Comparing 7th-Generation and 8th-Generation Intel Kaby Lake

Intel Kaby Lake-R Die Shot
A false-color die shot of Intel Kaby Lake-R.
Credit: Intel.

Recently, Intel introduced Kaby Lake-R, the company’s first eighth-generation Intel Core product. We covered the four brand-new Kaby Lake-R chips in an earlier article. Coffee Lake- and Cannon Lake-based microprocessors are to follow which will round off the latest-generation selection, spreading across both desktop and laptop systems.

Meet the SKUs — Core i5-8250U and Core i5-8350U

The first half of the new selection consists of two Core i5 processors. Now featuring four cores and eight threads, the eighth-generation ‘U’ mobile Core i5 offers twice the theoretical horsepower of the previous while maintaining the same thermals. They are direct replacements for the Core i5-7200U and Core i7-7500U. For comparison, I’ve also added in the Core i5-7300HQ and Core i5-7440HQ, though performance is inferior to these models.

Intel Core i5-8250U and Core i5-8350U
Intel Core i5-8250U/8350U vs. seventh-generation.[1][2][3]
Credit: CompuShelter.

Meet the SKUs — Core i7-8550U and Core i7-8650U

The two remaining models are both a part of the Core i7 family. As with the previous generation, the ‘U’ mobile Core i7s offer a minor upgrade over the Core i5 options. Core and thread count remain identical, while clock speeds for both the processor and graphics increase slightly. These Core i7 processors are direct replacements for the Core i5-7300U and Core i7-7600U. Again, for comparison, I’ve included the Core i7-7700HQ and Core i7-7820HQ into the table. Performance will once again be slower than ‘H’-designated chips.

Intel Core i7-8550U and Core i7-8650U
Intel Core i7-8550U/8650U vs. seventh-generation.[1][2][3]
Credit: CompuShelter.

What Does the Future Hold for Mobile?

To be perfectly honest, laptop solutions have never looked better. Historically, quad-core solutions have always remained inaccessible and deemed too power-hungry in very thin notebooks due to the limited space inside the chassis for an adequate cooling solution. Intel’s Kaby Lake-R, and indeed the eighth-generation as a whole, is a very welcome change to this stagnant philosophy. AMD will also be offering its own quad-core Ryzen solutions for notebooks by the end of the year. Exciting times are ahead for those who are looking into purchasing a laptop over the next six months.


  1. Intel’s suggested retail price per 1,000 SKUs.
  2. Thermal design power.
  3. Configurable thermal design power; the power target can be chosen by OEMs.

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