Intel officially announced its 7th Generation Intel Core processors at the end of August. The new 14nm+ chips build on the power and performance of the 6th Generation chips and there’s more to them than an annual, iterative speed boost.
Here are six things you need to know about the new CPUs.
1. They’re built for the ‘immersive internet’
“What’s the immersive internet?” I hear you ask. New technologies are changing the way we consume entertainment and information online. It’s not just reading words on a page or looking at static images any more. We’re just as likely to watch, listen, interact and explore. “The emergence of 4K Ultra High-Definition, 360-degree video, and virtual reality,” says Intel corporate vice president and Client Computing Group general manager Navin Shenoy, “has dramatically widened and deepened our vantage points.”
2. They can effortlessly handle 4K and VR video
Thanks to a new media engine, 7th Generation Intel Core processors can typically tackle whatever high-definition content you chuck at them. The new HEVC 10-bit decode capability, for example, delivers smooth premium content playback up to 4K UHD resolutions. While VP9 hardware acceleration allows for slick (and power efficient) 4K UHD or 4K 360-degree video playback, even while multitasking. The aim isn’t just all-day battery life, it’s ‘All-Day 4K’ battery life (9.5 hours).
3. They’re 10x faster than the first Intel Core chips
A new processor update means a speed boost, and the 7th Generation Core chips are 10 times faster than the original Intel Core chips launched in 2009. Compared to the 6th Generation Core chips launched in 2015, the 7th-gen CPUs can deliver up to 12 percent faster productivity performance and up to 19 percent faster web performance. Compared to a five year-old PC, they are 70 percent faster and promise up to 3.5x the 3D oomph.
4. They can play Overwatch with integrated graphics
Speaking of 3D graphics, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich recently used IDF 2016 to demonstrate how a game like Overwatch can run smoothly on a 7th Generation chip with integrated Intel HD Graphics. No need for a dedicated GPU. That said, if you do need a dedicated graphics solution, laptops running the new chips will give you an easy way to add one…
5. They support Thunderbolt 3/USB-C and Windows Hello
Support for Thunderbolt 3/USB-C was added into Intel’s 6th-gen chips and the 7th-gen CPUs follow suit. The do-it-all connection is up to eight times faster than the existing USB 3.0 standard, allowing gamers to plug in an external graphics dock or a pair of 4K UHD monitors. The new 7th Generation processors will also work with Intel’s RealSense 3D camera technology to enable Windows Hello facial recognition for password-less PC logins.
6. They’ll enable some astonishing new portable devices
Like the Acer Swift 7, the first laptop that’s designed to be thinner than a centimeter — 9.98mm to be exact. Yet this fanless portable still manages to incorporate a 7th Generation Intel Core i5 processor, 13.3-inch Full HD IPS panel, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and two USB-C ports. It will be the first of many new devices, ranging from ultra-thin laptops running 7th-gen Intel Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 chips to lightweight 2 in 1s equipped with the Intel Core m3 processor.