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Intel 8th Gen Core with Radeon: What to Know About 'Kaby Lake G'

Intel’s 8th Gen processors are stronger than ever, and ready for creatives and gamers. Its new Kaby Lake G series processors feature AMD’s Radeon RX Vega M graphics, and Intel says computers with the new chips will be able to compete with laptops currently using discrete GPUs such as the Nvidia GTX 1050.

Here’s what you need to know:

What are the new CPUs?

Intel’s new laptop CPUs are the Intel Core i5-8305G and Intel Core i7-8705G.

Intel Core i5-8305GIntel Core i7-8705G
Base Clock Frequency2.8 GHz3.1 GHz
Maximum Processor Frequency3.8 GHz4.1 GHz
Cores/Threads4/84/8
TDP65 Watts65 Watts
GPURadeon RX Vega M GLRadeon RX Vega M GL
Intel HD Graphics630630

Each of the processors uses the Radeon RX Vega M GL GPU, but the Core i5 CPU has a lower base and maximum clock speed than the Core i7.

Intel suggests that the new CPU and GPU combo will be perfect for creative professionals, gamers and people streaming 4K media.

The benefit here is that you’ll get powerful graphics performance in thin, compact computers that may not have seen this kind of power before.

The first machines with the new CPUs will show up in the spring of 2018.

Wait, Intel and AMD on the same chip?

I know, right? Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!

Intel is playing down AMD, but there will be a nifty new badge featuring both the Intel 8th Gen logo as well as Radeon’s.

How powerful are the new graphics?

We haven’t had the chance to test these new chips ourselves, but Intel claims that you’ll get 1.4 times higher performance than a computer with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB of RAM.

Intel’s own benchmarks compare a reference laptop with the Core i7-8705G to an Asus laptop using an Intel Core i7-8550U and a GTX 1050. On the Hitman benchmark on high settings and 1080p, the Vega reached 46 fps, while the GTX rendered at 33 fps.

On Deux Ex: Mankind Divided, Intel’s chip hit 36 fps, beating the 1050’s 27 fps. While playing Warhammer: Vermintide 2, the Vega played at 47 fps, just passing the 1050 at 42 fps.

We’ll be sure to run our own tests when we get our first laptops with these chips in them.

What's the difference between Kaby Lake G and Intel's H Series processors?

The G-series doesn’t replace the H series processors. The G series allows for thin, light powerful machines with discrete graphics. While we haven’t yet seen 8th Gen H series processors, they will likely be faster and connect to other discrete graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD for 4K gaming and other intensive tasks. It will remain the processor of choice for the most hardcore gamers.

How much power does Kaby Lake G use?

The new chips are rated at a thermal design power (TDP) level of 65 watts.

Will Intel have gaming drivers ready?

Intel is promising that it will have Day Zero drivers, which you can download prior to a games’ release, ready for triple-A titles. Those Radeon drivers will be available at gameplay.intel.com.

Time will tell if Intel is as good about having drivers ready as fast as Nvidia, which often has drivers tuned for major game releases before or as soon as they launch.

Is Kaby Lake G VR ready?

Sort of. The mobile chips are ready for Windows Mixed Reality, but not the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. For those, you’ll need the desktop versions ot Kaby Lake G (see below).

What about Intel HD Graphics?

Those are still there. That means the new Intel CPUs have two integrated GPUs. The Radeon GPU is more powerful and can power up to six displays, while Intel’s options powers 3 displays.

When you’re not gaming or doing creative work that requires the Vega GPU, computers will switch to Intel HD Graphics 630, which is more power efficient.

What about desktops?

Intel is also bringing 8th Gen Core with Radeon Vega to mini-PCs, starting with its own NUC Enthusiast 8.

Those include the Intel Core i7-8706G, i7-8709G and i7-8809G. The latter two use Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics, which Intel says is up to 1.13 times as powerful as a GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU with 6GB of VRAM.

These will support both the Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality.

Will Kaby Lake G work on business laptops?

It’s unlikely that you’ll see these new chips in business notebooks. Besides being designed for gamers and creatives, none of the the new CPUs support Intel’s vPro for remote management.

Top image: Andrew E. Freedman / Laptop Mag

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