Intel’s latest 8th-Gen Core processors focus on improving Wi-Fi speeds

IFA 2018 is here, and to go along with the wealth of new laptops that will presumably be announced over the next few days, Intel is taking the wraps off its latest 8th-Gen processors. There are three new Whiskey Lake U-series chips (Intel’s midrange line for laptops), and, for the first time, there are three 8th-Gen Amber Lake Y-series processors.

While Intel is still using the same underlying architecture as its previous processors — making these new chips ostensibly an “8.5-Gen” lineup, at least where the U-series models are concerned — the big change that the company is highlighting is integrated gigabit Wi-Fi support. Intel promises that this should result in dramatically faster internet speeds, especially apparent on the cheaper, midrange laptops that may not have been able to offer those kinds of speeds before.

Also being added to the new Y-series and U-series chips is built-in support for virtual assistants like Cortana and Alexa. So you should expect to see the digital assistants cropping up on more laptops in the near future.

While the Y-series chips should be easily identifiable (they’re the first 8th-Gen processors in that class), the U-series Whiskey Lake models may be harder to spot since Intel already sells last year’s Kaby Lake R chips under the same 8th-Gen label. The trick will be to look for a new “Optimized for Connectivity” tag that indicates that you’re getting the latest and greatest.

The new U-series Whiskey Lake chips offer the two-core, four-thread i3-U145U model clocked at 2.1GHz (which can be boosted to 3.9GHz), the quad-core, eight-thread i5-8265U clocked at 1.6GHz (with a boosted speed of 3.9GHz), and the quad-core, eight-thread i7-8565U, clocked at 1.8GHz (with a boosted speed of 4.6GHz). The Y-series Amber Lake chips are less powerful, all offering dual-core / four-thread configurations, ranging from 1.1GHz (boosted to 3.4GHz) on the m3-8100Y to 1.3GHz (boosted to 3.9GHz) on the i5-8200Y to 1.5GHz (boosted to 4.2GHz) on the top i7-8500Y.

To be clear, these aren’t Intel’s 10nm Cannon Lake chips that have been anticipated for some time, nor are they the rumored 9th-Gen chips that the company is expected to launch for desktops on October 1st.