Intel is continuing to close the gap between notebook and desktop performance with its latest Core chips — some of which could end up in upcoming Mac devices.
On Tuesday, the chipmaker unveiled the eighth generation of Core notebook processors based on the Coffee Lake platform. And with the new lineup of chips, Intel seems dead set on bringing desktop-level performance to laptop computers.
New CPUs, More Power
One of the most notable CPUs is then new Core i9 processor, outfitted with six cores and 12 threads. Intel says it’s the highest performing notebook chip it’s ever designed.
It’s 29 percent faster than the previous generation in general performance, and up to 59 percent quicker when editing 4K video in Adobe Premiere Pro.
Image via Intel
Notably, the Core i9-8950HK mobile processor is a 45W chip, the same thermal profile that current MacBook Pro models can accommodate. Presumably, that means that the Coffee Lake processor could be included as an option for this year’s MacBook Pro refresh.
While base clock speed of 2.9 gigahertz and single-core Turbo Boosts speeds up to 4.8 gigahertz, the Core i9 is way more processor than most consumers will ever need. But the chip seems tailor-made for content creators, video editors and gamers — and could be available as a customization option for some Mac buyers this year.
The newly announced family of chips also includes a quad-core Core i5, which could pave the way for new 13-inch MacBook Pro models with four cores.
The new Core i7 processor with Iris Plus graphics is incredibly well-suited for a new Mac mini model (which Apple is rumored to be working on).
Intel also expanded its eighth generation of desktop Core processors, after first debuting the stable of chips last year (including its monster 18-core i9 desktop chip). Presumably, some of these chips could be used in updated 4K and 5K iMac models in the near future.
It’s worth noting that the new laptop chips still don’t support low-power LPDDR4 RAM. In other words, while the notebook processors can accommodate computers with up to 32GB of memory, we’re not likely to see a MacBook model with much extra RAM this year.
The Rise of Apple’s Chips
Intel’s new family of processors are incredibly powerful, and as stated earlier, bring a more desktop-like experience to mobile computers. On the other hand, the future of the relationship between Apple computers and Intel chips is uncertain.
Just this week, a Bloomberg report suggested that Apple could ditch Intel processors in favor of its own first-party chips by 2020.
In other words, that means — for some consumers — the 2018 lineup of Mac products could be the last Intel-based Apple computers that they’ll get their hands on.
Possible Announcement Date
Apple last updated its MacBook lineup with Kaby Lake processors at its Worldwide Developer’s Conference last summer.
Based on that timeline, it stands to reason that new Mac notebooks and desktops could debut with the updated chips at this year’s WWDC, which is slated to start June 4.
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