Hardware: Intel 7th Generation CPU

The 4th quarter of 2016 Intel released their 7th generation CPU. As of now, I can’t find the chips for sale. Apparently, all the chips are going to OEM’s.

Intel 7th Gen CPU's

Intel 7th Gen CPU’s

The 7th gen chips are based on 14nm tech. The CPU’s deliver 12% more performance than the 6th generation CPU’s. Power consumption remains about the same in 6th and 7th gen CPU’s for general computing and gaming. 

A big difference is in the labeling of the CPU’s. With 1st to 6th gen CPU’s you have to look up the processor code (i5-6600K) to know which generation the chip belongs to. With 7th gen chips it will be printed on the chip as “7th Gen”. If you buy used chips or want to sell a CPU on eBay the labeling will be a game changer.

However, the 7th gen chips used in laptops and especially in the thin fanless laptops, will not be the same chip used in desktops. In the older style naming we used ‘m’ and ‘i’. In the 7th gen you’ll have to know the 4.5 watt chips are the less powerful ‘m’ type chips. The more powerful chips equal to the “i” chips are the 25 watt versions. The ‘m’ or 4.5 watt chips will be running slower and doing less to run cooler and use less power. So, the “m’s” and “i’s” are NOT equal and will not give the same performance in SL.

The Phase I 7th gen’s are marginally better than the 6th gen’s. The biggest improvement is in 4K video processing… 4K or UHD video. For laptops the 7th gen’s will give you more battery life as they use a bit less power. If you are processing 4K video then they will give a lot better battery life. Or so says Intel.

This chip is neither a new architecture nor smaller component size. It is more a refinement of the previous 6th gen. Intel’s tic-toc development cycle of new architecture and then refinement, smaller, faster size is broken with this release. We are getting a second (third?) toc. Intel has been trying to get to 10nm components since 2015. But, the 10nm manufacturing process remains unreliable. We may see Intel get it working in 2017 or 18.

Because of the shift away from desktop computing, Intel may give up the tic-toc cycle and go to an annual release cycle. Once a year tic with multiple tocs (refinements).

Word is we will get two more generations of 14 nm chips before going to 10nm tech. If you haven’t realized it, these small sizes are a concession to the speed of light. Thus, the interest in quantum computing as a way to circumvent that physical limit.

The 3.2GHz 2 core 4 thread i5-7Y54 and 3.60Ghz 2 core 4 thread i7-7Y75 are supposedly out now. I can’t find them anywhere.

I see nothing in these chips that will help with Second Life. The 5th and 6th gen i5’s appear to still be the best choices for SL.

As we move into 2017 the second phase of the 7th gen CPU’s are coming. January? For now this year’s new computers will use Phase I chips. The second phase will provide the chips that MAY provide a boost to Second Life performance.

But, expect companies to be pushing 5th and 6th gen chips in their machines and being less definitive about which is actually inside.

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