Intel Computex keynote confirms Kaby Lake and Optane for 2016

— 2:05 PM on May 31, 2016

Intel's Computex presentation this morning covered a lot of topics, from the Internet of Things and 5G, to machine learning and VR. We'll talk about some of the other bits in due time, but the news of greatest interest to TR readers is no doubt the confirmation that the 7th generation "Kaby Lake" Core processors and Optane solid-state disks will be launching this year. Those new products made up the bulk of Intel's announcements today, along with the Broadwell-E chips that Jeff wrote about this morning and the low-power Apollo Lake platform.

Kaby Lake is, of course, the codename of Intel's 7th-generation Core architecture. These processors will be fabricated on the same 14nm process as Broadwell and Skylake before them, and thus they represent the first break in Intel's long-standing "tick-tock" cadence of CPU releases. As an optimization of Skylake, it's unlikely the seventh generation will be a drastic departure from the status quo. We have reported on all of that before, but today Intel announced that Kaby Lake processors will have native support for USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3, and that models in the family will range up to 95W TDPs. That figure is only slightly above the Skylake Core i7-6700K's 91W TDP. Here's hoping one of those 95W models includes an eDRAM cache as Scott wished for last year.

In case you missed it, Optane is Intel's branding for solid-state disks using the new 3D XPoint memory technology. 3D XPoint—which is pronounced "cross point"—technology purportedly represents a generational leap over existing NAND flash memory in terms of both density and performance. Intel demonstrated 3D Xpoint by performing an offline 3D render using Houdini on two computers, one of which was equipped with an Intel 750 Series SSD, and the other with an Optane prototype. The machine with the 750 series SSD completed the render in slightly over 25 hours, but the Optane-equipped machine finished in just nine.

At its presentation, Intel also confirmed earlier news that the low-power Apollo Lake SoC family is coming this year. These chips are the successors to the existing Cherry Trail mobile parts, and wield new Goldmont CPU cores alongside 9th generation (Skylake) graphics units. Intel included Apollo Lake when talking about Optane, so we may see 3D XPoint in low-end devices, as well. Unfortunately, despite all the talk, Intel didn't offer specific timelines or pricing details about the new products.

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