If you’ve been using a seventh-generation, dual-core Intel processor for your everyday computing needs, prepare to be dazzled by the new Intel Core i5-8250U processor. This eighth-generation processor with four cores is a massive jump in the mainstream Core U lineup and offers a significant boost in performance. Interestingly, this processor manages to up the ante while retaining low power consumption at 15W. This makes it an ideal choice both for day-to-day tasks and more intensive activities such as streaming 4K videos and indulging in some amount of gaming.
The i5-8250U is designed according to the 14nm lithography process and comprises four cores and 6MB cache. It can support eighth threads at once, which makes it excellent for multithreading endeavors. So, does the upgrade justify the hype around it? Let’s find out.
Performance & Speed
The base frequency of this processor is rather low at 1.6GHz, but it can be Turbo Boosted up to 3.4GHz. This is only slightly lower than the maximum boost offered by some i7 processors (3.7GHz–4.0GHz). Also, the support for eight simultaneous threads results in a considerable advancement in function. Of course, you won’t be able to detect much difference if you only use your laptop for single-thread tasks like working on documents and decks. However, the difference is palpable when you stream videos, browse the internet while also working on spreadsheets, etc.
A significant win for the i5-8250U is its low TDP (Thermal Design Power) of 15 watts. This is comparable to what you get on lower-grade CPUs, which means you get higher performance without the associated heating. However, you might want to check that the cooling system of your laptop is up-to-date. After all, how warm your computer gets with use will also depend on its heat dissipation mechanism.
The i5-8250U supports memory up to 32GB (DDR4-2400, LPDDR3-2133); the maximum memory bandwidth is 34.1GB/s. You get two memory channels. The memory specifications are adequate for all everyday needs, even though they are lower than that of some i7 launches (up to 64GB).
Display & Graphics
Not much has improved on this front, as the i5-8250U continues to offer graphics support for integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 at a maximum dynamic frequency of 1.10 GHz. The highest screen resolution supported is 4096 x 2304 (at 60Hz). You can stream 4K output, as well as get support for Intel Quick Sync Video, OpenGL, and Intel Clear Video technology. The CPU lets you plug in up to three displays.
As the graphics solution remains integrated, you will fall short of gaming-grade clarity and detail. But the superior CPU power should give you an upswing when you engage in gaming activities that involve multiple threads and benefit from the two extra cores. (What you miss out on display can always be fixed by a dedicated GPU with a refresh rate of 144Hz and a standalone graphics card.)
The Intel Core i5-8250U processor is undoubtedly a worthy upgrade in the U lineup. It will please everyone who’s looking for a more powerful processor without compromising on the battery life or the overall portability of the machine. With substantial improvements in performance and a competent chipset that supports Intel Optane, Intel Virtualization, and Speed Shift, this one is a CPU to be reckoned with.