Kaby Lake CPUs Shipping in Dell XPS & Inspiron Notebooks in October

By Published September 18, 2016 at 5:26 pm

Dell's XPS 13 Ultrabook equivalent has moved to the new Intel Kaby Lake architecture. For the past few generations, Intel's small gains in IPC and processing performance have been largely overshadowed by the focus on power efficiency increases. NVIDIA and AMD are also on-board with this focus, and all three silicon manufacturers are pushing to use clock-gating, non-planar process, and algorithmic advancements to lower watt draw.

Reductions in TDP and moves by Intel to improve power efficiency (including idle improvements & S0iX) lengthen battery life, a move with which Dell has synergized by increasing battery capacity to 60Wh. The two together should grant a specified 22 hours of battery life on the XPS 13 notebooks; we are not sure the specifics of the methodology used to make that measurement.

Dell's XPS 13 units ship with Intel i3, i7, and i5 Kaby Lake CPUs (Gen 7). Bottom-up, the laptops will host Intel i3-7100U, i5-7200U, or i7-7500U CPUs and will start at $800 with Ubuntu (unclear on Windows price). Display, CPU, and memory choices dictate price scaling, with the displays alone specified at 1080p (minimally) to 3200x1800. This latter resolution is also used by Razer in the new Blade, which we hope to look at within the next month or two.

Dell also noted the following specifications in its press release:

  • AC Wireless (using Killer, unfortunately)

  • HD & QHD+ displays

  • 13.3” displays

  • Machined aluminum body

The company has also announced its new Inspiron 15 and 17 laptops, targeting a lower-end consumer market. Those will start at $550 (with Windows, as we understand it). The Inspiron brand will begin adopting Gen 7 CPUs with the push in October.

As we discussed in some of our earlier Pascal laptop updates, the timing is good for laptop replacements. Intel and nVidia – and AMD, through the less prolific Polaris offerings – have driven the power envelope down from previous years, while managing watt-for-watt increases in performance. The industry will continue its trajectory toward longer battery life, and will do so without necessitating literal brick-sized power bricks for charging. Minimizing active power consumption helps reduce charger size (and overall travel weight, because the charger is part of that weight), but also lengthens system up-time for normal use.

Windows machines should begin seeing a push into the 10+ hour lifespan range, and at more affordable prices than in previous years. As an interesting side effect, a reduction in power consumption means that battery capacity can also be reduced while still achieving the same run-to-die life. This reduces overall size and weight of a laptop, particularly if the unit is using Li-Ion batteries (rather than the deformable and non-user-serviceable Li-Polymer batteries).

New XPS 13 and Inspiron 15/17 laptops will begin availability on October 4, 2016.

- Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke.

Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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