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Intel Packs Radeon RX Vega Graphics into Core i7-8809G

When news broke late last year that Intel was going to ship a CPU with integrated Radeon graphics, it was weird. There weren’t a lot of details at the time. And Intel seemed anxious to assure consumers that this wasn’t going to be a long term partnership. They took pains to explain that this was a one-off collaboration, and that it would be Intel branded. Still, AMD and Intel working together on semi-custom silicon reminiscent of gaming consoles is cool.

Well Intel released a few more details about the forthcoming chip, thanks to a post on their Indian website. The site featured a chart, listing the mysterious CPU as the Core i7-8809G. This confirms the chip will feature the latest Radeon Vega architecture, but did not go into details about cores or shaders. The initial Intel press release on the chip did state it would use HBM2, which led many to assume Vega would be onboard. But it’s nice to have confirmation.

Interestingly, there are a few signs that even though this is numbered as an 8th generation Core chip, it will be using Intel’s Kaby Lake architecture, rather than their newer Coffee Lake designs. This is all consistent with Intel’s new confusing processor generation naming conventions. Sadly the days of clear delineation of generations thanks to their tick-tock release cycle are gone. The CPU will also include Intel’s HD Graphics 630 on the CPU die, and the CPU will have 4 cores/8 threads, all hallmarks of Kaby Lake.

The base frequency of 3.1GHz might initially seem disappointing. But turbo frequency is curiously missing from the chart, so there might be more headroom to be found there. But the base frequency is excusable, given the listed “100W Target Package TDP”, which is impressively low for a high-end CPU and discrete graphics combination.

I’m not sure if Intel will have more details to come on the chip at CES. But based on the way they’re positioning this, it seems like it’s destined for a specific product. Maybe it’s for a new class of PCs that Microsoft is dreaming up (like Ultrabooks* or the ill-fated UMPC). I wouldn’t be surprised if this is primarily aimed at Apple. Combining a powerful CPU and graphics in a tight thermal envelope sounds like something very useful if you’re building svelte all-in-ones or a Mac Pro.

*Update 1/3/18: Ultrabook is an Intel specification, not Microsoft.

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.

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