Intel first 8th generation processors are just updated 7th generation chips. What generation is kaby lake

In 2017, Intel introduced the Kaby Lake processor refresh as a new 8th generation version. The details are the same as for the 7th Gen Intel processor, but some 8th Gen chipsets support DDR4-2666 RAM but not DDR3L RAM.

Difference Between Intel Processor Generations

The last time I went to a computer store to inquire about the latest laptop prices, I was told the new laptop had a 4th generation Intel processor. I asked the person about the difference between the first and fourth generations, but he was unable to answer correctly saying that the fourth generation was faster than the first, second and third generations.

So I went home and I wanted to know the philosophy of CPU generation on the Internet. To my amazement, there was no complete guide available that could make it clear about the Intel processor generations and their differences. After a lot of research, I have enough knowledge to write and document the differences that I found in this article.

The misconception

  • Pentium 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Celeron
  • Pentium M and Celeron M for mobile devices
  • Dual-core Pentium processor
  • Solo Core
  • Core Duo
  • Core 2 Duo
  • Core 2 Quad
  • Core i3, i5, i7

The concept of generations appears mainly after the release of the Core i series. The difference in the microarchitecture of the processors is the main difference in the generations of the processors. We will discuss these generations in detail below.

Click the image below to open the visual Intel generation timeline:

Generations of Intel processors

Generations of Intel processors

Hope this tutorial helped somehow. I’ve tried to make it as easy to understand as possible, but if you still have questions feel free to ask them in the comments section.

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Today, the first 8th-generation Intel Core processors hit the market: a quartet of 15-watt U-series processors for notebooks. Previous-generation U-series parts had two cores, four threads; these new chips double that number to four cores and eight threads. They also raise the maximum clock frequency to 4.2 GHz, although the basic clock frequency is heavily lowered to 1.9 GHz in the upper part (compared to 2.8 GHz in the 7th generation). But aside from these changes, little can be said about the new chips as in many ways the new chips aren’t really new.

i7-8650U i7-8550U i5-8350U i5-8250U
Base clock / GHz 1.9 1.8 1.7 1.6
Maximum 1-core / GHz clock 4.2 4.0 3.6 3.4
Maximum 2-core / GHz clock 4.2 4.0 3.6 3.4
Maximum 4-core clock / GHz 3.9 3.7 3.6 3.4
Cores 4 4 4 4
Threads 8 8 8 8
Cache Size / MB 8 8 6 6
Maximum GPU clock / GHz 1150 1150 1100 1100

Although Intel calls these parts “Eighth Generation”, their architecture for both the CPU and the integrated GPU is the same as the “7th Generation” Kaby Lake. In fact, Intel calls the architecture of these chips a “Kaby Lake refresh.” Kaby Lake itself was a minor update to Skylake, adding an improved graphics card (with 4K H.265 hardware accelerated video support, for example) and a clock speed boost. The new chips are still built on Intel’s “14nm +” manufacturing process, albeit a bit sophisticated.

U series

Earlier this year, Intel said the new chips would increase performance by 30 percent over the 7th generation parts; that figure is now 40 percent. In total, 25 percent of this increase (in the SYSmark test) comes from doubled the number of cores and threads. The remainder is split equally between “production” enhancements (that is, higher clock rates) and “design” enhancements.

and the same at the rear.

But what about the rest of the eighth generation? This is where Intel’s history is quite chaotic. Desktop chips are expected in the fall. Intel would not get caught up in commenting on it, but the common belief and expectation is that they will be six-core, 12-thread parts, built around an improved “14nm ++” manufacturing process with a “Coffee Lake” core. 45W notebook processors H series and 4.5W notebook Y series processors will also be delivered.

A shiny wafer full of refreshed parts of Kaby Lake.

Intel has confirmed that at least some of them will be 10nm parts, suggesting that they use the next-generation Cannonlake architecture. The most likely candidates here are the smallest Y-series processors as this would maximize the performance of the new 10nm process. Accordingly, the “eighth generation” will include Kaby Lake refresh, Coffee Lake and Cannonlake, built on 14+, 14 ++ and 10nm processes. All of this means that the “Eighth Generation” label doesn’t really matter.

Intel introduced Skylake, the sixth generation processors, in August 2015. Skylake is a redesign of the same 14nm technology that was introduced in Broadwell, the fifth generation architecture.

Intel Launches 7th Generation Kaby Lake: 15W/28W with Iris, 35-91W Desktop and Mobile Xeon

the death of Intel “Tick-Tock” means Kaby Lake is Intel’s third fracture in the 14nm process. The 14nm started at Broadwell (5th gen tick) introduced a new microarchitecture in Skylake (6th gen tock) and is now in the “optimization” stage with Kaby Lake (7th gen). This means an improved “14nm Plus” offering better energy efficiency and higher frequencies due to a less stressed transistor layout. Intel is launching countless SKUs under Kaby Lake, from the 15W and 28W mobile KBL-U to the 45W mobile KBL-H and the desktop-class KBL-S 35W to 91W. Includes are three overclocking SKUs for desktop computers, including the i3 variant. Here is the front page of the AnandTech premiere of Kaby Lake.

Despite what has been posted elsewhere on the Internet, today it is the second official launch of Kaby Lake, the first in September with six mobile processors currently in the premium notebook and mini-PC category. As part of the “trial run”, these six processors look promising, with 25 more entering the wider market.

Kaby Lake’s main features include Optane memory support, a range of new 200 series chipsets to support CPUs, a Gen9 graphics update to include Main10 support and other lower power hardware accelerated video playback, as well as tweaks to base silicon for a better voltage frequency curve.

Tick Tock Boom

Intel’s “Tick-Tock” tenure is gone, as we’ve written several times before, and Kaby Lake is Intel’s first wave of “Optimization” step in their “Process, Architecture, Optimization” release structure. The goal of the first two steps in this trio has been well documented over the last decade of Intel releases: process change means a reduction in the minimum size of a silicon function (and is possibly Intel’s prime R&D focus), such as from 90nm to 65nm or 22nm to 14nm and “architecture” indicates an improvement to the basic microarchitecture, typically using the new process in the previous step. Both of these steps, with the exception of a significant paradigm shift in the microarchitecture, resulted in performance jumps of 5-15% in each iteration. Also based on yield, usually the smaller tokens hit the market first.

The optimization step is a relative unknown as the term can be defined somewhat in many different contexts when it comes to semiconductor design. The optimization may be an adaptation to the underlying microarchitecture giving it more support, or an adaptation of the silicon production process for better performance, or it may be a different set of SKUs for a changing market, or it may be an updated internal graphics implementation. There are many ways that Intel can use the optimization card, and when its seventh generation CPUs are introduced, it comes up as a series of features.

At this point, I should mention the premiere of Devil’s Canyon i5-4690K and i7-4790K, which were outside the cycle of new overclocking products premieres. While Intel advertised this as an “optimization” of the current design, technically it was not part of the PAO tenure. Most of Devil’s Canyon’s optimizations were for heat management, not any other significant change, while the “Optimization” label for Kaby Lake is a real physical change to silicon.

The first thing to note and perhaps the most interest to our readers is that while there has been a shift in silicon, there is no fundamental shift in microarchitecture. As a result, Intel does not promote any performance difference over the previous generation (Skylake, 6th generation, SKL) at a given frequency. However, they promote better performance which means it should do the same with less power or offer better points on the voltage frequency curve. The motto should be ‘do more with less’.

As we will explain in this article, as with the six CPUs launched in September, the main advantages of Kaby Lake over previous generations of Intel CPUs will be in the feature set and the revival of what SKUs are on offer.

Today’s Launch: 15W, 28W, 35W, 45W, 51W, 60W, 65W, 91W

Intel defines its product lines in terms of segments: Y, U, H and S, which we will combine through KBL-Y, KBL-U, KBL-H and KBL-S. Recent changes to Intel’s processor naming scheme have made it difficult to determine which segment the CPU might be coming from without looking directly at the TDP or the core layout, but here’s a slide showing the basic layout:

The Y series, using the Core m3, Core i5 / i7 and Core i5 / i7 vPro nomenclature, are dual-core 4.5W processors with HyperThreading technology, designed for small and light notebook computers such as 2-in-1 or premium lightweight computers laptops or compute sticks. The reason they have such low wattage is often because of their very low base frequency, and with TDP so low, it makes it possible to put these processors in laptops and take out a large portion of the battery to save weight but still offer a decent battery life.

Chips of Kaby Lake are better than Skylake. Although not much, there has been an improvement. The core clock speed is faster than the Skylake CPU counterpart which deals with Turbo Boost frequency.

14 to 14.9-inch business units and gaming portables

And then we have full-size portable laptops with Kabylake hardware, with screens ranging from 15 ” to 18 ” and a variety of specs and configurations. To stay on the topic of this article, we only include thin and light computers, which means they must weigh less than 6 pounds (for 15 inches) or 7 pounds (for 17 inches) and have a total body thickness of less than 1.1 inches.

Due to weight restrictions, some of the most powerful Kaby Lake notebooks are not covered here, but more on most of them can be found in these articles on laptops with Nvidia 1050, 1060 and 1070/1080 graphics.

15 to 18-inch full-size notebooks

Here is a brief glossary of the terms mentioned above:

  • Types:
    • clamshell: a traditional computer whose screen closes at the top of the keyboard and does not go into any tablet mode;
    • convertible: a 2-in-1 laptop whose screen rotates or converts to tablet (or similar) mode, but cannot be detached from the base;
    • detachable: a 2-in-1 laptop whose screen detaches from a solid base and can be used alone as a tablet;
    • tablet + folio: a standalone tablet paired with a matching keyboard folio;
    • slider: a 2-in-1 laptop whose screen slides up and down over the top of the case to reveal a hidden keyboard underneath.

    That’s it for now, but if you’re interested in a larger selection of portable laptops based on other criteria, you should also check out the following articles:

    Hope you find this article helpful. As mentioned before, we make every effort to keep the lists up-to-date, but it is a painstaking work and sometimes we may not be able to find all the units that should be included here. So if you notice anything that is missing please let us know in the comments section.

    Disclaimer: Our content is supported by readers. If you buy through certain links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

    Andrei Girbea, editor-in-chief of I’ve been in the business of mobile computers since 2000, and you will mostly find reviews and thorough guides written by me here on the site.

    From Skylake to Kaby Lake, the number of PCIe lanes has increased. Both processors can support up to 16 PCIe 3.0 from the processor. However, the 7th generation Kaby Lake models can support 24 lines from the Platform Controller Hub (PCH). This increases the number of PCIe lanes that Kaby Lake chips can help to 40.

    Comparing Skylake vs Kaby Lake Processors


    Lake Kaby and Skylake - Performance (1)

    Chips of Kaby Lake are better than Skylake. Although not much, there has been an improvement. The core clock speed is faster than the Skylake CPU counterpart which deals with Turbo Boost frequency.

    You will have to use comparison tools to spot the difference with most applications. However, detecting the surge in 3D graphics power for mobile chips shouldn’t be difficult.

    The Kaby Lake U series processors (we’ll get to them later) have Intel Iris Plus graphics that promise up to 65 percent better performance than equivalent Skylake chips.

    Unfortunately, the Intel HD Graphics 630 GPU in desktop systems are identical to the 530 in Skylake. Only HEVC support and VP9 support are real improvements.

    4K Video

    Kaby Lake processors have built-in HEVC codec support for 4K video. This is one of the key differences between the 6th Generation Skylake and the 7th Generation Kaby Lake Kaby Lake. The processors delegate most of the 4K video tasks directly to the graphics cards, which means your laptop will use significantly less power while playing 4K movies.

    Kaby Lake processors can support VP9 (4K video codec created by Google as an alternative to HEVC). They also support HDCP 2.2. HDCP (High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection) is used to protect digital content from unauthorized copying.

    Kaby Lake processors are much more efficient in 3D graphics. This means higher frames per second, better resolution, and a better overall gaming experience. Intel tested Overwatch on a Dell XPS 13 laptop with a Kaby Lake processor. The laptop specification allowed for a resolution of 1280 × 720 at 30 frames per second with medium graphics settings. It’s impressive.

    Optane Support

    Kaby Lake and Skylake - Optane Support (1)

    The seventh generation Kaby Lake and the sixth generation Skylake processors make a significant difference in the support of Optane memory. This is a version of Intel’s SSD concept.

    Connects directly to the motherboard. It is only compatible with the Sunrise Point 100 series chipsets and uses M.2 slots. Optane will not work if you have the Skylake chip installed on the 200 Union Point Series chipset.

    Higher Clock Speeds

    Intel relies entirely on tweaks and improvements to Kaby Lake, which is an optimized version of Skylake. This allows for better performance and faster operation of the processor. While the results aren’t impressive, they’re still remarkable. Kaby Lake processors offer great performance in 3D graphics, especially for mobile devices.

    Intel Kaby Lake processors are available in two basic designations: Y and U. The m Skylake models have been replaced by the Y models. However, they are only available in the i5 / i7 sections. For i3 processors, the marking m remains in effect. It is impossible to determine whether you purchased an am / Y class processor or a U class i5 processor without knowing its full name.

    Also read our laptop processor comparison and desktop processor comparison, click here.

    Increased Turbo Boost Frequency and Clock Speed Change at a faster rate.

    Intel optimized the Skylake architecture with Kaby Lake to increase clock speed and turbo boost. It’s unclear how much this will impact real-world performance, but it should. The test results published by Intel are encouraging. There is no new architecture, so Intel has only improved the performance of the Kaby Lake CPU by making tweaks and optimizations under the hood.

    Conclusion: Is Skylake better than Kaby Lake?

    Well, it all depends on what you are looking for in your computer. Laptops with integrated graphics will see better performance thanks to Kaby Lake chips. You’ll also enjoy better battery life and performance when streaming 4K Netflix. Then you can choose Kaby Lake.

    The Skylake laptop may not have enough CPU power to run 4K video. Moreover, 4K-capable laptops are rare.

    While native 4K video support and enhanced 3D graphics and higher clock speeds may appeal to gamers and media enthusiasts, they aren’t of much value to the average person. Optane support, which covers a bit more PCIe lanes, is the same.

    Hope this tutorial helped somehow. I’ve tried to make it as easy to understand as possible, but if you still have questions feel free to ask them in the comments section.

    Intel, also known as International Rectifier, designs and manufactures processors used by many companies, including Microsoft, Sony, HP, and Apple.

    A New Generation Begins

    Kaby Lake-R 8th generation wafer (source: Intel)

    Kaby Lake-R 8th generation wafer (source: Intel)

    Described Kaby Lake-R system (source: WikiChips)

    Described Kaby Lake-R system (source: WikiChips)

    2017 has been an excellent year for processor releases so far. The 7th Gen Intel Kaby Lake platform debuted in late 2016 (widely available early 2017) and has been the staple of many laptops and desktops ever since. After a longer-than-usual hiatus, AMD unveiled its Zen-based Ryzen chips, starting with the flagship Ryzen 7 1800X, which was very well received by both consumers and the press for its good price-performance ratio. There was also a lot of hype in the High End Desktops (HEDT) segment, both with AMD releasing the Threadripper 1950X with a massive 16-core / 32-thread configuration and Intel revealing Skylake-X (Core i9-7900X) and Kaby Lake-X processors (Core i7-7740X) in different SKUs. Even in the AMD EPYC and Intel server segment.

    Amidst all these changes, Intel announced the next iteration of its processors – 8th generation cores. However, unlike earlier versions, where each generation brought with it a fundamental architectural or lithographic change, the new eighth-generation processors will consist of multiple micro-architectures. Intel’s processor nomenclature can be a bit dizzying to the uninitiated, and the new generation takes this confusion a step further: Intel 8th-generation processors will have a refreshed Kaby Lake line called Kaby Lake-R (14nm +), which includes the 15W U- processor family. Coffee Lake (14 nm ++), which is to include the family of K processors from 65 W to 95 W TDP, and Canon Lake (10 nm). The first of the 8th generation processors, the Kaby Lake-R, was introduced on August 21 with the introduction of the Core i5-8250U, Core i5-8350U,Core i7-8550U and Core i7-8650U. All of these processors are of the 15W TDP type (although the TDP is OEM configurable) and, unlike their previous seventh-generation counterparts, now feature four hyperthreading cores.

    Intel managed to keep the TDP at 15W, reducing the base clock of these processors. While the seventh-generation Core i5-7200U clocked a base frequency of 2.5 GHz and 3.1 GHz turbo, the new eight-generation Core i5-8250U counterpart clocked a base frequency of 1.6 GHz with 3.4 GHz turbocharging. Despite the lower base clocks, notebooks with the new eighth-generation chip for routine tasks (Office, web browsing, and very light games) should not experience a serious drop in performance, given that the turbo clock is still the same as the previous generation. However, how OEMs implement these chips and what throttling measures they introduce remains to be seen.

    As for the integrated graphics processor, only the way Intel addresses the name has changed. Technically it’s still the same Intel HD Graphics 620 graphics found in 7th generation Kaby Lake processors, but Intel has decided to rebrand to “UHD Graphics” to better convey the 4K / HEVC decoding that iGPU is capable of. It’s still a Gen9.2 / GT2 engine like the previous generation, but now has native HDCP 2.2 support. Therefore, the GPU part is relatively unchanged, and Intel has mostly limited its tinkering to the CPU side.

    Preliminary Benchmarks

    To evaluate the new Kaby Lake-R processor, we used a pre-production sample of a 13-inch Acer Spin 5 SP513 laptop with an Intel Core i5-8250U processor, integrated UHD 620, Micron 1100 SSD and 8GB of RAM. The laptop was officially unveiled at this year’s IFA in Berlin and is available in 13-inch and 15-inch versions. The 15-inch variant is available with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 option. Most ultrabooks and laptops that will soon be 8250U are likely to rely on the iGPU for all their graphics work. That’s why we chose the 13-inch SP513, which doesn’t have dedicated graphics, to get a more realistic rating. We compared the Core i5-8250U’s performance to its two cousins: one is the seventh-generation i5-8250U predecessor, the Core i5-7200U, which powers the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga.

    As the Core i5-8250U has a quad-core architecture, it will be interesting to see how it compares to the higher-end 7700HQ, a 45-watt processor. As you will see below, the results can be quite surprising. We’ve broken down the CPU and GPU benchmarks to put things in better perspective. We also assessed the power consumption of the chip under different loads.

    Asus Strix GL753VD

    Asus Strix GL753VD

    Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

    Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

    CPU Benchmarks

    We ran multiple CPU performance tests to see how the new Core i5-8250U performs and fares with the other CPUs mentioned above. Cinebench evaluates the CPU on single and multiple cores. As seen in the Cinebench results below, the 8250U has at least a 10% improvement in single-core performance. That’s a big improvement, but it’s a multi-core score where it becomes interesting as the 8250U records at least a 41% improvement over the 7200U in some benchmarks. The 8250U also seems to perform interesting standalone results in Geekbench 4.1, suggesting high multi-core and GPU performance in terms of OpenCL computing. Likewise, PCMark 10 shows a 5% to 25% improvement over the 7200U, depending on the test performed.The increase in core count also shows its impact on the benchmarks of TrueCrypt, WinRAR, SuperPi Mod, and wPrime.8250U managed to gain a significant advantage across a series of CPU tests, resulting in a performance increase similar to Intel’s claims.

    Since Intel has kept the turbo clocking unchanged, we thought it would be interesting to see how well the 8250U keeps its turbo boost. We ran the Cinebench R15 through 30 runs and evaluated the multi-core performance in each run. We found that the first launch had the highest turbo boost (around 15 seconds depending on energy consumption) and therefore the maximum result. Subsequent runs had at least a 7% drop in the Cinebench R15 results, with the lowest result being 13.5% lower than the first run. Results plateaued to close to around 30 runs. These results indicate that while the CPU can provide good turbo acceleration at shorter loads, it may not be able to maintain its peak boost and appears to be running at a margin of 15% on top clock speed. However, it is an i5-8250U,and not the i7 variant with higher clock rates.

    The Intel Core i7-7700K is a Skylake processor while the Intel Core i7-6700K is a Kaby Lake processor. Skylake processors are more powerful but are also more expensive.

    How Intel Got 40% More Performance

    Intel describes in detail 8th generation core processors from Kaby Lake-R 05 |

    Doubling the number of cores in the same TDP package is absurd and not easy to achieve in the mobile segment where TDP is extremely important and must remain low. We can see that Intel had to refine its power management, reduce the frequency and tweak the process to prevent the TDP cores from being exceeded twice. This is why we see a 25% increase after doubling the cores as the performance per core has to be slightly diminished, and I believe Intel does this via a lower base frequency and counteracts this with a higher turbo frequency than previous generation processors.

    To increase performance by another 15%, Intel had to go back and optimize the design by another 7.5% and CPU production by another 7.5%. What Intel has done to get more performance is boosting Turbo clock speeds above those of the seventh generation processors, and this has been done by optimizing the internal design of the processor to make it more energy efficient, while using the 14nm + process to improve performance and frequency operational.

    Intel also stated that while these processors are based on 14nm + technology, 10nm will be an extension so it could arrive on 8th Gen Core processors.

    Intel describes in detail 8th generation core processors with Kaby Lake-R 06 | Intel details 8th generation core processors with Kaby Lake-R 07 |

    We wanted to find out how Intel measured that 40% number, and to find out where they got that number from, we rummaged through the footnotes. The footnote “1” tells us that the 40 percent rate was measured by Intel Office Productivity and Multitasking Workload with i7-8550U and i7-7500U processors. Moving on, it turns out that their office work and multitasking is all about leaving Slack open in the background, using PowerPoint to export a 2.28MB PowerPoint presentation to a HD H.246 MP4 video presentation, and then during do two things to create this presentation. First, they take a 6.49 MB (844 pages) Word document and convert it to PDF, and second, they take a 70.4 MB Excel spreadsheet and recalculate it.

    In this use scenario, Intel says the new processor does this 40% faster, and this is a use case based on higher real-world performance, with the new processors looking impressive. Intel claimed that it is 2.3 times faster when multitasking than the five-year-old PC on the earlier slide, so the footnote “8” uses the same test scenario for office productivity and multitasking, a claim 40% better than the previous generation. It pairs the i5-8250U with the i5-3317U processor. Intel fine-tunes this number up to 2X better when dealing with productivity and 1.9X better network performance.

    We go to footnotes “2” and “3” and find that Intel is using the SYSmark 2014 SE and WebXPRT 2015 benchmarks to get those numbers that are slightly less impressive than they really are. I like that Intel didn’t benchmark for its 40% number or 2.3x number. We considered adding a multitasking workload in a similar way as major wars gathered pace.

    What to Expect

    Intel details 8th generation core processors with Kaby Lake-R 09 |

    At the beginning of the presentation, Intel made it clear that the U-series processors will be introduced to the market first. These processors have a TDP of 15W while the Y series is almost a third of that and the H series is typically three times as large. These are the types of CPUs found in these super sleek notebooks and 2-in-1 devices. I’ve also found them in products where energy and heat consumption must be minimal, such as Dell Rugged Notebooks. H-series processors are usually what you see in gaming / power laptops, while the S-series is what you get on a desktop.

    Intel details 8th generation core processors with Kaby Lake-R 10 |

    One aspect that Intel didn’t really change was the integrated graphics part of the processor. However, Intel changed the name of its graphics from HD to UHD. Intel says this was done to point out that the iGPU is built with UHD content in mind, and that’s partly because of new improvements and additions introduced to the graphics core about a year ago.

    Intel details 8th generation core processors with Kaby Lake-R 11 |

    If you are anxious or eagerly awaiting the launch of the 8th Gen Intel S-Series processors, join the club. Intel says desktop processors will be available in the fall, so they’re not too far away. The desktop chipset compatibility question has come up many times and we still don’t have a clear answer, but on mobile, nothing has changed as it is an SoC and Kaby Lake based package.

    Intel details eighth generation core processors with Kaby Lake-R 12 |

    So far, Intel’s 8th generation processors seem to fill the biggest gap in Intel’s mighty army; number of cores. Intel’s performance per core is impressive, but more cores were missing in different segments and that’s what the eighth generation will bring us first and hopefully 10nm at the end.

    At 8am PDT, or rather eight hours after this article is posted, Intel will announce a live product release for 8th-gen core processors – possibly shedding light on the rest of the next-gen.

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