Oh, Intel, how you have tickled my N-Spot… Nostalgia.
For those that have not seen the massive barrage of stories, reports and videos, Intel is launching a i7-8086 Limited Edition processor. This processor marks the 40th anniversary of the Intel 8086 processor and just as important as it is 40 years of the x86 architecture.
For you to understand this, lets take a slight look back at this forefather of CPU lineage. Development for the 8086 began in May of 1976. Previous cpus were 8bit, and could address a whopping (yes, I used whopping) 64K (kilobytes) of RAM. On June 8, 1978, Intel released the 8086, and unlike previous CPU’s, this was a 16bit x86 (the.. O.G.) that could address up to a massive (figuratively) 1MB of RAM thanks to its 20-bit bus mode. The 8086 was 10x faster than its predecessor, the 8080, running at a staggering (yes, I know, I will tone it down..) 10Mhz speed. That is 0.75 MIPS (millions of instructions per second) thanks in part to its 29000 transistors on a 3 μm fab. Sexy, right?
To put this into perspective, lets look at a few numbers:
8086, 16bit, 10Mhz, 0.75 MIPS
80386DX, 32bit, 33Mhz 9.9 MIPS (1985)
Pentium, 32bit, 60Mhz 100 MIPS (1993)
Pentium MMX, 32bit, 166Mhz, ? MIPS (Jan 1997)
Pentium II, 32bit, 233Mhz, ??? MIPS (May 1997)
Ok, at this point MIPS stops being a good measurement, and over the years we constantly changed the way we measure a processors speed or performance. Mhz lasted a long time, but once we got into the geat plains of 64bit, multi core processors, multi channel ram, etc.. etc.. etc.. So, lets just say we get a lot of Smiles per Clock Cycle with every new generation. There is a long list of benchmarks that we can go to for cpu performance.
NOW, back to the i7-8086k. What makes this cpu special is several factors.
1. We get quite a few hertz. 5Ghz to be exact. This sexy beast comes with a stock 4Ghz core, and turbo boosts its happy little self to 5Ghz when your games, renderings, or live stream needs that extra kick in the butt speed to get the job done. This is significant as the previous beast, the i7 8700k, had a 3.7GHz base, with a 4.7GHz turbo. I am pretty sure Kitt would approve.
2. Nostalgia. Intel has dropped the i7 8086k 40 years after the launch of its processor forefather. When you hit your 50th anniversary, wouldn’t you do something pretty special to?
3. This is the first 5GHz cpu that does not hit this magic number via overclock. Now, overclocker der8auer did have this cpu overclocked to 7.2GHz at Computex 2018, He achieved this by de-lidding and using liquid nitrogen to really get those thermals down to maintain those numbers long enough to complete benchmarks. Check out the link to see the video, pretty impressive.
4. This is not an extreme edition, massively priced cpu. No, this is a more consumer priced cpu for the masses. There are guesses that the cpu will be priced around $420 to $450. This alone will make this limited edition cpu a viable solution for many users looking to keep a good budget on a good gaming, streaming, and/or entry level workstation. Kudos Intel!
So, lets speak numbers on this Coffee Lake sexy beast. Much like the 8700k, you are getting a 6 core 12 thread (hyperthreading) cpu, a 95 watt TDP (thermal design power) 12MB of L3 cache, support for up to 64GB of DDR4-2666 dual channel memory, Intel UHD Graphics 630 (which supports 4k video, but get serious, we are making this cpu do the happy dance with an add in card.. am I right?), all with the compatibility with the current line of 1151 motherboards.
I am just going to say this, this CPU got me excited with the 5GHz tubro clock, and the fact that it tickled my nostalgia nerve. I will be breaking out a few classic games, like Doom and Total Annihilation tonight, then breaking back into some Overwatch and Fortnite. What makes this special as backwards interoperability with the x86 heritage. It is far and more rare for older software to run on a lot of newer systems, but the x86 somewhat allows it. Lots of backwards compatibility, limited to software and OS support of course, but lots of nostalgia can be had on these x86 beauties. Lan party anyone?
At the time of writing this, in a few short hours, Intel will be opening the flood gates and giving away 8086 of these i7 8086k cpus for 24 hours. After that, this cpu will be “limited edition” and I have not seen if this model will only be available for purchase for a limited time. Just as I finished this, the website was down… So, I guess we will see. In any case, I am very excited to see this cpu and anxious to get my grubby paws on one.