The Intel Core i7-8559U: A Breakdown of its Architecture, Performance and Power Consumption

Core i7

The Intel Core i7-8559U is a quad-core SoC (system on a chip) for notebooks that was announced in April 2018. It is based on the Coffee Lake architecture and offers a significant improvement over its predecessor, the Core i7-7567U. The i7-8559U boasts a base frequency of 2.7 GHz, with the ability to turbo boost all the way up to 4.5 GHz. In addition, it is equipped with an Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 GPU with 128 MB eDRAM, a dual-channel memory controller (DDR4), and supports VP9 and H.265 video decoding and encoding.

The architecture of the i7-8559U is similar to that of Kaby Lake, so per-MHz performance does not differ significantly. Intel has reworked the Speed Shift technology to allow for faster dynamic adjustments of voltages and clocks, and the improved 14nm process allows for much higher frequencies and better efficiency than before.

Performance-wise, the i7-8559U is currently the fastest quad-core ULV (ultra-low voltage) processor from Intel. Whether these speeds can be sustained in practice depends on the cooling capabilities of the laptop, but the performance should be above the Core i7-8650U due to the increased TDP (thermal design power). The i5-8259U should still be faster than the i7-8550U in practice thanks to the increased TDP, especially during sustained workloads.

In terms of graphics, the integrated Intel Iris Plus 655 Graphics is the GT3e model of the Coffee Lake GPU (Intel Gen. 9.5). It has 48 Execution Units running at 300-1200 MHz and has performance comparable to a GeForce 930M or 940MX thanks to the fast eDRAM cache. However, there are no significant improvements compared to the old Iris Plus 650, so modern games may not be able to run smoothly or only at the lowest or medium settings.

The i7-8559U supports H.265/HEVC Main 10 with a 10-bit color depth as well as Google's VP9 codec. The dual-core Kaby Lake processors announced in January also support HDCP 2.2.

Power consumption for the i7-8559U is efficient thanks to the improved 14nm++ process with FinFET transistors. Intel specifies the TDP at 28 watts, which can be reduced to 23 watts depending on the usage scenario. This is relatively high compared to the common 15-watt TDP for quad-core processors, but it allows for better utilization of CPU and GPU Turbo.

In conclusion, the Intel Core i7-8559U is a powerful and efficient quad-core SoC for notebooks that offers significant improvements over its predecessor. Its high clock speeds and improved graphics capabilities make it a great choice for demanding tasks such as video editing and gaming. However, it is worth noting that the TDP is relatively high and may require a more powerful cooling system to sustain performance. Overall, the i7-8559U is a solid option for those looking for a powerful and efficient processor for their notebook.

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