If you aren't familiar with how Intel do business I'll give you a brief synopsis. Every year, say around Sept, Intel releases a new processor. Now how they release their flagship processor is pretty unique sticking to a strict schedule system based off of a clock cycle better known as "Tick Tock". The tick represents the shrinking of the die ( the die is the actual chip itself) and improvements of the current micrarchitecture, while tock is a total reconstruction of the entire processor itself.
Here's the thing, last years cycle was "tock" and its processor was code name Skylake, which by the way was suppose to be the one processor that would hang around for a good while, with no new tick release in sight from Intel.
Here's where it gets rather weird with Intel, being that there is no expected future release based off of the "tick" cycle, something along the way is happening with Intel, in making big gains with their 14nm architecture, this is forcing the chip manufacturer to institute another " tock" processor. With Skylake barely a year in its existence, that tock processor is Intel's newest 7th generation processor better known as Kaby Lake. If you're a hardware junkie like me and monitors industry changing events that takes place in the world of technology, then you're guessing this is a coordinated hardware tweak from Intel, an upgraded version to Skylake, giving abetter handle on 4K video and better performance in gaming. An unorthodox move from Intel to say the least.
The focus on Skylake was to change how the processor consumes power, making big strides in battery performance in all the laptops that housed the processor. With Kaby Lake, the improvements is not big but significant, if your computer owner who casually uses their system to just browse the Internet or play some mundane games such as solitaire then the sudden urge to acquire such a processor is not needed. For the power user, the gamers, the computers user who video edit, I can see why Kaby Lake may indeed peak your interest of purchase.
It's all about 4K
4K video technology has been in existence for couple of years now, yet you won't find many viewing its content on a computer, unless of course you're blessed with having a high end graphic card that's capable of handling such a mass abundance of pixels. There are of course a bevy of TVs and set top boxes that is 4K capable, surprisingly though you'll find myself and many others viewing movies on our computers. Something about watching movies on our devices in close proximity.
The mission at hand with the Kaby Lake processor is to enable users to view 4K content directly on your computer lessening the urge to purchase the high-end graphic card, this of course depends on whether or not your monitor you're currently using is capable of 4K video. In looking at this from a technical standpoint, the processor will be able to decode HEVC 10 bit 4K video, most high definition movies are encoded in this format.
Kaby Lake will also effect how you use your social media platform, one being YoutTube, it will natively decode Google's own 4K codec and VP9 technology. Viewing video on YouTube is now possible without putting a strain on your system.
Are You Game
Kaby Lake processor will have more enhanced graphic capabilities which should smoothly play games such as Blizzard's Overwatch without the need of a dedicated graphics card. But if you plan on playing graphically intensive video with a graphic card, don't expect this processor alone to run games like the Witcher at 60 frames per second. Kaby Lake will still achieve 30 frames per second which is not bad considering that's the norm for anyone who play games on consoles. Its actually three times faster than the Sandy Bridge processor.
Better battery means a better life
Doesn't matter what type of mobile gadget you're using, a better battery life should always be at the forefront with all computer manufactures yet for whatever the reason as hardware improve and become more advance there seems to be less advancement in battery power.
Intel seems to be taking the initiative, for the past couple of years what we're seeing is the power consumption levels in their processors decreasing immensely, we definitely see it with the Intel Skylake processor. With a 14nm architecture, power consumption will be more refined. Intel states with Kaby Lake they're able to stream 7 hours of 4K YouTube video versus 4 hours with SkyLake.
Cramming this processor into a much thinner laptop can now be achieved thanks in part to a lesser dissipation of heat. If you're in the market for a much thinner laptop I would wait until later this year when an influx of Kaby Lake- supplied laptops is expected to land in stores.
Future purchasers of the Kaby Lake processor will notice a big change in how Intel brands its processor. Now there will still be the Core i and m series emblem stamped on its packaging, something we've all grown used to seeing over the years. Instead, we'll now see Core i7, i5, i3 and m3 having the number 7 written underneath, which stands for the seventh generation processor released by Intel under the Core i and m series.
Confuse? Well let me further explain what I'm talking about. See, Kaby Lake will now start with the number 7, so for an example the Core i5-7500U or m3-7Y30 will represent the 7TH generation chip that's manufactured by Intel, for the SkyLake processors you'll see this i7-6920HQ, the number 6 you see amongst the letter means its the 6th generation processor,SkyLake to be exact.
Now each letter and number have a definitive meaning, the Core i5 and i7 processors are generally found in desktop and laptops, while the m3 processors are usually the low powered chips found in your tablets or thin form factor laptops, the Macbook 2016 comes to mind, it has the Intel Core m3 processor.
From my gathered information, expect to see only the lower power processors such as the Y and U series chips make its way to a laptop near you. The more powerful Kaby Lake processors the ones you expect to be found in gaming systems won't be available this year, you'll have to wait until January of 2017.