Have you heard? Intel is launching new 9th Gen CPUs in the not-too-distant future. That’s the only reasonable conclusion after an avalanche of leaks in the past few weeks, with new details arriving from various websites and motherboard manufacturers alike. The latest is from Gigabyte, which confirms that Intel’s upcoming 9th Generation CPU family will be backward-compatible with the 8th Generation family.
In a new release today, the company writes:
GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd, a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, announced the release of new BIOS updates which provide support for the highly-anticipated Intel 9000 processors. GIGABYTE’s engineering teams have developed BIOS updates for the Z370, H370, B360, H310 motherboards to provide the best support for Intel’s next-gen CPUs. The newest BIOS updates are now available on the official GIGABYTE website for users to download and upgrade their systems. The complete lineup of motherboards and their corresponding download links are listed below.
That’s a comprehensive list of all Gigabyte’s 8th Generation hardware, so it looks like Intel will introduce 9th Generation chips with one new top-end chipset (the Z390), with the older 8th Gen boards presumably falling in for now. Intel may increment the family numerically at a later date as new 9th Gen 14nm chips appear, though we aren’t expecting much in the way of a refresh cycle below the Core i9.
Right now, it’s our belief that Intel’s product stack will look like this:
Core i9: New introduction, eight cores + Hyper-Threading (8C/16T).Core i7: Now with eight cores, but no Hyper-Threading. (8C/8T), replacing 6C/12T.Core i5: Six cores, no Hyper-Threading (6C/6T)Core i3: Four cores, no Hyper-Threading (4C/4T).
It’s not clear that Intel will take this step with the 9th Generation if it takes it at all. What’s more important is that we’ve reached the end of the era when HT could be added and subtracted to simply create neat performance segments at eight cores or below. Intel can keep stacking on new cores, of cores, of course, but it doesn’t look like the old static Core i3/i5/i7 segmentation that defined Intel’s product stack from 2011 – 2017 will long survive a resurgent AMD.