Coffee Lake and Kaby Lake: 12 Differences

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If you want to make the best choice given the options of a Coffee Lake and a Kaby Lake processor, you will first need to know the differences between them.

There are quite a lot of them and you may be aware of some of them but not all. Well, do not worry because you are in the right place.

Here you will find them all and a specific section with all other vital information to enhance your knowledge about a Coffee Lake and a Kaby Lake processor and help you to make the right choice eventually.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The pin configurations and the number of cores of the Kaby Lake processors are typically different from that of the Coffee Lake processors.
  • The stock speed of the Coffee Lake processors is slower than the Kaby Lake processors but the Turbo speed is higher.
  • The Coffee Lake processors can run faster memory easily but will run typically on 300 series chipsets. The Kaby Lake processors may support slower RAM but are compatible with the 100 and 200 series chipsets.
  • The gaming and multitasking performance of the Coffee Lake processors is higher and so are its cost and TDP in comparison to the Kaby Lake processors.

12 Differences Between Coffee Lake and Kaby Lake Processor

Differences Between Coffee Lake and Kaby Lake Processor

1. Date of Launch

The Intel Coffee Lake processors were announced on September 25, 2017 and were released on October 5, 2017.

On the other hand, the Intel Kaby Lake processors were first released on August 30, 2016.

2. Generation

The Coffee Lake processors belong to the 8th and 9th generation of the Intel processor family.

On the other hand, the Kaby Lake processors belong to the 7th generation of the Intel processors.

3. Pin Configurations

The pin configuration of the Coffee Lake processors consists of 391 VSS pins for ground, 146 VCC pins for power, and 25 reserved pins.

On the other hand, the Kaby Lake processors come with 377 pins for ground, 128 for power, and 46 reserved pins.

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4. Number of Cores

The number of cores and threads of the Intel Coffee Lake processors typically ranges from 4 cores and 8 threads to 6 cores and 12 threads.

On the other hand, the number of cores and threads of the Intel Kaby Lake processors usually ranges from 2 cores and 2 or 4 threads to 4 cores and 4 or 8 threads.

5. Frequency

If you consider the stock frequency or speed, the Coffee Lake processors usually run slower in comparison to the Kaby Lake processor.

On the other hand, the Kaby Lake processors usually have a higher frequency.

6. Turbo Speeds

In spite of the lower frequency, the Coffee Lake processors can operate at a higher turbo speed.

On the other hand, the Kaby Lake processors typically operate at a lower Turbo speed and therefore the single threaded applications suffer a bit.

7. Memory Support

The Coffee Lake processors can run much faster RAM with their native support of DDR4 2666 without any potential problems.

However, on the other hand, the Kaby Lake processors can run such RAMs but may have some system instability due to the lack of native support.

8. Motherboard Compatibility

The Coffee Lake processors will not work with any and every motherboard since it is compatible with 300-series higher-end and pricier motherboards only.

On the other hand, the Kaby Lake processors are compatible with 100-series or 200-series motherboards.

9. Gaming Performance

The Intel Coffee Lake processors, due to their better features, offer about 25% better performance while gaming.

On the other hand, you may not get that kind of performance when you use a Kaby Lake processor in your computer.

10. Multi-Tasking Performance

As far as multi-tasking is concerned, the Coffee Lake processors can offer about 45% higher performance due to their larger number of cores and threads.

This will help you a lot when you perform tasks like rendering and 3D modeling.

On the other hand, the lower number of cores and threads in the Kaby Lake processors affect their performance when it comes to multi-tasking.

11. The Cost Factor

The cost of the Coffee Lake processors is relatively quite higher due to the enhancements and in their features and design.

On the other hand, the price of the Kaby Lake processors is comparatively lower due to the lower core count, clock speed and other features.

12. Thermal Design Power

The Thermal Design Power of the Coffee Lake processors max out at 95 watts which is a bit higher in comparison to the TDP of its Kaby Lake counterparts.

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Which is Better – Coffee Lake or Kaby Lake?

There is no doubt that the Coffee Lake processors are better than the Kaby Lake processors being the successor and an upgraded version of the latter.

Still, the choice of upgrade typically depends on the computing needs, usage, as well as the preferences of the users.

If you are a casual gamer and use your computer for basic computing tasks, then you should not worry too much about which particular processor among the Kaby Lake and the Coffee Lake you should install in your computer.

This is because you will hardly notice any difference when you restrict your usage to the bare necessities.

Investing an additional sum of money on a Coffee Lake processor is only recommended for those who are looking for advanced features and functionalities in a processor.

Therefore, you should go for an Intel Coffee Lake processor if:

  • You are a user of intensive and heavy applications
  • You are an intense gamer and
  • You do a lot of multi-tasking.

In such situations, you will find your investment to be really worthy.

Remember, there are a few similarities in the Intel Coffee Lake and Kaby Lake processors such as:

Therefore, with such similarities in them, you will hardly see any difference even when you play games at ultra settings.

This is because, in such situations, the performance will vary only on the basis of the variance in the GPU.

The increased number of cores, Turbo speed and other features of the Coffee Lake is welcome but the use of a UHD graphics does not offer a major difference in performance when compared with the Kaby Lake processors.

Therefore, everything will depend largely on the real-world performance because it is then that the additional cores and threads will come in handy while performing multi-threaded tasks such as 3D modeling.

You will also need to factor in the cost to performance ratio in the equation to determine the eventual benefits.

As said earlier, the Coffee Lake processors are more expensive than the Kaby Lake processors and therefore, if there is no big improvement in performance, such investment may not offer high returns.

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And, then, also consider the investment in premium 300-series motherboards since the Coffee Lake processor will not work on any other.

Therefore, looking at the downsides, building a new rig on Coffee Lake processor from scratch may not turn out to be very lucrative.

However, that does not mean the Kaby Lake processors are better.

Remember, it has even an older generation architecture and comes with almost the same features as the Coffee Lake processors.

Now, the final choice is yours.

One last thing: Please do check about the availability of the particular Coffee Lake or Kaby Lake processors that you wish to install in your computer, especially if it is a desktop computer.

This is because a lot of Kaby Lake as well as Coffee Lake desktop processors have been discontinued by Intel and a lot are in the process to be discontinued soon, if they have not been not already.

Please do check the product discontinuance or Product Change Notifications on the internet before you finalize so that you do not look for a specific model that has been long discontinued.

For example, as of now you will get the 8th generation Coffee Lake Xeons since others were discontinued last year and the desktop Kaby Lake processors have been discontinued in October, 2020.

So, a little bit of further research is required to make a decision between Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake processors apart from the knowledge of the differences between them.

Conclusion

So, with all that information about the difference between Intel Coffee Lake and Kaby Lake processors, now you know which one is most suitable for your computer.

However, consider the cost benefits, as well as the availability of the processors especially, to make a worthy investment.

About Dominic Cooper

Dominic CooperDominic Cooper, a TTU graduate is a computer hardware expert. His only passion is to find out the nitty gritty of all computers. He loves to cook when he is not busy with writing, computer testing and research. He is not very fond of social media. Follow Him at Linkedin