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Some of the very powerful ultrabooks: the 5 most interesting models on Intel Kaby Lake-R

Written by Tyler Rondman

Some of the very powerful ultrabooks: the 5 most interesting models on Intel Kaby Lake-R

Intel has introduced several new processors for laptops with twice the number of cores than the previous line. Theoretically, it will be possible to play modern games on decent settings even on ultrabooks. Here we’re going to discuss the processors themselves and future laptops base on them.

In August, Intel declared 4 new mobile processors of 8th generation. The debuted chips are part of the Intel Kaby Lake Refresh family whereas everyone expected that the architecture would be of Coffee Lake. This time the processors received a significant update by adding 4 cores instead of 2, without changing their names. Previous chipset lines Intel Core U always came out with two cores –(i) very low power consumption and (ii)heat dissipation (~ 15 W). It’s one of the major requirements for the ultrabook processor that allows you to make thin laptops with a very long battery life.

The performance of U-series was far than older brothers – i5 and i7 (TDP 45W) – which are used in gaming and professional laptops. The new Kaby Lake-R series should significantly reduce the distance and clear the line between economical mobile Intel Core processors and “adults”.

All Ultra Low Voltage models support Hyper-Threading remarkably. It means, unlike 45-watt Intel Core i5-7300HQ, they work in 8 threads.

Intel Kaby Lake

Intel Kaby Lake-R

Name of the chip

Number of cores / threads

Base / Turbo Boost Frequency Name of the chip

Number of cores / threads

Base / Turbo Boost Frequency
i7-7660U

2/4

2.5 / 4.0 GHz i7-8650U

4/8

1.9 / 4.2 GHz
i7-7560U 2.4 / 3.8 GHz i7-8550U 1.8 / 4.0 GHz
i5-7360U 2.3 / 3.6 GHz i5-8350U 1.7 / 3.6 GHz
i5-7260U 2.2 / 3.4 GHz i5-8250U 1.6 / 3.4 GHz

When compared with the processors of the previous generation, other differences are revealed. For example, the base frequency of chips with four cores is much lower. It’s understandable, because more cores will be heated more, if the frequency is not lowered. But certain questions arise – what exactly to expect from laptops on Kaby Lake Refresh? Does it perform significantly less than a typical 45-watt quad-core? How’s the limit operating modes of the cooling system of ultra-thin laptops? 

Intel itself claims that the performance of four-core 15-watt Intel Kaby Lake-R will be 40% better than the previous multi-threaded applications. After a long time, such scenario comes where we see an influential increase in the performance of Intel’s ULV chips. Moreover, mobile chips, perhaps, will begin to tread on the heels of 4-core 45-watts. This will lead them to be sufficed even for modern games. Some sources, which are engaged in testing the processors, opine that even Intel i5-8250U goes nose to nose with Intel Core i5-7300HQ. Below are a few interesting notebooks of different structure. They’ll soon appear on the shelves and will seriously shake the lethargic market of laptops.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro

Price : Starting from $ 860

Display diagonal: 15.6 inches

Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce MX150

Unfortunately, Xiaomi did not officially launch its first laptop in Russia. But it’ll bring the updated model. Its characteristics are equally attracting like the previous edition.

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro – A 15.6-inch Full HD Laptop. Depending on the configuration, the brain of the iron filling will be Intel Core Kaby Lake-R i5 or i7. The size of the RAM is up to 16 GB (DDR4), and SSD capacity up to 1 terabyte. Finally, there was a place for a discrete video card – NVIDIA GeForce MX150 with 2 GB GDDR5 in this 1.95-kilogram laptop. In other words – it’s a full package.

By the way, let me help you to recall that the speed of NVIDIA GeForce MX150 is approximately between 950M and 860M. Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro is best for those who need a universal laptop – compact, small but productive. Besides, who wants a stylish, but inexpensive laptop with a mediocre video card may go for Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro. Price starts just from 860 dollars.

Lenovo Yoga 920

Price: Starting from 1600 Euros

Diagonal Screen size: 13.9 inches

Graphics card: Intel 620 UHD Graphics

In early September of 2017, this ultrabook was introduced to replace last year’s flagship model Lenovo Yoga Y910. First of all, this novelty has a 13.9-inch touch screen and it also knows how to turn 360 degrees. Secondly, under the hood, you can find both i5 or i7 of Kaby Lake-R architecture, but there is no dedicated video card. In the new processors, the video core remains the same. You can play only low demanding games though. In addition, the ultrabook weighs only 1.37 kg, which is much more important for those who carry it every day.

This laptop also offers SSD-drive up to 1 TB and up to 16 GB of RAM. The solid-state drive is not fixed, but without removing the motherboard it will not be possible to replace it with a better one. According to Noteboockcheck.com, who already had tested the laptop on the i5-8250U, stated that this new 15-watt processor is not inferior to the 45-watt Intel Core i5-7300HQ, which is used in gaming laptops of primary and middle class. If the previous model was just a stylish ultrabukom-transformer, with the same dimensions, the new allows you rapidly launch the video.

ASUS ZenBook 13 UX331UN

Price: not announced yet

Diagonal display: 13.3 inches

Video: NVIDIA GeForce MX150

In the hardware section, the ASUS ZenBook 13 UX331UN is very similar to the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pr, yet there is one big “but”. Having a 13.3-inch screen, the “ZenBook” is much more compact, and weighs only 1.13 kg. In other words, it is intended for those who work in a train, cafe, taxi or in airplane. Not to mention, this laptop will be less noticeable in a backpack or bag.

But at the same time there is a dedicated graphics card in it! Of course, this is only the NVIDIA GeForce MX150, but with the combination of Core i5-8250U, you can play Far Cry 4 at Full HD resolution. What’s more? On a medium setting, Civilization V, Bioshock Infinite and other not very demanding games aren’t impossible to play either. One downside in this ultrabook you may want to ignore is that, the video card has a slightly reduced frequency.

As for the other characteristics, the SSD drive has storage from 128 to 1024 GB. RAM ranges from 8 to 16 GB, and more importantly and even surprisingly, the ASUS ZenBook 13 UX331UN has a lot of ports: two USB 3.1 Type-C, one USB 3.1 Type-A, HDMI version 1.4.

Acer Spin 5

Price: starting from $ 800

Display Diagonal: 13.3 inches

Graphics Card: Intel UHD Graphics 620

Acer Spin 5 can be compared to the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro in terms of price, but regarding usability, they are different laptops. For example, the “back” display is smaller, though it can be transformed into a tablet, like the Lenovo Yoga 920. But it’s twice cheaper than the Xiaomi.

Acer Spin 5 does not have a video card, but it has got the latest Intel Kaby Lake-R chipset, up to 16 GB of RAM and SSD drive. Interestingly, the 13.3-inch Acer Spin 5 has an elder brother with a 15.6-inch display and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. It will be a good choice for those who are interested in games due to the new processors.

The interior of the “trinas” is akin to Lenovo Yoga 920, but with a modest shell from the outside. If you need a powerful workhorse, then Acer Spin 5 perfectly suits this role. With the MX150, your work would be even better.

Acer Switch 7 Black Edition

Price: Starting from $ 1699

Diagonal display: 13.5 inches

Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce MX150

The title of “Maximal Tablet” is firmly awarded to Acer Switch 7 Black Edition for a very powerful processor and graphics card. It comes with the new quad-core Intel Core Kaby Lake-R and NVIDIA GeForce MX150. Besides, according to the manufacturer, this tablet is without a fan. Acer Switch 7 Black Edition is sold together with the detachable keyboard. Weighes approximately 1.15 kg like a “thin” ultrabook.

In addition, it has a high, but unusual screen resolution – 2256 × 1504 pixels. The price starts from 1700 dollars.

About the author

Tyler Rondman

When he isn't enjoying the beautiful Northwest outdoors, you can find Tyler on business and tech sites, writing about the latest news, analyzing trends, and generally making the Internet a more interesting place.

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