SAN JOSE, Calif. — Intel refreshed its line of desktop PC processors with six chips made in its 14-nm++ process. Reviewers said that the eighth-generation Intel Core CPUs nudge the x86 giant ahead of rival Advanced Micro Devices despite their lack of significant changes in architecture or process technology.

The so-called Coffee Lake chips arrive seven months after AMD started shipping its most competitive new line of PC processors in years. Although the PC market has generally been in decline over the last several years, PC sales have been on the rebound recently.

A new high-end desktop product, the Intel Core i7-8700K, runs at up to 4.7 GHz, the highest frequency ever for the company. Separately, Intel packed six and four cores in its mid-range and low-end parts that used to sport four and two cores, respectively. However, the low-end CPU no longer supports dual threading.

Overall, “clock speeds don't change much, and in fact, base clock speeds dropped in some cases,” said Kevin Krewell, analyst with Tirias Research. “Single-threaded applications can see small performance increases when the boosted clocking is engaged … [and] the extra cores will help threaded applications perform better.”

The new chips will be available starting October 5. Systems using them will ship before the end of the year.

Observers expect a more significant milestone next year when Intel is expected to start shipping its first PC chips code-named Cannon Lake using its 10-nm process. Meanwhile, Globalfoundries revealed last week that it is working with AMD on a 12-nm node, likely for a refresh of AMD’s Zen-based chips in 2018.

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New Core desktop CPUs see faster data rates or get more cores. Click to enlarge. (Source: Intel)

— Rick Merritt, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, EE Times Circle me on Google+

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