Alleged Kaby Lake CPU shows its face in SiSoft Sandra database


— 10:27 AM on May 3, 2016

Back in March, we reported on the demise of Intel’s long-held “tick-tock” product development strategy. For years, Intel has predictably released a line of CPUs with a new manufacturing process one year, and a line on the same process with a new architecture the next. This cadence is changing with the current 14-nm process node. Under the tick-tock schedule, we would have seen products made on a new process node—10-nm—this year. Instead, we are looking at an optimization of the 14-nm process, called "Kaby Lake." Now we have purported benchmarks of a Kaby Lake processor, courtesy of an anonymous posting in the SiSoftware Sandra database.

The leaked benchmark shows a four-core, eight-thread processor with 3.6GHz base and 4.2GHz Turbo clock speeds, along with 8MB of L3 cache. That base clock puts it about in the middle of the i7-6700 (3.4GHz) and i7-6700K (4.0GHz), and the 4.2GHz Turbo speed aligns with the i7-6700K. Even if this benchmark does actually represent a Kaby Lake processor, it is likely an engineering sample, so these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. That said, these frequencies and cache numbers do seem to align with either a slightly more conservatively-clocked "Core i7-7700K," or a "Core i7-7700" with a 200MHz bump to both its base and Turbo frequencies.

The GPU specs in SiSoft’s database show a 24-execution-unit, 1.15GHz graphics processor on this mystery chip. Those specs look a lot like the HD 530 GPU in the i7-6700 and i7-6700K, which supports the argument that this is an i7-7700 chip. Sadly, Sandra doesn’t report anything about TDP on the chip, so we are missing a crucial part of the puzzle. Since Kaby Lake is an extra optimization on the 14-nm process node, a drop in TDP could make this a more attractive package than a mere 200MHz clock speed bump. On the other hand, if this turns out to be a K-series part, we could see a return to past K-series TDPs, at the cost of a few hundred MHz of base clock speed.

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