outdated I'll be pretty mad..
    They should update the 12" and wait for coffee lake for the rest
    If there's an MBP update at WWDC, it's unlikely to be more than a speed bump, just upgrading to equivalent Kaby Lake processors, and maybe some cosmetic tweaks, like "fixing" the keyboard (so certain tech journalists shut up about it).

    On the other hand, if they do a complete redesign again, then your current MBP will be worth a fortune on the collectables market in ten years time. Think of it as an investment.

    I don't think there's any history of a complete redesign after a single cycle and under a year.

    What I'm expecting is a speed bump, other refinements, and a price drop, as those would be in line with Apple's history.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 34
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,138member
    vannygee said:
    If my 3-month old 15" touch bar is outdated I'll be pretty mad..
    They should update the 12" and wait for coffee lake for the rest
    You know...Apple is damned if they do and damned if they don't. People complain because Apple never updates their products and then when they do, people complain because they just bought one a couple months ago and now they consider it out of date. *sigh*
    fastasleepwatto_cobraNameo_
  • Reply 18 of 34
    anomeanome Posts: 1,441member
    Soli said:
    anome said:
    vannygee said:
    If my 3-month old 15" touch bar is outdated I'll be pretty mad..
    They should update the 12" and wait for coffee lake for the rest
    If there's an MBP update at WWDC, it's unlikely to be more than a speed bump, just upgrading to equivalent Kaby Lake processors, and maybe some cosmetic tweaks, like "fixing" the keyboard (so certain tech journalists shut up about it).

    On the other hand, if they do a complete redesign again, then your current MBP will be worth a fortune on the collectables market in ten years time. Think of it as an investment.

    I don't think there's any history of a complete redesign after a single cycle and under a year.

    What I'm expecting is a speed bump, other refinements, and a price drop, as those would be in line with Apple's history.
    Pretty much. Never say never, but it would be unprecedented. The only thing even close was the iPad 4, which came six months after the iPad 3, with a shiny new port and greatly improved processor. And that wasn't a big redesign.
  • Reply 19 of 34
    Just like the new SkyLake-X chips introduced today ... They will increase the core count and then back off the base and turbo clocks to keep power consumption down. This is really a "trade-off" more than a "performance" gain. Sure you can run MORE threads ... but any ONE thread will run slower. In fact EVERY ONE Thread will run slower. For a single tasker ... this could be a step backwards.
    edited May 2017 watto_cobrabaconstang
  • Reply 20 of 34
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Just like the new SkyLake-X chips introduced today ... They will increase the core count and then back off the base and turbo clocks to keep power consumption down. This is really a "trade-off" more than a "performance" gain. Sure you can run MORE threads ... but any ONE thread will run slower. In fact EVERY ONE Thread will run slower. For a single tasker ... this could be a step backwards.
    Yes, the thermal envelope doesn't really change, and when all cores are running, keeping them all cools restricts this even more and thus how high they can run goes down (compared to a single/two cores which can dissipate heat easier). Running all cores at max speed would require the kind of cooling a laptop can't really afford though I'm sure Apple will go as high as its possible.

    The workload for a PRO machine is a lot more conducive to the use of multicore/thread than in a gaming and consumer machine.

    When doing Video processing on 4K, 3D modeling and rendering, running several VM's, docker, parallel compiles, mathlab, whatever, it won't be a step backward.

    I run countless tasks at the same time on my desktop and more parallel processing will be very welcome.
    I don't want to be stopping everything when I run a task; that's should have been already been the case if Intel sitting on its ass had not made those processors uber expensive.
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