Intel just revealed their 8th-Gen Intel Core processors, and with them, a bundle of information that’s not important to most consumers. Much like the rest of the tech universe, PC users can be broken up into two categories: those that can tell the difference between processors, and those that don’t care. The vast majority of the world is made up of the latter group.
Intel detailing a new generation in processors is like General Motors detailing a new part for a car motor. While it’s good to know what’s on the horizon for new cars, it’s rarely important for the average consumer – that average consumer that’s only ever purchased used cars their whole life. In computers, that’s the equivalent of only buying refurbished computers or last year’s models that’ve since been heavily discounted.
The users that are heading in to stores now to buy a brand new computer might find Intel branding confusing. Confusing only in that they’ll see a sticker that says Intel 8th Gen on it and won’t necessarily know exactly what that means. Intel 8th Gen includes several different types of architecture under the branding hood.
The first wave of computers under the Intel 8th-Gen brand will include a refreshed version of Kaby Lake (14nm+) architecture. Some computers sold with Intel 8th-Gen inside will have Coffee Lake (14nm++) architecture inside later this year, then eventually we’ll see devices with Canon Lake (10nm) architecture.
As Andrew E. Freedman at LaptopMag suggests, “ultimately, everyone deserves to know what they’re buying, whether it’s technology or anything else, and including all of these different architectures.” That much is true.
I agree with that, but I don’t feel that it’s important for Intel to break down their branding further than they have currently. Intel’s job is to make consumers happy with the idea that they’re buying a new computer – that’s for the new computer-buying consumer.
But the computer consumer masses are broken down further than the distinction I made earlier. It’s not just a world of Processor Enthusiasts and Luddites. The important distinction is between the people who research their purchases and those that do not care to do so.
The people who investigate their purchases beforehand – reading PC reviews and whatnot – they’ll be able to find the processor that works best for them. Those that do not investigate before purchase – that’s who Intel brands their processor for. Like the title of an article or the cover of a book thousands of pages long: keep it simple.
Apple notebook users – for the most part – care less about potential Intel processor details than they do the idea that this release could mean that new MacBooks are around the corner. “These new processors have the potential of being introduced to the MacBook and MacBook Pro lines,” said Malcolm Owen of Apple Insider, “Replacing the dual-core processors used in the notebooks with more powerful versions while remaining within Apple’s desired thermal limits.”
“This new mobile family sets the bar for outstanding performance, including a boost of up to 40 percent gen over gen, and that jumps to 2×2 if you compare it with a 5-year-old machine,” said Gregory Bryant, SVP and General Manager of the Client Computing Group at Intel Corporation. “This is all thanks to the new quad-core configuration, power-efficient microarchitecture, advanced process technology and a huge range of silicon optimizations.”
It would seem sensible, at this juncture, that Intel’s “gen” branding has less to do with big changes in architecture and more to do with performance. One architecture name further optimized beyond its original configuration to the point of 40% performance gain? That’s something Intel must feel merits the big change to the big 8.