Intel Exec: Seventh-Generation Kaby Lake Processors Usher In The Modern PCs Of 'A New Era'

Intel on Tuesday launched its new seventh-generation Kaby Lake processors with the improved performance and graphics capabilities that customers are looking for in modern PCs, according to an Intel executive.

During a press event, Navin Shenoy, general manager of Intel’s Client Compute Group, said he believes Kaby Lake processors will play into parts of the PC market that are seeing spikes in demand, including the enthusiast, mini PC, and Chrome segments.

’As you play with our new seventh-generation Core [processors], you’ll find that the PCs coming out in the market today are the best ever,’ he said. ’We’re really excited about the embrace we’ve had from our channel and OEM partners for these products and … we’re excited about what this will bring to many different use cases.’

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The new processors include an Intel Core m3 processor and Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 processors. While prices were not immediately available, Intel said it expects OEMs to start shipping seventh-gen systems by the beginning of September.

Intel’s 14-nm processors pack a 12 percent increase in productivity over its sixth-generation Core processor, and has 10 times the performance and power efficiency over its first-generation Core processor, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said.

But beyond performance, Intel is also pushing for better experiences in gaming and virtual reality with its next-generation processors. According to Intel, its 3D graphics performance is 3.5 times better than those of a five-year-old PC.

Kaby Lake also improves user experience with a tightened focus on 4K UHD. With seventh-generation Core, users gain access to ’all day 4K’ battery life, enabling them to video stream 4K UHD for up to 9.5 hours.

Intel’s Kaby Lake lineup includes both its U-Series and Y-Series processors, grouped by their performance and function capabilities.

Its Y-Series Kaby Lake processors, including the Core i7-7Y75, i5-7Y54 and m3-7Y30, feature improvements for ultra-mobility, enabling thin and fanless PC designs. These processors all feature two cores and four threads, and the i7 clocks at a 1.3GHz base frequency, while the i5 clocks at 1.2GHz and the m3 at 1GHz.

One Intel partner believes Kaby Lake will help boost sales to customers that have been waiting for the kind of performance improvements they have been expecting in modern PCs.

"We expect to see benefits as an Intel partner, as always, when clients who were waiting for the next generation of technology before purchasing, staving off obsolescence longer by investing in infrastructure that leads the pack," said Douglas Grosfield, founder and CEO of Five Nines IT Solutions, a Kitchener, Ontario-based Intel partner. "With this chip being the third generation of 14nm chips, we are not anticipating groundbreaking advances, though the benefits of optimized architecture such as lower power consumption are obvious in the evolving mobile space."

Intel’s U-Series, meanwhile, which is comprised of Intel Core i7-7500U, i5-7200U and i3-7100U processors, focuses on enhancing productivity and creativity features for increasingly slim form factors. The i7 processor clocks at 2.70 GHz base frequency, while the i5 clocks at 2.5GHz and the i3 cat 2.4GHz.

Kaby Lake will have the same design as Skylake, representing a break in Intel's "tick-tock" schedule; while the "tick" symbolizes a reproduction in node size, "tock" represents a new architecture.

Although Intel has been utilizing its "tick-tock" schedule since 2007, delays occurred last year. Its 14-nanometer Broadwell chips were pushed behind schedule as chips become smaller and more difficult to manufacture in a hyper-competitive semiconductor industry.

On the security front, Intel’s seventh-generation processor features Intel's Secure Key tool. This feature is a security hardware-based random number generator that can be used to generate high-quality keys for encryption and decryption protocols.

In addition, Kaby Lake processors will have hardware-based integrity protection that helps prevent unauthorized software and malware takeover of system-critical boot blocks, providing an extra level of platform hardware-based security.

’I believe we are on the cusp of a new era …. The PC industry is not monolithic or homogenous. There are many parts that are growing,’ said Shenoy. ’Features like immersive Internet signal Intel’s direction with its product roadmap.’