The need for improvement in CPU performance never abates in this age of enthralling gaming and grueling multimedia pursuits. Keeping this in mind, Intel has launched the Intel Core i7-8550U quad-core processor that is equipped to handle everything you throw its way. An eighth-generation processor based on the Coffee Lake architecture, this CPU adapts itself well to most intensive activities including contemporary games.
The i7-8550U is a quad-core processor with an 8MB cache that is built to support four threads at once. It has been constructed using the 14nm process which is among the most advanced architectural processes of these times. The architectural finesse helps this CPU deliver an improved competence during multitasking and hyper-threading. Interestingly, the i7-8550U is now also available as a quad-core processor (4 cores, 8 threads)—a fantastic option if you seek extreme performance. Coming to the million-dollar question: is it worth paying the premium that you have to shell out for the i7 range of Intel processors? Let’s attempt to answer that.
CPU Performance, Speed & Efficiency
This CPU delivers a lower base frequency than you might expect—1.8GHz. However, the Turbo Boost frequencies are remarkable. You can overclock the processor up to 3.7GHz–4.0GHz. The result is significant performance gains during both single-core and quad-core activities. This means you can experience scintillating performance during short workloads that demand great power but also drop back to more standard frequencies during everyday tasks.
The TDP (Thermal Design Power) of the i7-8550U is only 15 watts. It’s a comfortable metric that lets you go along without the need for the hyper-efficient cooling solutions required by CPUs with greater TDP settings (say, 45W in the Intel Core i5-8300H).
The i7-8550U supports memory up to 32GB (DDR4-2400, LPDDR3-2133). This is a tad lower than the memory you can expect in more recent i7 launches such as the Intel Core i7-8750H (up to 64GB). The maximum memory bandwidth is 34.1GB/s. You have to go without Error-Correcting Code memory or ECC.
Display & Graphics
With this CPU, you get graphics support for integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 at a maximum dynamic frequency of 1.15 GHz. Since the graphics solution is still integrated, you cannot expect exceptional detail or vividness. However, this is hardly a limitation if you can acquire a laptop with a dedicated GPU and a 144Hz-display.
In terms of the screen resolution, the i7-8550U processor offers up to 4096 x 2304. It also supports 4K output, Intel Quick Sync Video, OpenGL, Intel Clear Video technology, and DirectX. Further, you can plug in up to three displays.
The Intel Core i7-8550U processor is, without doubt, a competent addition to the i7 range that performs excellently during the most frantic of computing tasks. The chipset offers several useful plusses including support for Intel Optane, Speed Shift, and Intel Virtualization Technology. Here’s the golden rule to guide your upgrade decision: The i7-8550U is tailored for audiences that demand hyperthreading and multitasking, say, coders, mathematicians, gamers and design professionals. You’ll be unable to notice much of a difference if your regular tasks involve only web browsing and penning down documents.