Benchmarking Intel Kaby Lake-Y With Dell's XPS 13 2-in-1

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Intel Kaby Lake-Y: 4.5 Watts With 7 Watts TDP-Up For Performance Bursts

Intel has been gradually rolling out its 7th generation Kaby Lake-based Core series processors for an array of computing platforms, from desktops to notebooks and 2-in-1 hybrid devices. We've shown you what Kaby Lake can do for enthusiast and gamer desktop platforms. We've even recently explored optimizing its price/performance ratio through overclocking, and of course, Kaby Lake notebooks led Intel's charge starting in the summer of last year.

What we haven't gotten a chance to look at yet is Intel's lowest powered Kaby Lake variant, known as Kaby Lake-Y. Kaby Lake-Y is the the 4.5 - 7 Watt family of processors intended for thin and light, fanless 2-in-1 devices. Fortunately, since this little fella just showed up, we now can offer you a view of performance with the complete Kaby Lake family lineage, at least as it currently exists today... 

XPS 13 2 in 1 Left Side Angle
Dell's XPS 13 2-in-1 - Review In Progress - A Super-Svelte Beauty

That's the XPS 13 2-in-1, a 2.7 pound, thinner and lighter version of Dell's venerable 13-inch premium notebook, now with a 360-degree hinge. It also has a smaller 45 Whr battery versus the standard XPS 13's 60 Whr power plant. However, it shares lots of common design features, like the same gorgeous 400-nits 13.3" Infinity Edge display, a PCI Express Solid State Drive, and tasty carbon fiber composite and machined aluminum construction. 

However, in what some might consider a bold move for an "XPS" branded product, Dell elected to go with Intel's low power Kaby Lake-Y series of processors, versus the traditional U series commonly found in premium thin notebook designs. Dell did work significant optimizations into the design though, taking advantage of Kaby Lake's TDP-up feature that allow the 4.5 Watt processor to boost higher in Dynamic Power Mode to a 7 Watt power envelope. In addition, Dell took that capability a step further and engineered the XPS 13 2-In-1 to be able to boost to a 9 Watt TDP for short bursts, with a healthy 3.6GHz top end clock speed.

Kaby Lake Processors Family Types

Above is a shot of the full Intel Kaby Lake lineage, though what you don't see here is what Intel typically introduces a year or so down the road from initial launch, which are the big iron E-series chips, as the company rolled out fairly recently with Broadwell-E and eventually will for Skylake-E. What we're looking at today is what Kaby Lake can do in its most power-optimized incarnation in the Y-Series family, which is designed for 2-in-1 convertible machines, which are often fanless designs, like Dell's new XPS 13 2-in-1.

What Dell sent us was a carefully selected setup with the following specs:
  • XPS 13 2-In-1 Model 9365
  • Core i7-7Y75 with 4MB Cache, Up To 3.6GHz
  • 8GB LPDDR3-1866MHz
  • 256GB PCIe SSD
  • 1920x1080 FHD Touch Display
  • MSRP $1299 (As tested, starting at $999)
That Core i7-7Y75 is the top-end Kaby Lake-Y CPU Intel has to offer currently and Dell pushes it even further in the XPS 13 2-In-1's design to a 9 Watt peak power envelope.

We would be remiss if we didn't point out that, yes, Intel has done away almost completely with the "Core m" moniker with Kaby Lake, choosing instead to denote the series in the root of the model number, like it does with the U series (as in Core i7-7Y75). However, the company does list lower-end Core m3 variants of Kaby Lake as such, while i5 and i7 higher-end SKUs are only distinguishable with the Y in the root of the model number. Clear as mud right? 

Regardless, here's a quick peek, ahead of our soon-to-be-published full review, of what this new machine can do and what the fastest Kaby Lake-Y setup you can likely buy today can offer in terms of comparable performance. 

SunSpider XPS 13 2 in 1

PCMark 8 XPS 13 2 in 1

In these two tests, we see the Dell XPS 13 2-In-1, along with its goosed-up Kaby Lake Core i7-7Y75 chip, take on the likes of full fledged Kaby Lake U series chips like the Core i7-7500U in the standard Dell XPS 13 and ASUS ZenBook 3. As you can see, this new Dell machine hangs with its U-series counterparts just fine, in a virtual dead-heat in SunSpider and a respectable top 3 showing in PCMark 8. In PCMark, the Core i7-7Y75 does line up more akin to last generation Haswell-U 6th generation processors, like the Core i7-6500U and Core i5-6200U, but it's not far behind Kaby Lake U in this test.

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