The wait is over. A new family of Intel core processors has arrived. Named Kaby Lake, the Intel 7th-generation processor is an interesting chip for individuals who are having an ancient rig, love to stream ultra-definition videos or play processor-intensive pc games—or a combination of all.
A few PC enthusiasts had the opportunity to see and experience what the Intel Kaby Lake processors could do during the Intel Developer Forum. In the demo the processor’s integrated graphics has exceeded expectations by running the triple-A game Overwatch on a Dell XPS 13 laptop. Coupled with the recent positive reviews of the 7th-Gen XPS 13, the PC gaming community has never been this excited.
The Kaby Lake processors have given us a head-start on its capability and how it is going to power the new batch of ultrabooks and 2-in-1’s. So far consumers have a lot to discover from the recently introduced processors of Intel, but here are some important facts that you need to know:
1) The 7th-Gen Processors are available for the taking.
Last November, Intel’s Mobile Client Platforms General Manager Chris Walker has mentioned that at least a hundred newly designed ultrabooks that sport a 7th-Gen processor would be available at the last quarter of this year. And guess what? The 7th-Gen processors from the 4.5-watt to 15-watt category are finally on the store shelves now, and as expected driving the latest ultrabook and 2-in-1 notebooks.
The next foray of the new processors will be the VR (virtual reality), enterprise, workstation and gaming market. They are expected to materialized on the mentioned areas next month, January 2017, and it indicates enthusiasts will finally get their hands on their desired notebooks.
2) It ain’t new but has an improved architecture.
The 6th-Gen Skylake architecture has been improved and refined, and the result is the Kaby Lake processors. Yes, the 7th-Gen Processor family is still standing on a familiar architecture introduced last year—which means it may still use motherboards with LGA1151 sockets, but Intel claimed it enhanced the transistor channel which resulted to a power-efficient microarchitecture. In a nutshell, Intel refused to move away from the 2015 Skylake; nevertheless, it promised a boost in performance with a dramatic decrease in power requirement.
3) The two 4.5-watt chips sport a new name.
The Core m5 and m7 names have been ditched, and the new low-powered processors are coming with a new tag: Core i5 and Core i7. Intel is hoping to get rid of the confusion the former names have brought—consumers didn’t really know the difference of Core m5 to Core i5. Specifically, the 4.5-watt chips—formerly the Skylake Y series—don’t perform as good as the 15-watt U series chips. If you see a “Y” on the name of your processor, you have the low-powered CPU.
Intel, however, doesn’t want to totally throw the Core M brand. So, the entry-level processor comes in a small package with a name Core M3. It is the cheapest but the slowest among the lineup. Now, you will see in PC stores laptops powered by Core M3, Y Series Core i5 and Y Series Core i7.
4) It is a sizeable boost to the former processors.
Enthusiasts would not likely replace their Skylake rig with the 7th-Gen build. Nonetheless, Intel says that the Kaby Lake can place an additional 12 percent gain in productivity as shown by SYSmark test on the 6th-Gen Core i7 6500U and the 7th-Gen Core i7 7500U. In addition, a 19 percent boost—performance-wise—was recorded by WebXPRT 2015 for 7th-Gen Core.
When placed with older CPU’s, the difference in performance becomes noticeable, and Intel is putting their money on this one. Most of the upgrade would come from older platforms, as the upgrade onto the 7th-Generation Kaby Lake offers more than a 100-percent increase in processing power.
5) It plays through-the-roof video resolutions minus the hiccups.
As 4K-resolution videos and Virtual-Reality gaming do its foray in the entertainment and gaming industry, Intel hasn’t blinked and has kept itself a step ahead. The 7th-Gen processors enter the market with Intel’s newest video engine, which is designed to withstand the slaughter of either super-definition video streaming or 360-degree virtual-reality gaming.
In detail, the new core processors sport a VP9 decode ability and HEVC 10-bit decode capability, dramatically adding video-decoding power and further propelling efficiency in the utilization of energy while multitasking.
In an experiment done between a 7th-Gen and a 5-year-old processor, the former chip attained a result of 15 times faster than the latter in terms of creating video highlights in almost real-time. In converting a one-hour 4K-resolution video, it only took 12 minutes for the latest Intel processor to complete the task, which is 6.8 times faster than the 5-year-old chip.
6) It lasts longer during playback.
The 7th-Gen chips can last seven (7) hours during playback of 4K-resolution, 360-degree YouTube videos, a significant boost of the 4-hour battery life of the 6th-Gen chips doing the same task. The 7th-Gen can stay the entire day—yes, 9.5 hours—if the demand is only streaming of 4K videos.
7) It has awesome features.
Aside from the raw power the 7th-Gen has, Intel has designed it to perform efficiently through Intel’s Turbo Boost 2.0 technology. Through the said feature the chip has full automation and control in processing performance and power by detecting the current demands of a task. When the demand requires a higher processing power, the Turbo Boost 2.0 technology pushes the chip to climb to a higher frequency—measured in Gigahertz (GHz).
The second key feature of the chip is Intel’s Hyper Threading technology. Although it is present with the previous family of processor, the 7th-Gen chips make the most of this key feature as its high single-core performance is doubled when completing a task.
As if the above features aren’t enough, Intel has incorporated the 7th-Gen core processors with Speed Shift technology, which is indispensable to run todays applications. This amazing addition permits the chips to hastily skyrocket and quickly land on the best and most stable processing frequency per task at hand. The enumerated features and add-ins to the 7th-Gen machine make it possible for Intel to deliver unparalleled performance and topnotch efficiency.
Overall, the 7th-Generation Kaby Lake may not be a significant upgrade from the 6th-Generation Skylake, but the former is the fastest and most advanced processor that Intel has right now. So, if you are building a powerful computer system, the 7th-Generation core processor is the best choice among the bunch.