Intel Kaby Lake: 14nm+, Higher Clocks, New Media Engine

Media Performance

HEVC And VP9 Performance

Intel provided two live demonstrations to illustrate the hardware-accelerated performance gains, and associated reduction in CPU utilization with Kaby Lake (compared to Skylake).

The first demonstration highlighted the combined power draw for both the CPU and GPU during local 4K HEVC video playback. The Skylake system exhibited 50% host processor utilization and 10.2W of power draw, while the Kaby Lake system only required 5% of the CPU and a mere 0.5W of power. The increased efficiency equates to a 20x power reduction and up to 2.6x more battery life.

The VP9 demonstration consisted of streaming YouTube content in Chrome, and while not as impressive, it still delivered a marked increase in efficiency. The Kaby Lake system required ~15% CPU utilization and 0.8W, while the Skylake system consumed nearly 75% of CPU resources and 5.8W of power during the same workload. 

The Net-Net

Finally, we come down to the net gains. Intel broke performance down to three segments, work, create, and game, comparing Kaby Lake to a five-year-old PC. Of course, some will groan with the comparison to such an old system, but Intel contends that the numbers are relevant because a majority of users will migrate from these older platforms to Kaby Lake.

In either case, the company claims a 1.7x increase in work productivity, defined as common tasks like converting Word documents to PDFs, PowerPoint use, and Excel macros. The create portion, which encompasses creating, editing, and sharing 4K videos, showed an 8.6x increase, and the Kaby Lake system provided a 3x boost while playing Overwatch.

In a more relevant comparison for enthusiasts, the company highlighted a few Skylake versus Kaby Lake test results. Intel's measurements indicate a 12% performance increase in SYSmark 2014, which is an application-based benchmark that tests office productivity, media creation, and data/financial analysis workloads. WebXPRT 2015 measures performance with HTML5 and JavaScript-based workloads, and Intel also provided test results that highlight a 19% performance increase over Skylake during common Web browsing activity.

It is important to note that Intel only provided the aggregate performance results in the slide above, but gave us a more detailed test-by-test breakdown in the images below.

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102 comments
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  • What a boring release. LGA 2011-v3 is my platform of interest.
  • dgingeri
    In other words, total yawnfest.
  • ComputerSecurityGuy
    Yup, Skylake Refresh. Higher clocks. Slightly lower power consumption. Probably saw a demo of Overwatch on Iris Pro 680 (580 with 200mHz or so higher clocks. Overall, probably not a very interesting release. The only hopeful thing is they might bring Iris/Iris Pro to lower end or lower power SKUs.
  • 80-watt Hamster
    Sheesh, why all the negativity? As someone who put together a Skylake platform with an i3, I'm looking forward to more capable -K processors being released for the same socket.
  • txhorn
    Kaby Lake's hardware encode and decode of 4k codecs is significantly better than Skylake. VP9 4k decode is down to 10-20% cpu usage from 70-80% usage. That's pretty awesome for HTPC's and high-res portable battery life.
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Typo on page two: "Intel is optimizing its transistors by improving their fin profile with taller fins and a wider gate pitch" That should be a NARROWER gate pitch.
  • digitalgriffin
    $389 for a 2 core 4 thread processor....thanks but no thanks.
  • goblinissimus
    Nothing about USB 3.1 Gen 2, TB3, DP1.3, HDMI 2.0b/HDCP 2.2?
    Also, 12 bit (aka Dolby Vision or DV) HEVC decode would have been nice.
  • digitalgriffin
    You know intel keeps bragging about how you get more battery life. Yet manufacturers keep shrinking the Wh on the batteries and intel keeps raising their prices. You really gain nothing in terms of battery life or cost.
  • 80-watt Hamster
    163358 said:
    $389 for a 2 core 4 thread processor....thanks but no thanks.


    4C8T perhaps you mean? I can't see Intel trying to charge nearly $400 for an i3.
  • spdragoo
    Nope, I thought it was off, too, as that's the price for the 7th-Generation Core i7. However, the table says that even the i7 is only a 2C/4T CPU. But that's because these are the "Kaby Lake-Y", ultra-low power processors...the kind you find in laptops, Ultrabooks, 2-in-1s, & tablets, & the laptops aren't going to be the high-powered gaming/streaming ones either. These are the low-end chips, that aren't expected to be paired with any kind of discrete GPU. So I wouldn't expect a whole lot of performance from them anyway.
  • josejones
    LOL, still no PCIe 4.0 ahh? Geeez
  • ivonakiss
    i5-7200U and i3-7100U have the same price? Why would anyone touch the i3 ?
  • Brian_R170
    Desktop buyers and gamers certainly won't be impressed by these chips, but buyers of thin-and-light laptops will likely appreciate the extra performance and lower power of the fanless-capable Y-series chips.
  • Sizzor
    When are the desktop variant launching ?
  • InvalidError
    1781251 said:
    4C8T perhaps you mean? I can't see Intel trying to charge nearly $400 for an i3.

    Intel's mobile chip pricing (and chip pricing in general) is going out of control. Broadwell chips weren't cheap either. It is as if Intel was begging people to demand more powerful ARM-based laptops and more desktop-like functionality in Android/ChromeOS.
  • prince_13
    only for laptop ? no thanks i wont spend almost $400 for just an 2 cores 4 thread eat it intel !
  • InvalidError
    2291840 said:
    When are the desktop variant launching ?

    "the faster H-series products, which Intel designed for more enthusiast-oriented mobile platforms (like gaming laptops), the S-series (mainstream desktop), HEDT, workstation, and enterprise products are not due until next year."

    In other words, we may have a Broadwell 2.0 here: mainstream desktop chips launching late with no availability and Cannonlake just a few more months out.
  • ComputerSecurityGuy
    Also, desktop Kaby Lake is set to launch about the same time as Zen. That's a disaster waiting to happen. Kaby Lake release day comes and AMD squashes them with a Zen launch.
  • PaulAlcorn
    545051 said:
    Typo on page two: "Intel is optimizing its transistors by improving their fin profile with taller fins and a wider gate pitch" That should be a NARROWER gate pitch.


    That would certainly be the rational approach to increase density, but Intel actually did make them wider, which was a bit of a switch (har) in strategy. I can make the rational assumption that this helps to reduce the channel strain, thus allowing higher voltage/clocks. Unfortunately, we still await more information from Intel (specific measurements, etc.) so that we can provide more accurate information.
  • PaulAlcorn
    1948317 said:
    Also, desktop Kaby Lake is set to launch about the same time as Zen. That's a disaster waiting to happen. Kaby Lake release day comes and AMD squashes them with a Zen launch.


    Excitement!!

    (not sure which way it will go, of course, but exciting either way)
  • 80-watt Hamster
    587530 said:
    Nope, I thought it was off, too, as that's the price for the 7th-Generation Core i7. However, the table says that even the i7 is only a 2C/4T CPU. But that's because these are the "Kaby Lake-Y", ultra-low power processors...the kind you find in laptops, Ultrabooks, 2-in-1s, & tablets, & the laptops aren't going to be the high-powered gaming/streaming ones either. These are the low-end chips, that aren't expected to be paired with any kind of discrete GPU. So I wouldn't expect a whole lot of performance from them anyway.


    Right. I forgot about i3/5/7 not meaning much besides cache and clocks in mobile chips.
  • SteelCity1981
    the biggest improvements were clock speed boost and additional codecs to handle 4k video better but thats pretty much it.
  • TDice
    I just want stuff I can't afford... But this release, I want Nothing to do with. So I am happy that i get to save some more money now ^^ Great Release!