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Intel May Be Pushing Out Another 14nm Processor in PCs Late This Year

Intel's previous modus operandi for releasing new processors has been to launch one each year, then move on to the next generation. This year, we were looking at a 10nm Cannon Lake chip to replace the aging 14nm chip as expected, but the company has hinted that a fourth 14nm chip could debut in PCs this holiday season as well.

Unofficially dubbed Coffee Lake, this new 14nm chip would mark the first time that Intel has extended a processor to a fourth iteration. If the reports are accurate, Coffee Lake would follow previous 14nm chips Broadwell, Skylake and the current Kaby Lake designs. When Kaby Lake was introduced, it marked the end of the company's tick-tock process, which had previously consisted of two processors within a development cycle in the same nm class, with the latter being an upgrade over the former. A fourth chip in the 14nm class is unprecedented, especially if it continues to provide performance improvements over its 14nm brethren.

Kaby Lake launched this year as the "optimization" step in Intel's 7th generation execution plan. Kaby Lake was the first CPU to be launched under Intel's new "process-architecture-optimization" development model, but Coffee Lake doesn't fit with that. Instead, Coffee Lake will be a bridge between the 7th and 8th generation Intel chips, featuring improvements that will be found in Cannon Lake, but using the 14nm manufacturing process. Unfortunately, Intel's 10nm die yields have continued to be low, so this may not be the last setback in its plans.

In addition, as 8th generation chips, both Cannon Lake and Coffee Lake are expected to provide a 15 percent boost in performance over Kaby Lake, which is considered the last in the 7th generation line.

Intel is rumored to be launching Kaby Lake X and Skylake X chip at Gamescom this year in August, with 10-, 8 -, 6- and 4 core models. All chips are expected to be tagged as the Core i7-7000 series processors.

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