Kaby Lake VS. Skylake, What’s The Difference?

Some of you may or may not have heard about Intel’s shiny new line of processor’s, Kaby Lake, that have just hit the market. With these new processors on the shelves comes one big question: What’s the difference?

First, some background.

The most important background information for this article pertains to Intel’s release cycle. Intel has a two phase release cycle which they fondly refer to as the “Tick-Tock” model. The Tick-Tock model is the process by which the shrink the size of the CPU’s die and release it (the tick) and then they designate and release a new microarchitecture (the tock). For example, between Haswell and Broadwell the size went from 22nm to 14nm (tick), and then they designated the new architecture Skylake (tock). Kaby Lake is neither a tick nor a tock, it is an optimization, or as it’s been previously called, a refresh of Skylake. This means that the difference between it and Skylake is not in it’s size or microarchitecture. Kaby Lake marks the first official use of Intel’s new model, which is process-architecture-optimization. The first two corresponding to the tick-tock, and the last being an optimization or refresh.

What’s the difference?

Since Kaby Lake is just a refinement of Skylake, there isn’t a huge difference between the two. The largest difference between them is the introduction of a new onboard video block that allows for 4k video encoding/decoding. Unfortunately, that mean’s nothing for those of us who are using separate graphics processors. When a graphics card is in use the onboard graphics are completely ignored. Another new feature is that Kaby Lake introduces a new process for going between high and low power states, but this is more geared towards mobile devices where power consumption is far more important. As far as desktop improvements go, there is still something to celebrate; an average of 300-400mhz increase of clock speeds on most models.

All-in-all, Kaby Lake isn’t a huge step up from Skylake, so my personal opinion is that there’s no reason to jump the gun and upgrade from your perfectly functioning Skylake. Have you already upgraded to Kaby Lake? Know something we don’t? Leave a comment and tell us what you’re thinking, and as always be sure to like our social media pages to keep up on the latest posts and news from Chimera Computers!