Intel Officially Rolls Out Kaby Lake Chips for Laptops, 2-in-1s
Bob O'Donnell, principal analyst with TECHnalysis Research, told eWEEK that while some of the improvements—up to 12 percent faster productivity performance and up to 19 percent faster web performance—over the Skylake chips may seem incremental, given how long many users hold onto their PCs, the comparisons to those older PCs are what most consumers and business users will be interested in. "That's what really makes a difference," O'Donnell said. Kaby Lake, based on what Intel officials call the company's 14nm+ process technology, comes with its share of enhancements to help drive the emerging applications. The new Y-series Kaby Lake chips, running at 1.0GHz to 1.3GHz, will consume 4.5 watts of power, while the more powerful U-series—at 2.4GHz to 2.7GHz—will run at 15 watts. Both lineups comprise dual-core, four-thread chips, and users will be able to crank up the speeds of both through Intel's Turbo Boost technology. Intel also made improvements to the manufacturing process, using taller fins in its FinFET technology and an enhanced channel for improved performance, efficiency and battery life. Intel officials also noted its Speed Shift technology: In the company's processors, users can turn to the Turbo Boost technology to overclock single cores, but the Speed Shift accelerates that transition, they said.The chips also will mean thinner and lighter notebooks that are significantly faster and more efficient than ones in use today, officials said. Shenoy said some of the upcoming PCs powered by the new chip will offer a full PC experience in form factors that are thinner than phones. He said the company has begun shipping Kaby Lake, and more than 100 systems—including ultrathin laptops and 2-in-1s, which can be used as a traditional notebook or as a tablet—are scheduled to start hitting the market this fall, followed in January by PCs for enthusiasts that will include Intel's vPro technologies. Workstations and servers based on Kaby Lake also will begin appearing next year.
There also is a new video system in Kaby Lake that marks an improvement over Skylake's Gen9 architecture. The 7th Generation Core chips offer dedicated support for 4K HEVC encoding and decoding and VP9 decoding, which Walker said brings better quality to video but also reduces the bandwidth needed.