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Intel Unveils Newest Chips To Speed Laptops

August 21, 2017, 7:01 AM UTC

Intel kicked off the introduction of its latest generation of “Core” microprocessors on Monday with a line of chips aimed at mid-range laptops and tablets.

Those markets have yet to feel much competition from Advanced Micro Devices, which has launched a strong offensive against Intel this year after years of struggles. Devices with the new Intel chips should go on sale for consumers in September, Intel said.

Wall Street has become increasingly worried about AMD’s threat to Intel, putting pressure on Intel to improve its new product and speed up their introduction. Last month, Intel unveiled new server chips that were still based on based on earlier designs, but CEO Brian Krzanich has promised that servers will get the first fruits of new chip generations within a few years.

Shares of Intel have been about unchanged over the past three months compared to a 3% gain by the S&P 500 Index. Meanwhile, AMD shares have gained 10% and Nvidia (NVDA), which is increasingly taking on Intel in the server chip market, has seen a 22% jump over the same period.

The newest Intel chips carry the same basic names as earlier generations, dubbed the Core i7 and Core i5 U series. The mid-range mobile chips are aimed at thin laptops and tablets that can run Microsoft’s Windows software. Last year’s seventh gen U-series chip made it into Microsoft’s Surface Laptop, which starts at $1,000, and more tablet-like devices with detachable keyboards known as 2-in-1s, like the 12-inch Samsung Galaxy Book, which costs about $1,300.

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Intel claims its new, eighth generation of chip is “up to 40% faster” than last year’s chips, although the gains are only on benchmark tests run by the company. Third-party reviews will evaluate the chips in coming weeks. The new line increased performance with chips that run at a higher frequency, or clock speed, than last year’s, while also including enhancements like more cache memory and doubling the number of individual processing cores to four from two.

Intel has already planned additional chip launches within the latest family of designs, says Chris Walker, general manager of Intel’s (INTC) client mobility group. “You’ll see multiple waves, multiple announcements from us—notebook is just the start,” Walker says. New chips for desktops will arrive in the fall and for higher-performance notebooks, like Apple’s (AAPL) 15″ MacBook Pro line up, early next year.

AMD (AMD) has introduced a series of new chip designs this year, including Ryzen processors for desktop PCs, Epyc chips for corporate servers, and a line of graphics cards powered by its Vega chip. But laptop chips aren’t expected until later in the year.