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What We Now Know About Kaby Lake

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It’s officially that time of the year: Intel has begun rolling out information about their new 7th generation Core CPU, Kaby Lake. Kaby Lake is the first post “tick-tock” CPU architecture. What does that mean? Well, since the early 2000’s Intel has revealed their latest CPU’s in what they refer to as the Tick-Tock model, where they follow every microarchitectural change (Tock) with a die shrink of the process technology (Tick). The difficulty of decreasing process node size from 14nm to 10nm has lead to a different development cycle, known as PAO, or Process, Architecture, Optimization. Kaby Lake is the first of the Optimizations steps, similar to previous refreshes, like the Haswell Refresh and Devil’s Canyon.

Microarchitectures have included Core (’06), Nehalem (’08), Sandy Bridge (’11), Haswell (’13) and Skylake (’15). Essentially, Kaby Lake is a face-lift of the 14nm Skylake with some power and efficiency improvements included.

Die shrinks have included Westmere (’10), Ivy Bridge (’13) and Broadwell (’14). The next expected die shrink is code named Cannonlake and is schedules for sometime in the second hald of 2017. Cannonlake will be the Process part of the cycle and will still use the Skylake microarchitecture.

Here’s a list of what we have learned so far:

It’s not pronounced Cabbie Lake

The correct way to pronounce Intel’s 7th generation CPU, Kaby Lake, is “Kay-bee” Lake, not Cabbie Lake. This is important to remember.

14nm+

While Kaby Lake is not a complete makeover, there are enough power and efficiency improvements to be considered 14nm+. Kaby Lake will be able to run at much higher clock speeds than the former 6th generation Skylake CPU’s. Intel claims Kaby Lake will be able to hit about 3.5GHz, compared to Skylake’s 3.1GHz.

4K Ready

Kaby Lake is said to offer 2.6x better battery life when running a 4K 10-bit HEVC video, and cut power consumption from Skylake’s 10.2 Watts to a whopping 0.5 Watts. Intel claims Kaby Lake will be able to power up to EIGHT 4K resolution AVC and HEVC videos instantaneously. This means you can one small system will be able to power the ultimate 4K TV wall in a restaurant or man cave.

Gaming Power

Running Overwatch at 1280×720 resolution in the game’s mediym quality settings, Kaby Lake was pushing about 30 FPS, using a petite Dell ultrabook. When matched with the proper equipment, expect Kaby Lake to push frame rates to the limit.

Office Productivity

According to Intel reps, the improvements made to the Speed Shift technology, combined with the manufacturing and production techniques, will produce a 12% increase in office application performance and nearly a 19% increase in surfing performance.


Just a millennial writing about a tech and stuff. Cheers.

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