Keeping up with dramatic advances in a wide range of technologies from 4K content to virtual reality requires faster, more powerful processors at the heart of its devices, according to Intel. That's why the company today took the wraps off its next generation of chips: the 8th-generation Intel Core processors.

Intel said the new chips, rolling out first for mobile devices, will boost performance by up to 40 percent compared to their 7th-generation predecessors. That improvement is the result of a bump up from two cores to four, a more power-efficient microarchitecture, advances in factory processes, and "a huge range of silicon optimizations," according to Gregory Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's client computing group.

The first notebooks and 2-in-1 devices featuring Intel's 8th-generation Core chips are expected to hit the market starting next month. Bryant added that new processors for desktops will come out sometime this fall, followed by chips for enterprise users.

'Optimized for Simplicity'

Intel's 8th-generation Core processors "open the door to richer, more immersive entertainment, and an experience that is optimized for simplicity," Bryant said in an editorial published today in the company's newsroom. The chip improvements were also made with battery life in mind, he added, noting they'll support up to 10 hours of 4K UHD local video playback on a single charge.

The new line of U-series processors for mobile devices features Intel Speed Shift technology for faster Web browsing and Turbo Boost technology for energy-efficient performance, according to the product brief released today. They'll also support instant waking for devices equipped with Microsoft's Windows Modern Standby.

In addition, gamers and mixed-reality users will notice other improvements arriving with the new chips, which are "Microsoft Mixed Reality-ready," according to Intel. These include simple connections to external graphics via a Thunderbolt 3 connector and support for 360-degree photo and video viewing using Microsoft's HoloLens technology.

Some 10-nm Products Arriving Soon

Despite the enhancements Intel has made to its 8th-generation Core processors, the new chips aren't dramatically different from the 7th-generation, Ars Technica technology editor Peter Bright noted in an analysis today.

"Although Intel is calling these parts '8th generation,' their architecture, both for their CPU and their integrated GPU, is the same as '7th generation' Kaby Lake," Bright said. "In fact, Intel calls the architecture of these chips 'Kaby Lake refresh.'"

The first wave of 8th-generation i5 and i7 processors for mobile devices will also continue to be based on Intel's previous 14-nm manufacturing processes, although coming additions will include some of the company's first 10-nm products, Bryant noted. He added that the improved scalability of the new generation of chips will help support a broad range of new devices, with more than 145 notebook and 2-in-1 designs currently in the pipeline.