Kaby Lake was just announced to the public not so long ago, bringing with it numerous new changes to efficiency and performance as the first chip to come along under Intel’s new ‘process, architecture, optimization’ release structure. It may be architecturally a slight step forward, though Intel is promising a very good 5-15% performance increase depending on the workload for Kaby Lake. The changes, however small they might actually be compared to Skylake, should give creators and gamers alike a very good platform as the new flagship of the mainstream market.
i7-7700K pushes the limits even further north
Though they’re pushed only slightly and not so significantly as to warrant moving to the new CPU immediately. The new CPU is capable of running up to 4.5GHz as a turbo frequency and 4.2GHz as a base frequency with a TDP of 91W. Already, for the ~$300 price, it offers a very good price performance ratio that may even rival some older eight-core processors, from Intel and AMD. But what’s actually changed?
The most noticeable thing that’s changed is that it’s now on a slightly different process, called 14nm+. The + indicates an improved fin profile for less leakage, improved transistor channel strain and a much better integrated design and manufacturing process. From what we can gather, the cache structure and overall core structure is largely the same as Skylake. So what Intel has done, then, is make the architecture more efficient. Much more efficient. If compared theoretically, it would seem that there is literally no difference. On a core level, anyway. + is better.
Other changes do have an effect on performance, though they may seem like rather boring engineering principles, but the implications on actual work done by the CPU, are quite profound.
SpeedShift has been updated to v2 with Kaby Lake. That means that the i7-7700K can reach its peak speeds much faster than even Skylake could. So it can literally ramp up and get the job done faster than before. Skylake was pretty adept at doing this, however, so the actual difference for K series processors might be a bit less.
Another technological inclusion is support for Optane memory, which could have a very large impact on some applications. Lenovo may be the first company to ship machines with Optane, but we’ll be able to add it in, in rather short order. This ultrafast persistent memory structure can be used as storage, storage caching and even in a sort of DRAM mode, as well. It’s incredibly fast with low latency and high endurance. Almost like a perfect memory technology. At first there won’t be much use for having it, except as a storage device, though application developers just need to get their hands on some to start developing novel ways to accelerate programs with it. It’s only a matter of time, really.
Another feature is the inclusion of a new set of security instructions for their vPro enabled processors known as Intel Authenticate. Taking advantage of the vPro hardware, this is a way to keep user authentication more secure. It can use biometrics and even location-based security to help keep your devices safe. There are also some extensions that help to identify intrusions or malware in the event of something untoward happening. Pretty neat stuff.
i7 7700K Test System
We’re going to approach this a bit different at first. From the view of the CPU upgrader, mostly because our Z270 motherboards haven’t quite arrived just yet. But rest assured, this should theoretically not affect performance. And if it does, we’ll have a good starting point to do an analysis. This is definitely a theoretical situation for anyone looking to upgrade at the moment. Upgrading the BIOS of many Z170 motherboards allow compatibility with Kaby Lake and the i7-7700K.
- Intel Core i7-7700K
- Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 7
- 32GB Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4 2666
- 512GB Samsung 950 Pro
- SanDisk Extreme Pro 960GB
- Enermax Platimax 1350
- Windows 10 64-bit
This is going to be a wild ride. And comparison to the performance with a Z270 platform will be very interesting.