Intel's seventh-generation Core microprocessors, codenamed Kaby Lake, will start shipping later this year, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich confirmed during the company’s Intel Developer Forum keynote on Tuesday.
The long-awaited Kaby Lake chips are now shipping to PC makers and will start appearing in new consumer devices in the autumn. This lends weight to the rumours that Microsoft will launch a second-generation Surface Book 2, powered by Kaby Lake, later this year.
It's unlikely to be the first to feature the chip, however, as Asus has prematurely unveiled the Kaby Lake-powered Transformer 3 that will be made available later this year.
Kaby Lake is the successor to Skylake and is built on the 14nm manufacturing process. It has improvements in performance and power efficiency compared with its predecessor, and supports USB Type-C, native Thunderbolt 3 and native HDCP 2.2.
Details remain thin on the ground, but Intel demonstrated the chip's ability to seamlessly handle 4K playback and content creation with a demo of Blizzard's Overwatch played on a 7th-Gen Core-powered Dell XPS laptop without the need for a separate GPU.
Sony has been quick to announce plans to take advantage of these souped-up credentials. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has teamed up with Intel to make its premium 4K movies available on PCs powered by the upcoming 7th-Gen Core microprocessor.
The imminent arrival of Kaby Lake will be succeeded next year with the launch of Intel’s first 10nm chips, codenamed Cannonlake, in the second half of 2017. Cannonlake was originally set to debut in 2016, but Intel was forced to push back the launch owing to challenges in shrinking transistors to ever smaller scales.
"In the second half of 2017, we expect to launch our first 10nm product, codenamed Cannonlake," Krzanich confirmed.
Despite these technical difficulties, Intel has said previously that it expects Moore's Law to continue for the foreseeable future, and is actively working on 7nm and 5nm technologies.
"We can see about 10 years ahead, so our research group has identified some promising options [for 7nm and 5nm] not yet fully developed, but we think we can continue Moore's Law for at least another 10 years," Intel told V3 last year.
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