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Intel pushes out the rest of its Kaby Lake processors for 2017’s PCs

Most (but not all) Skylake CPUs have been updated with Kaby Lake equivalents.

Andrew Cunningham
Intel released the first of its lightly refreshed Kaby Lake processors late last year, but those chips only covered thin-and-light laptops and convertibles. Today at CES, the company officially took the wraps off the rest of the lineup, including a full range of socketed desktop processors, a number of quad-core laptop chips for gaming laptops and mobile workstations, and a few additional laptop chips with higher clock speeds and better integrated GPUs.
Know your codenames
Codename and year Process Prominent consumer CPU branding Tick/tock
Westmere (2010) 32nm Core i3/i5/i7 Tick (new process)
Sandy Bridge (2011) 32nm Second-generation Core i3/i5/i7 Tock (new architecture)
Ivy Bridge (2012) 22nm Third-generation Core i3/i5/i7 Tick
Haswell (2013) 22nm Fourth-generation Core i3/i5/i7 Tock
Broadwell (2014-15) 14nm Fifth-generation Core i3/i5/i7, Core M Tick/"Process"
Skylake (2015-16) 14nm Sixth-generation Core i3/i5/i7, Core m3/m5/m7 Tock/"Architecture"
Kaby Lake (2016-17) "14nm+" Seventh-generation Core i3/i5/i7, Core m3 "Optimization"
Cannonlake (2017?) 10nm TBA "Process"
There are few surprises in this lineup. Broadly, all of these processors feature the same improvements as the Kaby Lake chips we already know about, and almost all of the new chips are simply updated versions of Skylake chips that already exist. Kaby CPUs have slightly higher clock speeds than the Skylake chips they replace, and they're built on a marginally improved manufacturing process Intel calls "14nm+." The integrated GPUs support hardware-accelerated decoding and encoding of 10-bit HEVC/H.265 video streams and decoding of 8-bit VP9 streams. This saves power and CPU cycles and makes 4K playback possible on some systems that wouldn't have been able to handle it before.
HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 are also supported, which (respectively) enable 4K output at 60Hz over an HDMI cable and provide the DRM required to carry an encrypted 4K signal from the thing that’s playing it to the screen that will show it. The maximum supported DisplayPort version remains 1.2, however, dashing the hopes of anyone who wants to drive a 5K display at 60Hz over a single cable using DisplayPort 1.3.
We've got a full review of the high-end Core i7-7700K here. For the rest of the lineup, read on.

U-series: Meet "Iris Plus"

A few 15W dual-core U-series CPUs started shipping back in the fall, but Intel is expanding the lineup with a smattering of new 15W and 28W models that completely replace the equivalent Skylake chips.
Eight of these processors—the 28W i7-7567U, i5-7287U, i5-7267U, and i3-7167U and the 15W i7-7660U, i7-7560U, i5-7360U, and i5-7260U—feature Intel Iris Plus 650 and 640 GPUs. The "Iris Plus" name is new, but the basic configuration really isn't. Like the Skylake Iris GPUs, they use 48 of Intel's graphics execution units (EUs) and include a 64MB eDRAM cache to boost performance. The "Plus" label seems intended to separate them from previous-generation Iris GPUs with no eDRAM and the Iris Pro GPUs with 72 EUs and 128MB of eDRAM.
When we compared the 15W Skylake CPUs with Iris and eDRAM to the 15W Broadwell CPUs without eDRAM, we saw a nearly 100 percent jump in graphics performance. Going from Skylake to Kaby Lake won't yield the same kind of jump, but upgrading from Haswell or Broadwell or anything older will give you a lot more performance.
That said, it's worth noting that virtually no one other than Apple and Intel itself actually uses these chips and GPUs in any of their products. Apple ships them in 13-inch MacBook Pros and Intel ships them in its NUC mini-desktops (including the ones it just announced today). Intel has offered them for years, but they've never been popular with OEMs.
As a footnote, Intel is also releasing two new U-series chips without Iris Plus. The Core i7-7600U and i5-7300U each feature 100MHz faster base clock speeds and 400MHz faster Turbo Boost clock speeds than the previously released i7-7500U and i5-7200U, but they are otherwise identical. This includes their eDRAM-free HD 620 GPUs.

H-series: Quad-core CPUs for laptops

Intel is releasing a total of nine processors in the "H-series" family across the Core i7/i5/i3 and Xeon product lines. Nearly all of these are quad-core CPUs with 45W TDPs; the lone exception is the Core i3-7100H, which is a dual-core, four-thread part with a 35W TDP.
We'll next break down the other eight processors. The i7-7820HK is a 2.9GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) overclockable processor, a follow-up to the first overclockable laptop CPU Intel announced in 2015. The wisdom of overclockable laptop processors aside, these did show up in a handful of high-end boutique gaming laptops. It has an Intel HD 630 integrated GPU—24EUs, no eDRAM—and supports 2400MHz DDR4 RAM and 2133MHz LPDDR3 (up from 2133MHz and 1866MHz in Skylake, respectively).
Five of the others—the i7-7920HQ, i7-7820HQ, i7-7700HQ, i5-7440HQ, and i5-7300HQ—have the same integrated GPUs and same RAM support but lack the overclocking ability. The chart above lists the full matrix of CPU and GPU clock speeds, L3 cache sizes, and presence or absence of vPro support, but the lineup is straightforward enough. Core i5 chips have four cores and four threads; i7 chips have eight threads. And the lineup tops out with the 3.1GHz (4.1GHz Turbo) i7-7920HQ.
Finally, we come to the two Xeons. The E3-1505M v6 and E3-1535M v6 replace the Skylake Xeons. Like those chips, they have a lot in common with the vanilla Core i7s. This includes their 45W TDP and their quad-core, eight-thread CPUs; the HD P630 GPU will also perform the same as the HD 630. The difference is that the Xeons support ECC RAM, which is important for specific workloads where memory corruption absolutely needs to be avoided.
Curiously, there are no processors with Iris Pro GPUs anywhere in this lineup. Again, few OEMs aside from Apple and Intel ever used these graphics processors, and even Apple's latest MacBook Pros exclude them in favor of dedicated GPUs. But it means the Kaby lineup is still falling somewhat short of completely replacing the Skylake lineup.
Listing image by Intel
Intel pushes out the rest of its Kaby Lake processors for 2017’s PCs Reviewed by Chidinma C Amadi on 6:52 PM Rating: 5

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