Your next computer will be nearly twice as fast as existing PCs

Three of the first laptops with Intel's new 8th-gen Core processors

Computers may no longer be tech darlings now that everyone uses their smartphones to do basically everything, but they’re about to get really exciting again.

About every two years, Intel introduces new processors that shape the computing industry and this year’s no different. Whereas the last two generations of chips were kinda like half steps in performance, the new 8th-generation “Ice Lake” Core processors are nearly twice as fast as 7th-gen “Skylake” chips.

It’s a big bump up in performance and you’ll feel the speed even if you’re just browsing the web.

The first computers (laptops and 2-in-1s) with 8th-gen chips, available in Core i5 or i7 (U-series) flavors, will ship at the beginning of September with up to 145 designs available. Desktop processors will ship in the fall and then enterprise versions later.

Every new generation of Intel’s Core chips usually brings speed boosts, but the company’s really not messing around this time. With 14-nanometer process (it’ll shrink down to 10-nanometers later) and quad-cores (versus dual), new computers will see up to a 40% performance compared to Skylake-powered machines, and up to 50% faster speeds compared to a five-year-old system.

In other words, if you’ve been using your laptop for around five years, which is usually how long the average person hangs on to their device — you will see considerably faster computing power with a new machine.

The new Intel Core chips that'll boost computer performance by 40%IMAGE: LILI SAMS/MASHABLE

Whether you’re browsing the web, editing photos or videos, juggling documents and spreadsheets, or consuming media, the 8th-gen chips are designed to make everything quicker.

Compared to a five-year-old computer, general multitasking is snappier with 2x performance, web browsing is 1.9x faster, and photo editing in Adobe Lightroom is 2.3x faster.

More graphic-intensive tasks like rendering 4K video will see huge gains thanks to the two extra cores. Intel says rendering video is 14.7x faster than a computer from 2012. A 1-minute and 46-second 4K video encoded in HEVC weighing 440MB takes a computer with an 8th-gen chip three minutes to render versus 45 minutes on a 5-year-old machine.

And speaking of 4K video, Intel’s further improved 4K video playback for devices with and without 4K screens. If you’ve got a relatively new laptop, 4K video playback should be no problem, but it usually comes at the expense of battery life.

Dell's classic XPS 13 laptop with super thin bezels is one of the first to get the new chips.IMAGE: LILI SAMS/MASHABLE

For 2-in-1s, the new chips will give 4K video a huge boost.


With 8th-gen chips, you should be able to watch local 4K video for 10 continuous hours and up to 11 continuous hours of 4K video streaming on YouTube. Of course, these figures will depend on your computer and its battery capacity, but this is the benchmark Intel wants PC makers to aim for.

Intel’s new chips sound impressive, and while I did get to see a few very short performance demos showing off how fast a new laptop with the new processor chewed through 4K video, there wasn’t a    laptop with a 7th-gen chip or a five-year-old machine for comparison.

I also got to check out a handful of concept computers in various form factors showing off what could be possible with Intel’s Core chips. I’m not allowed to share details beyond that, but Iet’s just say, they’re pretty cool and hopefully some hardware partners pick up a few of the weirder ideas.

Still, I’m extremely pumped for new computers coming out this fall. Personally, I’m praying Apple uses these new chips for future MacBook Pros. Nearly 2x performance boost? Hell yeah, I want.


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