With Intel’s launch of Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X having just happened, we must ask: what’s next? As Jamie alluded to earlier, the beefiest Core X chips Intel has to offer will be coming out over the next couple of months, finishing off with the mammoth 18-core i9-7980XE at some point this fall – perhaps at around the same time we see the first Coffee Lake processors hit the market.
Coffee Lake is a successor to Kaby Lake, built on the same 14nm node Intel’s been stuck at for a number of years. The lack of a die shrink means that Coffee Lake should be a modest iteration of Kaby Lake, rather than a revolutionary release. That revolutionary release might come with the launch of Cannonlake, 10nm parts that will cater to the mainstream (and lower) markets, at least from the get-go.
The first Cannonlake chips could enter the market at the end of the year, although it would not surprise me if CES 2018 wound up being the launch platform for those (8th? 9th? Core gen) chips.
Being an iterative release, Coffee Lake might not seem that exciting out-of-the-gate, but there is something intriguing that’s being rumored: Intel is going to be putting wireless Ethernet (ac Wave 2), Bluetooth 5.0, and USB 3.1 into the 300-series chipset. Due to timing, it looks like the launch Z370 chipset will not feature this design, but Z390 and H370, due out in early 2018, should.
This is being reported by industry-tracking website DigiTimes, which believes the likes of Realtek, ASMedia, and Broadcom will suffer declined shipments for their respective products as a result. Ultimately, the move would be sensible on Intel’s part, and perhaps even good for the consumer (it could reduce platform costs), but it’ll be bad for the vendors that ship millions of their chips for each mainstream Intel motherboard generation.
DigiTimes believes that Realtek will be the hardest hit, as a large share of its revenue is the direct result of motherboard vendors. Because Z370 is not going to be including these goodies, though, it extends the amount of time Realtek and others have to figure out new business plans.