What is Coffee Lake Processor? (Explained)

What is Coffee Lake Processor?

Coffee Lake processor is the codename given by Intel to the microarchitecture of microprocessor released in 2017 that is manufactured on a tick-tock cycle and 14 nm fabrication process.


  • The Coffee Lake processor comes with enhanced current density and transistor gate pitch, better DDR4 memory as well as Connectivity Integration or Intel Integrated Connectivity I/O interface support and much improved frequency.
  • There are different models in the Coffee Lake lineup such as Coffee Lake U, Coffee Lake S, Coffee Lake H, Coffee lake R and Coffee Lake E.
  • These processes deliver more power or package level current due to the increased number of pins.
  • The pin-out of these processors are quite different even though the socket is an LGA 1151 which is why they are supported by 300 series and not 100 or 200 series chipsets.

Understanding Coffee Lake Processor

Understanding Coffee Lake Processor

Coffee Lake is the name of the design of the micro architecture which succeeds Kaby Lake and is ideal for use in desktop computers as well as high-end mobile devices.

One of the most significant aspects of the Intel Coffee Lake processors is the number of cores in them and not the number of transistors they have.

Ideally, the Core i3, i5, and i7 processors of this variant got a boost with an increase of two cores in them in comparison to their other models.

The latest and the very first Core i9 Coffee Lake processors of Intel come with as many as eight cores.

This increase in the number of cores offers a significant increase in the level of performance without a drastic increase in the price.

This is what makes these particular processors from Intel more competitive to the AMD Ryzen processors.

Each of the desktop and mobile Coffee Lake variant comes with its own die which has four major components such as:

  • The System Agent
  • The CPU core
  • The ring bus interconnect and
  • The memory interface.

The graphics support is provided by three specific interfaces namely:

It is however, the same as that of its predecessor Kaby Lake and supports native fixed function such as HEVC/VP9 decoding for 4K videos at 60 fps and 10 bit, fixed function such as HEVC/VP9 encoding for 8-bit 4K videos, and with specific hardware accelerated video capabilities.

Coffee Lake Lineup

What is Coffee Lake Processor

This particular variant of CPUs was first introduced by Intel in the third quarter of 2017 but down the years the Coffee Lake lineup was refreshed by Intel to make them more mainstream.

Here is the brief description of the Coffee Lake lineup:

  • Coffee Lake U – Also referred to as CFL-U, this is an ultra-low power CPU that is equipped with a GT3e graphics. These processors are ideal to use in light notebooks, minis, portable All-in-Ones, and more.
  • Coffee Lake H – Also referred to as CFL-H, this comes with high-performance GT2 graphics and offers the ultimate mobile performance and is suitable to use in mobile workstations as well.
  • Coffee Lake S – Also referred to as CFL-S, this processor offers mainstream performance. Equipped with a GT2 graphics, this processor will offer a good desktop performance to value. It is also good to be used in All-in-Ones and minis.
  • Coffee Lake R – Also known as CFL-R, this processor is pretty much the same as the Coffee Lake S processors in terms of usage, components, and performance.
  • Coffee Lake E – Also known as CFL-E, this processor is equipped with GT2 graphics and is suitable to be used in workstations and entry-level servers.

It is not difficult to find out whether or not a processor belongs to the Coffee Lake category.

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Just check the model number and if you find it belongs to the 8000 or 9000 family of Intel, such as Intel Core i5 8400 or Intel Core i7 9700K, then it is a Coffee Lake processor.

Major Brands

Coffee Lake refers to the manufacturing code name of the processor and it includes almost the entire recognizable core brand of Intel processors.

For example, you will get Coffee Lake processors in the six major brand families of Intel such as:

  • 4th generation entry level budget Celeron processors with dual cores
  • 5th generation budget level Pentium Gold processors with dual cores
  • 8th and 9th generation low-end performance Core i3 processors with four cores
  • 8th and 9th generation mid-end performance Core i5 processors with six cores
  • 8th and 9th generation high-end performance Core i7 processors with six cores and
  • 9th generation ultra performance Core i9 processors with eight cores.

Out of these, the first two processors are meant for use in the very basic systems and therefore will not support gaming as the other variants would.

Changes Made in Architecture

Since it is the successor of the Kaby Lake processors, there are also some notable changes made by Intel in its architecture on the whole, which is also good to know at this point.

The different changes include:

  • A more improved 14 nm ++ manufacturing process which produces elevated turbo frequencies
  • A more improved IPC or Instructions Per Cycle/Clock from larger cache without any changes made in the actual core
  • More improved system architecture
  • An improved chipset
  • A better and faster memory and
  • Better graphics.

Though the pipeline of Coffee Lake is similar to that of Skylake and the LSD is disabled, it comes with an adequate number of ports and four dies that offer a high performance.

Power Delivery

There are also several enhancements made by Intel in the power segment of the Coffee Lake processors for better and more efficient delivery as well as for breaking the compatibility with Kaby Lake and Skylake processors.

The number of pins in it has been increased so that it supports higher delivery of package-level current to the additional cores and to the power rails in the die.

This helps in handling the additional cores in a much better way.

Motherboard Support

The Intel Coffee Lake processors are typically used with the chipset belonging to the 300 series.

This technically means that these processors will not work with any and every type of motherboard.

Especially, it will not work with those motherboards that come with 100 or 200 series chipsets.

Moreover, the pin out of the Coffee Lake processors is much different from the older processors in spite of the fact that they come with the same physical LGA 1151 sockets.

This particular feature makes the Intel Coffee Lake processors electrically incompatible with several types of motherboards.

Ideally, the types of motherboards that you will need to use an Intel Coffee lake processor include and are not limited to:

  • H310
  • B360
  • H370
  • Z370 and
  • Z390.

All these motherboards come with a varied price tag, in the order of lowest to highest.

The cheaper 300-series motherboards will naturally work better with the low-end Coffee Lake processors and the costlier ones should be used for the high-end ones such as the i7s and i5s.

Manufacturing Process

As for the manufacturing process, the Coffee Lake processor is the fourth processor from Intel with a 14 nanometer processor core manufacturing technology.

The other three are:

  • Broadwell
  • Skylake and
  • Kaby Lake processors.

This actually indicates the size of the individual transistors of the processor.

The smaller the size is, the more transistors can be crammed onto the silicon chip which will offer a better and higher performance in comparison to those that have a larger size.

However, Intel seems to be a bit behind the curve because AMD has switched to the 12 nm core manufacturing technology long before.

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However, the 14 nm technology followed by Intel is much more improved which is why they use their official parlance 14 nm ++ for it.

Coffee Lake Processor Generation

The Coffee Lake processor belongs to the 8th generation and 9th generation of Intel CPUs available on the market now.

These processors have a reasonably high CPU frequency with a higher number of cores that adds to its performance

with additional benefits due to its multithreading ability.

Here is the list of some of the Intel Coffee Lake processors that belong to the 8th generation and from different lineups:

The desktop processors:

  • Intel Core i7 8086K
  • Intel Core i7 8700K
  • Intel Core i7 8700
  • Intel Core i7 8700T
  • Intel Core i5 8600K
  • Intel Core i5 8600
  • Intel Core i5 8600T
  • Intel Core i5 8500
  • Intel Core i5 8500T
  • Intel Core i5 8400
  • Intel Core i5 8400T
  • Intel Core i3 8350K
  • Intel Core i3 8300
  • Intel Core i3 8300T
  • Intel Core i3 8100
  • Intel Core i3 8100F
  • Intel Core i3 8100T
  • Intel Pentium Gold G5600
  • Intel Pentium Gold G5500
  • Intel Pentium Gold G5500T
  • Intel Pentium Gold G5400
  • Intel Pentium Gold G5400T
  • Intel Celeron G4930
  • Intel Celeron G4920
  • Intel Celeron G4900 and
  • Intel Celeron G4900T.

The workstation processors:

  • Intel Xeon E 2186G
  • Intel Xeon E 2176G
  • Intel Xeon E 2146G
  • Intel Xeon E 2136
  • Intel Xeon E 2126G
  • Intel Xeon E 2174G
  • Intel Xeon E 2144G
  • Intel Xeon E 2134
  • Intel Xeon E 2124G
  • Intel Xeon E 2124 and
  • Intel Xeon E 2104G.

The mobile processors:

  • Intel Xeon E 2186M
  • Intel Xeon E 2176M
  • Intel Core i9 8950HK
  • Intel Core i7 8850H
  • Intel Core i7 8750H
  • Intel Core i7 8700B
  • Intel Core i7 8569U
  • Intel Core i7 8559U
  • Intel Core i7 8557U
  • Intel Core i5 8500B
  • Intel Core i5 8400B
  • Intel Core i5 8400H
  • Intel Core i5 8300H
  • Intel Core i5 8279U
  • Intel Core i5 8269U
  • Intel Core i5 8259U
  • Intel Core i5 8257U
  • Intel Core i3 8100B
  • Intel Core i3 8100H and
  • Intel Core i3 8109U.

And, here is the list of some of the Intel Coffee Lake processors that belong to the different lineups of 9th generation:

The desktop processors:

  • Intel Core i9 9900KS
  • Intel Core i9 9900K
  • Intel Core i9 9900KF
  • Intel Core i9 9900
  • Intel Core i9 9900T
  • Intel Core i7 9700K
  • Intel Core i7 9700KF
  • Intel Core i7 9700
  • Intel Core i7 9700F
  • Intel Core i7 9700T
  • Intel Core i5 9600K
  • Intel Core i5 9600KF
  • Intel Core i5 9600
  • Intel Core i5 9600T
  • Intel Core i5 9500
  • Intel Core i5 9500F
  • Intel Core i5 9500T
  • Intel Core i5 9400
  • Intel Core i5 9400F
  • Intel Core i5 9400T
  • Intel Core i3 9350KF
  • Intel Core i3 9350K
  • Intel Core i3 9320
  • Intel Core i3 9300
  • Intel Core i3 9300T
  • Intel Core i3 9100
  • Intel Core i3 9100F
  • Intel Core i3 9100T
  • Intel Pentium Gold G5620
  • Intel Pentium Gold G5600T
  • Intel Pentium Gold G5420
  • Intel Pentium Gold G5420T
  • Intel Celeron G4950
  • Intel Celeron G4930 and
  • Intel Celeron G4930T.

The workstation processors:

  • Intel Xeon XE 2288G
  • Intel Xeon XE 2278G
  • Intel Xeon XE 2286G
  • Intel Xeon XE 2276G
  • Intel Xeon XE 2246G
  • Intel Xeon XE 2236
  • Intel Xeon XE 2226G
  • Intel Xeon XE 2274G
  • Intel Xeon XE 2244G
  • Intel Xeon XE 2234
  • Intel Xeon XE 2224G and
  • Intel Xeon XE 2224.

The mobile processors:

  • Intel Xeon XE 2286M
  • Intel Xeon XE 2276M
  • Intel Core i9 9980HK
  • Intel Core i9 9880H
  • Intel Core i7 9850H
  • Intel Core i7 9750H
  • Intel Core i7 9750HF
  • Intel Core i5 9400H
  • Intel Core i5 9300HF and
  • Intel Core i5 9300H.

Remember, this is not an exhaustive list and the performance of each will vary depending on other factors such as the integrated graphics variants,  number of cores and threads, memory support, cache size and even the Thermal Design Power or TDP.

Are Coffee Lake Processors Good?

Yes, Coffee Lake processors are quite good for users who want to do basic as well as advanced computing tasks on their computers.

Moreover, these processors come with all those features and capabilities that will allow you to have the best gaming experience.

Therefore, if you want to put your computer to the best use while gaming or computing, the Coffee lake processors are good to go for.

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Yes, it is true that there are lots of AMD Ryzen processors that are also equally good to use for gaming as well as for computing tasks but when you use the Coffee Lake Processor you will get that slight frame rate advantage of an Intel processor.

As said earlier, these processors are good to use in desktop computers, mini computers and the All-in-One computers as well.

You can easily rely on this processor while performing jobs like data processing, content creation, and more and the increase in the number of cores and CPU frequency will also offer a notable boost in the gaming frame rates.

What Does Intel Coffee Lake Mean?

Coffee Lake refers to the name of the core of the processor from Intel that falls under the mainstream line of processors in terms of performance.

It is based on the Coffee Lake micro architecture.

Why is It Called Coffee Lake?

Ideally, most of the code names of the Intel processors relate to something or someplace found in North America, especially Oregon. Their naming scheme, right from the early products, related to towns, peaks, bays, lakes, and more.

However, some of their processors are also named differently such as after the Norse God Thor and even Batman, but Intel usually sticks to geographical names more, and now they focus on theme-based names.

The Lake-themed code names of the Intel processors are now more common. You will find everything from Big Lake to Eagle Lake, from Whiskey Lake to Coffee Lake, and from Comet Lake to the more recent Tiger Lake processors.

Previously, the code names were given on the basis of the internal things but today they focus more on the longevity of the product.

And, more importantly, they want to make sure that there are no branding, marketing or legal issues like they faced when they code named Windows 95 as Chicago.

When they code name a processor as a lake, or any other for that matter, they consider three basic things that the name should indicate or give an image of, which are:

  • Speed
  • Strength and
  • Power

That is why they do not name a processor as Strawberry Lake, which is also a place in Oregon.

Though they even thought of going ahead with it, eventually abstained from it because they thought it would remind people of the children’s toys of the Strawberry Shortcake line.

The name Coffee Lake seems to have emerged from the extreme need for a cup of coffee in a meeting while deciding the code name of a new processor model.

However, interestingly, there is really a lake in Oregon by the name Coffee Lake.

Therefore, everything seemed to fall into the right places, knowingly or unknowingly, when the company named the processor Coffee Lake conforming to their taxonomy methodology.

What Socket Do Coffee Lake Processors Use?

Typically, the Coffee Lake processors use a Land Grid Array or LGA 1151 socket which is also known as Socket H4.

This particular socket is highly compatible with the Intel microprocessors and typically comes in two different versions.

The first version of this socket supports both Kaby Lake and Skylake processors of Intel and the second version supports the Coffee Lake processors exclusively.


So, since you are reading this line, you surely must be more knowledgeable about the Coffee Lake processor than you were before you started reading the article.

This knowledge will not only help you to make the right choice when you need to but you can also teach a thing or two to your ignorant friend now.

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 since childhood. He has over 12 years of experience in writing, computer testing, and research. He is not very fond of social media. Follow Him at Linkedin

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