Kaby Lake, the 7th generation Core processor
Intel has just launched the marketing of its CPU “Kaby Lake”. Skylake successor, it is the 7th generation Core processor. It is also the third series to be engraved in 14 nanometers, which suggests that Moore’s law will no longer be observed; usually only two consecutive processor models so far kept the same fine engraving.
Officially launched this week, Kaby Lake inaugurates neither a new etching process (Tick) or a new architecture (Tock); it is simply an “optimization” of Skylake which is currently in the 5K Retina iMac and MacBook – other Mac have processors of the previous generation, Broadwell. The founder speaks, nevertheless, of a new etching process in “14 nm +”. The + means that tweaks have been added.
Kaby Lake does not bring major improvement
The improvements made by Kaby Lake will therefore not be major. But this does not prevent the founder from talking about performance gains, and to promise new laptops less than one centimeter thick – Kaby Lake is mainly for hybrid PCs.
Intel also forward new uses that will facilitate its new processors: virtual reality 360 videos, or multiple streams of 4K video. The slogan for this 7th generation is “The Immersive Internet,” a term used to designate the nebulous marketing 4K videos and 360 ° virtual reality.
In fact, all of Kaby Lake GPU chips can decode and encode HEVC / H.265 10-bit videos and decode VP9 8-bit. This means that it is the GPU that takes over the operation, allowing the CPU to focus on other features. The other benefit is extended battery life; 7 hours instead of 4 when reading a 4K video encoded in VP9. HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 standards are supported to display videos protected on 4K monitor at 60Hz.
Performance and availability
Logically performance does not change that much. At similar rates, in the U range (the one used by the MacBook Air), Intel promises up to 12% gain in productivity applications and 19% in web applications. This is simply due to higher frequencies increase.
Only few processors are available now. The launch of Kaby Lake is partial. Only six processors are available as of today – the first machines should be unveiled at IFA which will open at the end of the week. Three are part of the Y range in the thermal envelope (TDP) of 4.5 W. It is in this range that Apple draws processors the MacBook 12.