Intel Rumored To Be Readying New Kaby Lake Core i7 And i5 Chips, Aggressive Pricing To Fend Off AMD Ryzen

In about a month from now, AMD will release its Ryzen processor lineup, which could be as many as 17 processors spanning quad-core, six-core, and eight-core SKUs. If things go to plan, Ryzen will return AMD to its glory days as a competitor in the enthusiast market. The question is, how will Intel respond? One strategy the Santa Clara chipmaker might employ is to try and steal some of AMD's thunder by striking first with new Kaby Lake processors.

Our crystal ball is undergoing maintenance at the moment, but in its place are a bunch of rumors and supposedly leaked information. What some of them point to is AMD pricing its Ryzen chips lower than competitive CPUs from Intel. In doing so, Ryzen wouldn't necessarily have to win every benchmark, it would just have to be competitive to win the bang-for-buck battle.

Kaby Lake

Intel's retort is to flesh out is Kaby Lake line to make it more difficult for AMD to undercut the company on price, or at least make it difficult to do so across the board. It also wants to retain the performance crown. Citing an un-named source, a French-language website says Intel will sample several new quad-core Kaby Lake processors, two of which it has details on. One is the Core i7-7740K and the other is the Core i5-7640K.

The Core i7-7740K is said to have 8MB of L3 cache, along with a base frequency of 4.3GHz, which is 100MHz faster than the Core i7-7700K. It is not known what the Turbo frequency will be, though a reasonable assumption is 4.6GHz. Those faster speeds will be accompanied by a higher TDP—over 100W, compared to 91W for the Core i7-7700K.

Settling a little lower on the totem pole will be the Core i5-7640K. This quad-core part will feature 6MB of L3 cache and have a base frequency of 4GHz, up 200MHz compared to the Core i5-7600K. It will also have a higher TDP at over 100W, though what really makes this chip interesting is the supposed inclusion of Hyper Threading. That would give it eight threads to throw at tasks, and would also make this the first Core i5 desktop part to feature Hyper Threading.

Our knee-jerk reaction would be to dismiss the rumor as highly unlikely, except for one thing: Intel has already broken tradition by adding support for Hyper Threading to Kaby Lake Pentium chips, whereas previously this was a distinguishing feature between Pentium and Core i3 CPUs.

This could all be much ado about nothing, though if it proves true, then it would seem that Intel is perhaps more worried about Ryzen than it's letting on.