Intel's new Kaby Lake CPU delivers on the clock speeds the company promised, but the power consumption and thermal characteristics were disappointing based on a leaked sample of the new chip we received and tested weeks ahead of its official launch.
The greatest gift a review editor can receive is unexpected hardware, especially when that hardware is an anticipated CPU. What would you do with an early sample of Intel’s next-gen Desktop CPU? Overclock, of course! So would I.
[Editor's Note: Intel declined to comment on our general findings. Although the CPU we received is not marked as an engineering part, we cannot confirm with certainty that it is a retail sample.]
I downloaded the latest Kaby Lake firmware for my most recently-tested Z170 motherboard sample and began running benchmarks.
That’s right, I said Z170. It turns out that while the next generation of motherboard may provide minor feature enhancements compared to the current generation, they’re both compatible with the new CPUs. That’s certain to be a big relief to overclockers who recently burned their Skylake-based processors, and it makes sense because of Intel’s recently-adjusted Tick-Tock-Tock strategy of releasing a new die process (Broadwell), followed by a new architecture (Skylake), followed by a process refinement or optimization (rather than another new process). To the point: Kaby Lake is a revision of Skylake.