How Intel Got 40% More Performance
Doubling the core count in the same TDP packaging is ridiculous, and it isn't easily achievable in the mobile segment where TDP is extremely important and needs to stay low. To keep down TDP additions from double the cores we see Intel had to refine power management, reduce frequency, and improve process. That is why we see a 25% gain from just doubling the cores, as performance per core has to be slightly reduced, and I believe Intel is doing that through a lower base frequency, and countered it with a higher Turbo frequency than previous generation CPUs.
To help bump performance up another 15%, Intel had to go back and optimize the design for another 7.5% and manufacturing processor for yet again another 7.5%. What Intel did to get more performance was boost Turbo clocks above those of the 7th generation processors, and that was done by optimizing the internal design of the processor to make it more power efficient while also applying their 14nm+ process to improve yields and operational frequency.
Intel also stated that while these processors are based on 14nm+ technology, 10nm will be an extension, so it might come out on the 8th generation Core processors.
We wanted to find out how Intel measured this 40% number, and to find out where they got that number, we dug into the footnotes. Footnote "1" tells us that the 40% number was measured by Intel's Office Productivity and Multitasking Workload with an i7-8550U vs. and i7-7500U. Going down further we find that their Office Productivity and Multitasking Workload consists of leaving Slack open in the background, using PowerPoint to export a 2.28MB PowerPoint presentation into an HD H.246 MP4 video presentation, and then while that presentation is being created, they do two things. The first is they take a 6.49MB (844 page) Word document and convert it into a PDF and the second thing they do is take a 70.4MB Excel worksheet and recalculate it.
In that use case scenario, Intel is claiming the new processor does it 40% faster, and that is a use case based on more real-world performance, and the new processors are looking quite impressive. Intel claimed 2.3x faster while multitasking than a five-year-old PC on an earlier slide and so we find footnote "8" uses the same Office Productivity and Multitasking test scenario as the 40% better claim than the previous generation. It pits an i5-8250U against an i5-3317U processor. Intel tunes that number to 2X better when dealing with Productivity and 1.9X better web performance.
We go to footnotes "2" and "3" and find that Intel is using the benchmarks SYSmark 2014 SE and WebXPRT 2015 to get those numbers, which are a little bit less impressive than the real-world scenario. I like how Intel didn't use a benchmark for their 40% number or their 2.3x number. We have been thinking of adding in a multitasking workload in a similar fashion as the core wars have heated up.
Here are the footnotes if you want to look at the exact system specifications.
Here are the test scenario descriptions.
Looking at 4K video creation, Adobe Lightroom editing, and Organize/Edit photos we see Intel's claims are quite impressive too. They are using a mixture of synthetic benchmarks and actual real-world scenarios.
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