When Intel added the "Gold" suffix to its Kaby Lake Pentium processors back in October, there were rumors that the company would add the "Silver" moniker to Pentium parts based on its pint-sized, power-sipping Gemini Lake architecture. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and the blue silicon colossus has officially announced desktop and mobile Gemini Lake chips wearing Pentium Silver and Celeron badges.
The Silver and Gold badges will help consumers determine whether a system's processor is one of Intel's efficiency-first Gemini Lake chips or one of the higher-performing Kaby Lake models. All six new chips have 4 MB of cache and can address two channels of 2400 MT/s DDR4 or LPDDR4 memory. More details are in the table below.
|2.8 GHz||2.5 GHz||2.7 GHz||2.7 GHz||2.4 GHz||2.6 GHz|
|800 MHz||750 MHz||700 MHz||750 MHz||700 MHz||650 MHz|
|IGP type||UHD Graphics
|UHD Graphics 600||UHD Graphics 600||UHD Graphics 605||UHD Graphics 600||UHD Graphics 600|
|TDP||10 W||10 W||10 W||6 W||6 W||6 W|
All Pentium Silver and Celeron processors will come packing Gigabit Wi-Fi with 2×2 802.11ac wireless networking capable of using 160 MHz channels. Intel says this Wi-Fi solution is twice as fast as solutions that use 80 MHz channels, and 12 times faster than machines with ye olde 2.4 GHz 802.11n. The company goes on to boast that the new wireless setup is potentially faster than wired Gigabit Ethernet, though that seems more than a bit optimistic to us.
Intel says the UHD Graphics 600 and UHD Graphics 605 IGPs in the new chips can "handle the latest in enhanced media for a great experience streaming content from popular sites like YouTube and Netflix," but the company didn't mention the ability to play back 4K Netflix content. Streaming 4K Netflix has been a rather thorny issue to date, requiring either a Kaby Lake IGP or a recent Nvidia graphics card with at least 4 GB or video memory. The IGPs in the six new Intel chips are also the first in the company's value CPU line to support the Local Adaptive Contrast Enhancement feature meant to boost display visibility in harsh lighting conditions.
Intel's smaller-die architecture has always boasted good power efficiency, and the company claims a sample machine with an 11.5" screen can play ten hours of local 4K HEVC video content on a single charge of a petite 35 WHr battery. Intel also says that a computer built with a Pentium Silver N5000 processor should deliver 58% better performance in SYSmark 2014 compared to a four-year-old Pentium N3540-powered PC.
The new Pentium Silver and Celeron processors are launching today, though socketed retail CPUs aren't part of the product mix. Gerbils seeking the increased performance and improved Wi-Fi of these new chips will probably have to wait for pre-built desktop and portable systems.