Intel has just launched the first of its 8th generation Core processors: four 15W U-series mobile CPUs. The company says they will offer a 40 percent speed boost over the previous generation, and now feature four cores and eight threads instead of the previous two cores and four threads.

While Intel calls these CPUs eighth gen, the architecture is the same as the 7th gen Kaby Lake chips, which themselves are a minor update of Skylake. The first chips of this generation, referred to as Kaby Lake Refresh, are built on a refined version of the 14 nm+ process, with performance increases coming via the two new cores and improvements to their design and manufacturing (higher clock speeds).

As for the future 8th gen CPUs: Coffee Lake will use a refined 14nm++ process node, while Cannon Lake will be the first to move to 10nm. The recently teased Ice Lake will use the updated 10nm+ process.

The four new u-Series CPUs consist of two i7 chips and two i5 chips. The base frequencies are slightly down from Kaby Lake, though the Turbo modes are higher in the i7s and the same for the i5s.

Table data, courtesy Anandtech

The chips' integrated graphics are essentially the same as those found in the last generation, though the name has been changed from HD 620 to UHD 620 to reflect their suitability for 4K playback and video processing. They're also designed to handle VR and 3D, and come with HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 support as standard.

The first laptops from OEM partners to feature the new 8th generation CPUs are set to arrive next month. Other members of the family, such as Coffee Lake, will arrive later in the year, with the desktop chips set to hit this fall.