Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich announced that Kaby Lake is shipping during the Q&A session of its Q2 2016 financial report. Kaby Lake is the code-name for the seventh-generation of Core processors that succeed the Skylake series, and they are also the first to be the “optimization” step in Intel’s new “Process – Architecture – Optimization” cycle.
Of course, when Krzanich said that Kaby Lake is shipping, he means that it is shipping to its customers and OEMs. The announcement means that we won’t be seeing desktop-class Kaby Lake chips on shelves in retail boxes yet, but rather that Intel has started shipping the chips to its partners and system builders. Exactly when we will see Kaby Lake in retail remains unknown, but system builder ECS did give us a clue when it confirmed it would launch a Kaby Lake notebook in December.
“Kaby Lake is built off a Skylake core, and as a result, the die size doesn’t significantly grow. So you don’t see – there’s no driver in the silicon itself to shift the margin structure of this product. We’re able to get the performance and feature enhancements with relatively small silicon increases but good improvement on the raw silicon technology itself,” said Brian Krzanich. “It comes in on a process technology that’s mature with healthy yields and a healthy cost structure. So from that perspective, you get a nice performance boost at a good cost structure.”
The new “Process – Architecture – Optimization” cycle replaces the renowned “tick-tock” development scheme Intel followed.
In this new sequence, the short-lived Broadwell took the process step, shrinking the lithographic process from 22 nm to 14 nm. Skylake followed with an architecture change, and as Krzanich explained, Intel based the Kaby Lake design on the Skylake core, therefore fitting it to the optimization step.
Hopefully, we will learn more at IDF 2016 from August 16 through 18.