Intel 9th gen CPUs may remove hyper-threading for the i7, remain for the i9

It's no secret that Intel seems to be stammering ever since AMD released its new Ryzen CPU architecture last year called Zen now in its second generation. Long happy to remain at four cores and eight threads, Intel quickly released the 8700k i7 CPU, which upped the core count to six and the thread count to 12 to compete with AMDs top end consumer Ryzen CPU of eight-core and 16 threads (actually AMD also has consumer level 16-core, 32 thread "threadripper" SKUs that are a content creators dream but those are priced higher).

The i7 is no longer the king

The i7 CPU series had been Intel's top of the line desktop offering for quite some time. If you've been following the news (and controversies) however, you'll now note that Intel has added a higher class of desktop CPU called the i9. Both the mobile and desktop variants offer higher core count than the i7 series.

In a seemingly strange turn of events, Intel wants to both compete with AMDs offerings but still push its now top of the line i9 series over its other offerings. Multiple outlets and leaked Intel information confirm that Intel's 9th generation CPU, called Coffee Lake S, will strip the i7 series of CPUs from having hyper-threading capabilities, leaving that privilege only for the i9 series.

In short, the i5 will now sport up to six cores no H/T. The i7 will have up to eight cores and no H/T. And finally, the i9 will get eight cores and 16 threads (just like the Ryzen top end).

Final thoughts

Most people say that full cores are better than hyper-threads anyway so this isn't an issue. Others suggest that this is an artificial segmentation of Intel's offerings to seemingly compete with AMDs Zen architecture where the latest rumors are suggesting that AMD's next offerings will have Xeon level compute capabilities at consumer level costs.

In any event, I know for certain that competition is a good thing and it's finally nice to see some movement in the CPU design space. My hope is that if Apple were to forgo Intel CPUs in the future, I'd hope they would also forgo switching to Arm based CPUs and instead switch to AMD Ryzen chips in the Pro line of computers. Maybe a pipe dream but crazier decisions have been made. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!

Anthony Casella