For its 7th-generation Core, Intel is describing its 14nm process as 14nm+. With the move to Broadwell, Intel started to manufacture taller and thinner transistor fins. This essentially allows for increased drive current and performance. A continuation of this technology is enabling Intel to drive greater performance for Kaby Lake with the same power consumption as 6th-generation Core. Better efficiency in the chip also means that the processors can Turbo Boost to higher speeds for longer.
Perhaps the biggest change to the processor is the addition of a new media engine, which can decode Ultra HD video on-chip. Intel’s media engine will decode VP9 and HEVC 10-bit codecs, which covers the most popular Ultra HD formats – especially for streaming. Aside from increased efficiency and higher clock speeds, Intel’s Speed Shift technology will see processors able to change clock speed faster than previous generations. This means in short-burst tasks such as opening apps, Kaby Lake chips will be snappier. There’s also an updated set of chipsets, with desktop motherboards receiving a minor specs bump in line with Kaby Lake chips’ new capabilities.
In short, there will be more PCI-E lanes than before, which means you’ll be able to connect more high-end peripherals without running into speed bottlenecks.
You also now get support for Intel Optane, a new technology Intel previously talked about in relation to ultra-high-performance storage for servers. Here, Intel has incorporated Optane support into motherboards, which will allow users to install a low-cost, low-capacity Optane module onto their system. These modules will likely be low-capacity storage devices that are faster than an SSD but slower than system memory (RAM), providing a performance boost in a similar way to how hybrid hard disks work today.
There’s also been a big improvement in terms of graphics, which could prove to be a big deal for gamers on a tight budget. While Intel HD graphics doesn’t appear to have been hugely improved, new Intel Iris Plus 640 and 650 graphics should see gaming performance improve significantly. Specifically, Intel claims that processors equipped with Intel Iris Plus 650 will show 65% better graphics performance than regular HD Graphics 630. That’s a big deal – and actually makes some lighter 3D games, such as Overwatch, playable in Full HD. We’ll have to test this ourselves to see if there are any caveats.
Intel Core i5 Skylake 6600K - 6'th Gen
3.8 GHz Base / 4.2 GHz Turbo / 6MB L3 Cache / LGA 1151 / 4 Cores; 4 Threads
Intel Core i7 Skylake 7700K - 7'th Gen
4.2 GHz Base / 4.5 GHz Turbo / 8MB L3 Cache / LGA 1151 / 4 Cores; 8 Threads
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