Back at Computex 2016, Intel confirmed in its keynote that the 7th generation Core processors will launch later in the year. While that was true for laptops, enthusiasts have been kept waiting for the desktop chips. But Intel has now revealed more details on the desktop Kaby Lake release date and specs.

Intel Kaby Lake 7th gen Core processor release date

The new Kaby Lake desktop processors are on sale now from Overclockers UK, Scan and other retailers.

Intel Core i7 Kaby Lake specs and prices

Intel Kaby Lake release date, price, specs

Here are the main specs of the new desktop Core i7 chips. Just three have been announced so far. They are all quad-core with Hyper-Threading.

Model

Core i7-7700K

Core i7-7700

Core i7-7700T

Price

£339

£309

£309

TDP

91W

65W

35W

Cores/Threads

4/8

4/8

4/8

Base Frequency

4.2GHz

3.6GHz

2.9GHz

Boost Frequency

4.5GHz

4.2GHz

3.8GHz

Unlocked

Yes

No

No

Graphics

Intel HD Graphics 630

Intel HD Graphics 630

Intel HD Graphics 630

Smart Cache

8MB

8MB

8MB

 

Intel Core i5 Kaby Lake specs and prices

Four seventh-gen Core i5 models have been announced (see table below), plus a further three chips with a ‘T’ suffix which denotes they use less power – they all have a 35W TDP. As the table shows, they’re all quad-core parts, but with no Hyper-Threading.

Model

Core i5-7600K

Core i5-7600

Core i5-7500

Core i5-7400

Price

£239

£219

£199

£189

TDP

91W

65W

65W

65W

Cores/Threads

4/4

4/4

4/4

4/4

Base Frequency

3.8GHz

3.5GHz

3.4GHz

3.0GHz

Boost Frequency

4.2GHz

4.1GHz

3.8GHz

3.5GHz

Unlocked

Yes

No

No

No

Graphics

Intel HD Graphics 630

Intel HD Graphics 630

Intel HD Graphics 630

Intel HD Graphics 630

Smart Cache

6MB

6MB

6MB

6MB

These are the 35W 'T' models:

Model

Core i5-7600T

Core i5-7500T

Core i5-7400T

Price

£219

£199

£179

TDP

35W

35W

35W

Cores/Threads

4/4

4/4

4/4

Base Frequency

2.8GHz

2.7GHz

2.4GHz

Boost Frequency

3.7GHz

3.3GHz

3.0GHz

Unlocked

No

No

No

Graphics

Intel HD Graphics 630

Intel HD Graphics 630

Intel HD Graphics 630

Smart Cache

6MB

6MB

6MB

Intel Core i3 Kaby Lake specs and prices

As with the Core i5 models, the Core i3 is also available as a ‘T’ model which has a 35W TDP. The Core i3 chips have no boost capability, so rely on high base frequency. They’re dual-core chips with Hyper-Threading. Note that the flagship model is unlocked, so Intel is catering to enthusiasts who want to overclock a more affordable chip. Unlike the Pentium G3258 Anniversary Edition processor from 2014, the i3-7350K supports Hyper-Threading.

Intel Kaby Lake release date, price, specs

Model

Core i3-7350K

Core i3-7320

Core i3-7300

Core i3-7100

Price

£185

£159

£149

£119

TDP

60W

51W

51W

51W

Cores/Threads

2/4

2/4

2/4

2/4

Base Frequency

4.2GHz

4.1GHz

4.0GHz

3.9GHz

Boost Frequency

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Unlocked

Yes

No

No

No

Graphics

Intel HD Graphics 630

Intel HD Graphics 630

Intel HD Graphics 630

Intel HD Graphics 630

Smart Cache

4MB

4MB

4MB

3MB

Overall, there is a similar lineup of Kaby Lake processors to Skylake, so you’ll have a choice of an entry-level Core i3, right up to a 10-core Extreme Edition Core i7 (this hasn't launched yet). Prices are unlikely to vary much from the Skylake range, so there will be something to suit every budget.

There are of course be laptop and mobile versions of the Kaby Lake desktop chips for everything from ultraportables to all-in-one PCs.

 Intel 7th Gen Core Kaby Lake rumours

What is Kaby Lake?

The 7th-gen Core processors are based on the same 14nm process as Skylake and its predecessor, Broadwell. Intel won’t make the move down to 10nm until the 8th-gen Cannonlake CPUs which are due to launch later in 2017. The original plan was to switch to 10nm back in 2015 but, because of manufacturing problems, it’s sticking with 14nm for Kaby Lake.

This disrupts Intel’s Tick-Tock roadmap, since Kaby Lake should be a Tick – a new manufacturing process – but will instead be an ‘optimised’ version of Skylake (which is already an improved version of Broadwell).

And that’s now Intel’s plan for the future: no more Tick-Tock, it’s now Process-Architecture-Optimisation. So when we finally get ‘Canonlake’, there will be two more generations based on the 10mm manufacturing process before a move to an even smaller one.

Intel Kaby Lake 7th gen Core processor features

Optane Memory

So what’s new? Well, there’s the obvious performance improvement, but the new 200-series chipset supports Intel’s new Optane memory. This isn’t to be confused with Optane SSDs – it’s a brand new memory module which is designed to make a PC with a traditional mechanical hard drive feel more like one equipped with an SSD.

Few details are yet known about Optane Memory, other than it uses 3D Crosspoint memory. Intel hasn’t yet said anything about capacities or prices. It has confirmed that Optane Memory modules won’t work in older Z170 boards, or with Skylake chips, though.

These should be available to buy within the next six months.

Better overclocking

Kaby Lake chips have a 300MHz base frequency boost over the equivalent Skylake chips, but are also better for overclocking. For example, they will automatically adjust voltage to make a given base clock more stable.

The second improvement is better control over Turbo Boost. When the chip has to process an AVX instruction it will downclock, then return to a higher clock for normal instructions.

With faster clock speeds than Skylake at a given TDP, Kaby Lake is already around 25 percent quicker, but it remains to be see just how fast they will go. Early benchmarks show they are no faster than Skylake (when compared at the same clock speeds). The performance boost comes from using higher clock speeds than the equivalent Skylake chips.

If you already have a PC with a 6th-gen Skylake chip, you won't see any better performance simply by upgrading to the equivalent Kaby Lake chip. But if you're still on a third, fourth or fifth-gen Core processor, it could well be a good time to upgrade.

Better graphics

Certain new U-series processors (which will appear in 2-in-1 laptop/tablet devices) have Iris Plus Graphics 640 GPUs integrated. Intel says this GPU is 65 percent faster than the equivalent Intel HD graphics system. It’s 40 percent faster for quick sync video, and is also capable of 4K video playback.

Intel Kaby Lake release date, price, specs

Backwards compatible with 100-series chipsets

Desktop Kaby Lake chips are compatible with the existing 100-series chipsets, so it’ll be an easy upgrade from Skylake, assuming manufacturers provide BIOS updates for the new chips.

However, you will miss out on Optane Memory support (which we’re assured won’t be added to any 100-series boards) and possibly certain overclocking features.