Intel's Kaby Lake 7th Gen CPUs
With Intel's shift away from tick-tock and towards process-architecture-optimization, we finally have the first of many third installments of the same node. Intel introduced its 14nm process on Broadwell, it introduced a new microarchitecture on 14nm with Skylake, and it is delivering an optimization of their 14nm process with Kaby Lake. By definition, Kaby Lake is the final installment of Intel's 14nm node, they have dubbed it 14nm+ (plus).
Kaby Lake is Skylake's successor and brings more to the table regarding integrated graphics improvements than it does new CPU features. That isn't to say Intel has stayed stagnant on the CPU side; the 14nm+ process employees faster transistors and brings in 15-20% higher frequencies on the mobile side. Intel will keep their normal naming scheme for the Core family, but they have done away with Core M5 and M7 names, but not M3.
Intel's timeline is also worth a look. Kaby Lake won't launch all at once; Intel is waiting for after the holidays to release desktop and higher-end models. In the next few months, we will see Y and U series CPUs ranging from 4.5W-15W designed for mobile devices. Enterprise, workstation, Iris graphics, and H (high-end mobile) and S (desktop) series CPUs will come early next year. Intel's improvements to their 14nm node should bring noticeable frequency gains, which are always welcomed. The improved process will also allow for all cores to Turbo to maximum frequency at the same time instead of just one. While an i7-6500U was maximum 3.1GHz, the i7-7500U will run at a maximum of 3.5GHz.
So why is Intel focusing on its integrated graphics? The answer is simple - 4K video isn't a walk in the park. At an NDA briefing at IDF 2016 in San Francisco, Intel showed off some future notebooks using their 7th generation processors as well as a growing number of 4K capture devices. Most people know that the very popular GoPro cameras capture in 4K, but now with improvements to Intel's integrated graphics, working with them on-the-go should be much easier.
While 4K capture was very niche in the past, it has become more mainstream as everything from your phone to your drone can capture in this ultra-high resolution format. I have an Ivy Bridge laptop and a Panasonic camera that records 4K at 100 Mbps, and I can't even play back the video without the laptop screaming, and even then the video lags. Skylake brought a lot of improvements in regards to 4K, but Kaby Lake promises even more.
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