Intel Kaby Lake processors will power a new generation of thinner laptops

Intel Kaby Lake

Intel's 7th generation processors have been officially announced and the chipmaker predicts they could help create even thinner laptops.

Skylake CPUs have already led us to ultra-thin machines like the 10.4mm HP Spectre, however, Intel claims with 7th gen (codenamed Kaby Lake) processors, we'll start seeing 10mm thick 2-in-1 laptops and even slimmer traditional clamshell notebooks.

This is all possible thanks to an improved 14nm+ architecture with a thinner fin profile and a more robust transistor channels. As a result, we'll see more efficient chips that only use between 4- to 15-watts to start.

Beyond helping to produce smaller devices, the improved architecture has also led to a 12% process performance increase and 19% better web performance.

Intel Kaby Lake

Made for media and games

The double digit performance increases are impressive, but Kaby Lake processors are also focused on improving 4K video and gaming as well.

7th gen CPUs integrate a new media engine built on a Gen9 graphics architecture, which will allow users to edit 4K video in real time and render an hour of footage in just 12 minutes. Combined with a new VP9 and HEVC 10-bit decode and users should be able to stream 4K video with 'all day battery life' (9.5 hours).

On the gaming front, Intel also demonstrated a 15W chip with integrated graphics is capable of playing Overwatch in Full HD 1080p at roughly 32 frames per second.

Intel Kaby Lake

The secret six

Intel is kicking off its new 7th gen series with a family of six processors. This includes three processors from the U-series destined for Ultrabooks and slim notebooks, while another trio of Y-series chips will power laptops with a convertible or fanless design.

In another shake up, the chip maker is phasing out parts of the Core M-series processor tree. Intel Core m5 and m7 processors have been subsumed into the Core I-series family, while Core m3 will remain as one of the company's most power efficient parts.

Intel projects we will see more than 100 new laptop models sporting this initial lineup of Kaby Lake processors. But this is only the beginning.

In January, Intel will also launch more lines including V-Pro chips to power enterprise and workstation machines, desktop SKUs compatible with the 6th generation socket, Iris graphics-equipped components for gaming, as well as H and HK class parts for enthusiast level rigs.

  • Between Kaby Lake and AMD Zen, the great CPU war is upon us again
Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.