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Intel Core i5-8250U vs Core i5-7200U – two generations collide

Intel’s 8th generation is live and it is currently represented on the market by a few models equipped with the Kaby Lake Refresh chips. One such chip is the Core i5-8250U that we commented a few days back because it ranked 31st in our Top Laptop CPU Ranking.

The Core i5-8250U is the direct successor of the 7th gen Core i5-7200U but it has the characteristic tricks of the 8th gen up in its sleeve so we expect to see a big performance improvement in this comparison.

For the sake of this comparison, we will be using the newest iteration of Acer’s Swift 3 which is one of the first models to hit the market using the new Core i5-8250U. And as for the Core i5-7200U, we will be using the test results from the Lenovo Ideapad Miix 510 which scores impressively high for a 2-in-1 device.

You can check out the full specifications and price of both models in our Laptops Specs system over here:

VS

Specs comparison

The Kaby Lake Refresh chips are based on the same architecture as the 7th gen Kaby Lake and use the same 14nm manufacturing process but for the most part, this is where the similarities between the two compared chips end.

The most important improvement of the 8th gen as a whole over the 7th gen is ditching the dual-core design. Now even ULV chips have four cores and the Hyper-Threading technology is still present so the effective threads are actually eight. What’s more important is the fact that this is accomplished while not increasing the power consumption. This goes as said for the Core i5-8250U which has a TDP of 15W and four cores/eight threads compared to just two cores/ four threads and the same 15W TDP of the Core i5-7200U.

To keep the TDP low while increasing the number of threads, the clock speeds have to take a hit. That’s why the Core i5-8250U has a considerably lower base clock than the Core i5-7200U – 1.60GHz vs 2.50GHz. However, the high boost speeds of up to 3.40GHz of the Core i5-8250U compensate for the low base numbers. This makes up for a huge base-boost clock amplitude of 1.80GHz compared to just 0.60GHz on the Core i5-7200U.

The high amount of threads really improves multitasking and multi-threaded processes while the high boost speeds provide good single-core performance as well. The new Core i5-8250U also has double the cache of its previous generation counterpart – 6MB vs 3MB.

The Core i5-8250U is equipped with the new UHD Graphics 620 integrated GPU, however, it is essentially a rebranded HD Graphics 620. You can check out our article on this issue here. Nonetheless, the iGPU inside the Core i5-8250U has a 100MHz higher maximum frequency compared to the one found in the Core i5-7200U (1.10GHz vs 1.00GHz).

Benchmarks

As expected, the Core i5-8250U performs way better than the Core i5-7200U. The Cinebench 11 and Cinebench 15 benchmarks show the processor’s multi-threaded performance which you can see is more than 50-60% higher. We see that despite the low base clock, the higher number of threads and high boost clocks result in much better performance.

 Cinebench 11Cinebench 15 NovaBench 3 Photoshop
Core i5-8250U 5.95 (+63.5%)531 (+59.9%)878 (+82.9%)10.70s (-59.5%)
Core i5-7200U3.6433248017.99s

Our Photoshop test also represents the percentages in real life performance. To complete the same task, the Core i5-7200U took 17.99s or let’s say it 18 seconds and the Core i5-8250U managed the same task in just 10.70s which is a little over 7 seconds or almost 60% quicker. This time gap will increase with the complexity of the task thrown at the processor, so you can expect a 50-60% quicker rendering with the new Core i5-8250U.

Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)

Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)

Acer Swift 3 (SF315-41, SF315-51) CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Acer Swift 3 (SF315-41, SF315-51) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Acer Swift 3 (SF315-41, SF315-51) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.

Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)

Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)

Conclusion

We can say without any doubt that the new 8th gen Core i5-8250U is indeed quite an improvement over last year’s counterpart. You can safely expect more than a 50% increase in overall performance and even higher in multitasking and multi-threaded performance.  It does not live up to some rumors that claim twice the performance of the Core i5-7200U but nonetheless it is close to it.

The Core i5-8250U along with the other new Kaby Lake Refresh ULV chips provide performance which can rival the HQ processors from the 7th gen while keeping the power consumption as low as 15W. This is truly amazing and it is just the beginning. Intel is yet to release other KBR chips and Coffee Lake HQ and HK models which by the looks of it would provide performance never seen before on a mobile device.

All laptops with Intel Core i5-8250U

All laptops with Intel Core i5-7200U