Intel’s Coffee Lake makes six-core mainstream

Coffee Lake is both a significant upgrade to Intel’s mainstream CPU line, and one of the longest delays between meaningful improvements.

If you’re an enthusiast who’s already upgraded to a six-core, 12-thread (6C12T) processor, Coffee Lake might not seem like a big deal. We’ve had such chips since Gulftown on socket LGA1366 in 2010, although pricing was higher than many were willing to pay.

The Core i7-5820K dropped the entry price for six-core, 12-thread chips to $389 in 2014 – basically the same as today’s Core i7-8700K. The problem is that Intel’s mainstream platform, LGA115x, has stuck at four-core, eight-thread since 2009’s first-gen Core i7s. That’s eight years of stagnation, largely because AMD never had a superior product.

Ryzen changed that, and while it doesn’t win every benchmark, the availability of competitive 8C16T chips at prices that undercut Intel’s 4C8T CPUs looks bad, and the 6C12T Ryzen 5 parts cost less than most of Intel’s 4C4T Core i5 parts.

If you’re running workloads that can benefit from more cores/threads, Ryzen has been an easy recommendation since launch. After coasting on the mainstream platform for eight years, Intel has been able to rapidly release more cores and higher performance.

No let-up in sight

Coffee Lake has better per-core performance than Ryzen, and clock speeds that are up to 30% higher. What’s more, unlike the mesh topology used in Skylake-X, Coffee Lake sticks with Intel’s ring bus.

The result is some killer performance, with the Core i7-8700K claiming top marks among 6C12T products.

Not to be outdone, the Core i5-8400 is a 6C6T part that includes reasonable (3.8-4.0GHz) clocks, and in a large suite of games it matches the performance of a stock Core i7-7700K, at about half the price and two-thirds the power use.

The problem is that Coffee Lake uses the same LGA1151 socket as Skylake and Kaby Lake, except the pin-out has changed, and a new chipset and mobo is required. That’s a low blow, even from Intel, considering Z270 boards aren’t even a year old.

As exciting as 2017 has been, there are indications that 2018 won’t slow down. Rumblings from AMD hint at architectural tweaks enabling better per-core performance and higher clock speeds, and Ryzen 2 (or whatever it’s called) will run in existing AM4 motherboards.

Not to be outdone, Intel could release an 8C16T Coffee Lake chip – alhough that would require a new die. And Intel’s 10nm Cannon Lake chips should finally arrive by the end of 2018, possibly sooner.

Here’s to competition, and more reasons to think about building another PC.

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The best Boxing Day sales 2017: bringing you the best UK deals right now

The Boxing Day sales are in full swing now and there are a lot of great deals to take advantage of. A lot more than we expected if we're honest. We've seen retailers putting fresh deals live for the last few days and have continued to highlight the best ones right here.

This might be for something you've been waiting for a stunning price on for months, or maybe something you had been keeping your fingers crossed you would get for Christmas.

And hey, just because you didn't find the right price on Black Friday, doesn't mean you won't have better luck today. As for the 'January sales', we're seeing fewer decent discounts in those each year nowadays as retailers focus on November and December for their best deals. So, if you see a bargain that looks right for you, it may well be time to treat yourself while you still have a chance.

When do the Boxing Day sales start?

Not a silly question at all. We actually saw loads of retailers push the button (probably with gravy on their fingers) at some point on Christmas Day. We'll be watching all of the usual suspects like a hawk throughout the Christmas break and will bring you the deals when they go live.

At this point,, retailers will have put their best deals online already, which is why we've been up since the crack of dawn to catch the best ones for you. So you might want to delay that post-food snooze until you've taken another peek. We've rounded up the finest bargains below our extensive list of retailers that are having a Boxing Day sale.

Boxing Day sales retailer quick links

  • Amazon sale
  • John Lewis sale
  • Currys sale
  • Argos sale
  • Tesco Direct sale
  • Game sale
  • Zavvi sale
  • AO.com – sale
  • Mobiles.co.uk – sale
  • Carphone Warehouse – sale
  • Next – sale

So, who's having a Boxing Day sale?

All the big stores are getting stuck in. With so many keen shoppers going online over the Christmas period in recent years, it's just too good a chance for them to finish 2017 off with some extra money in the bank. Let's take a look at the big hitters below and at what to expect.

The best Boxing Day sales deals

TV and video deals

Gaming deals

Laptop and Macbook deals

Computing deals

Smart home deals

Headphone and audio deals

Smartphone deals

iPad and tablet deals

Kitchen and Home deals

Gadgets and other deals

TechRadar’s computing 2018 wishlist

While I always eagerly await the giant strides computing technology makes with each new year, in 2018 I’m looking forward to some of the smaller revolutions, that may not be quite as flashy, but will have just as profound an effect on the way we use our computers.

Microsoft and Qualcomm’s partnership in 2017 to bring ‘always on’ laptops with much improved battery lives should really begin to bear fruit in 2018, with a number of powerful Snapdragon 835-powered devices coming throughout the year.

These laptops won’t need to connect to Wi-Fi, instead using LTE data, much like smartphones, which will make using them when not connected to your home or work network much safer, and also faster. The potential of 20 hours of battery life is also very impressive.

Other than that, I have an obscenely powerful gaming PC, and I’d really like to see 2018 bring some graphically demanding games that really puts it to the test, and will show why PC is the best platform to play video games on.

The most exciting bit of computing I see on the 2018 horizon is the modular, upgradeable Mac Pro computer that Apple won’t stop talking about. No, really: Apple actually mentioned it in a press release this year for the iMac Pro!

For Apple to tease this product in a press release for an entirely different one leads us to believe that it’s something worth getting hyped about. Plus, we were all enamored by the previous Mac Pro design enough to clamor for updates for the past several years.

That interest likely lies in the words ‘modular’ and ‘upgradeable’, which we rarely associate with Apple computing products these days. That said, we’re very interested in just how well this product lives up to those promises – not to mention that new display Apple is building in-house.

Beyond this, I’m also keen on seeing how Microsoft will react to this. Will we see a new Surface Studio to combat these pro-grade Apple computers? How about a new set of Surface tablets and laptops to keep ahead? Regardless, I want to see this rivalry keep up in 2018.

2018 is looking like the most exciting year for laptops in a long time. While Intel has almost been the only player in the mobile processor world, that’s going to change significantly with Qualcomm and AMD Rzyen entering the fray.

At the same time I feel as though 2018 could also be the most confusing year for laptops. Qualcomm, Intel Kaby Lake Refresh, Intel CPUs with Vega graphics, and AMD Ryzen will all be powering notebooks next year with varying levels of performances and graphical capability.

For one thing most standard x86 applications on a Snapdragon 835-powered laptop will have to run though a level of emulation to get them to work. We also may well see the option of buying notebooks with either Intel’s standard 8th gen processors, or their gaming-capable CPUs, and those configurations alone could further muddy the waters while buying a laptop. 

This past year was one of the busiest years for components, with a seemingly never-ending barrage of new processors and graphics cards, and I can only imagine it's going to continue into 2018.

AMD Ryzen 2 for desktops is almost guaranteed to make its debut, and Intel would likely respond in kind to with its Ice Lake family of processors.

Nvidia has already begun laying the groundwork with it’s next generation Volta graphics card architecture as well. While we’ve only seen a few enterprise components from the Volta family and the Nvidia Titan V, I expect we’ll see consumer and gaming-focused products before the next holiday season. AMD is also likely to release more Vega graphics cards as well.

  • Nvidia vs AMD: which should be your next graphics card?

5 Guides To Great Light For Your Photography

As OP‘s Tip Of The Week writer Russ Burden often states, when it comes to photography, “It’s all about the light.” Use the following guides to get enlightened on some photography lighting techniques.

1. Low-Light Photography


Low-light photography is a challenge. Incorporate the following tips into your workflow to become a better low-light photographer. Read more …

2. Scintillating Sunset/Sunrise Skies


While a colorful sunrise or sunset itself can often stand on its own, the following methods can help bring your images to new heights. Read more …

3. Light Paint


Once dusk turns to near black, there’s still another world of photography that awaits—the world of painting with light. Read more …

4. Low-Light Landscapes


Shoot at dawn and dusk to capture low-light landscape images with alpenglow, cloudy skies, silhouettes, and more. Read more …

5. Using Window Light


If you occasionally want to create the same soft look studio photographers obtain but not shell out big bucks or invest the time learning how to use the gear, learn to master window light. Read more …


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Five photographers share what they’ve learned during their monochrome journeys. Read now.

The post 5 Guides To Great Light For Your Photography appeared first on Outdoor Photographer.

Iconic Locations Assignment Winner Jeff Sullivan

Photo By Jeff Sullivan
Photo By Jeff Sullivan

Congratulations to Jeff Sullivan for winning the recent Iconic Locations Assignment with the image, “Sun Rays on Yosemite Valley Morning Fog.”

“On this sunrise at Yosemite’s iconic Tunnel View overlook, it had rained the day before, but the skies were forecast to clear up overnight, so I figured that it would cool down enough to have the water vapor condense as a ground fog. When we arrived the next morning, it was just thick enough to reach the treetops, creating some nice photographic opportunities.

“There had been several dozen people at this viewpoint minutes before the sun rays appeared, but once the sun cleared the mountains, nearly everyone decided to go get breakfast. Someone in my workshop asked about that, but I said, “Let’s give it another five minutes.” Sure enough, when the sun closed the gap in the clouds and started shining down between them, light rays started moving around the Valley.

“The dynamic range of the scene was too great for one exposure, so the sun ray image was created from five bracketed exposures, adjusted in Adobe Lightroom and combined in PhotomatixPro HDR software.”

See more of Jeff Sullivan’s photography at www.jeffsullivanphotography.com.

The post Iconic Locations Assignment Winner Jeff Sullivan appeared first on Outdoor Photographer.