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Intel finally reveals Core i chips with AMD’s Vega tech on-board

INTEL’S LOVE-IN with rival AMD has yielded five news slices of silicon, with the chip makers revealing the new Core H-series processors that come packing AMD’s Vega M graphics processors.

The chips feature Intel Core i7 and Core i5 CPUs capable of hitting speeds of 4.2GHz and 3.8GHz respectively. Despite being dubbed Kaby Lake-G, with the ‘G’ standing for graphics, the CPUs are eighth-generation chips rather than silicon-based around the seven-gen Kaby Lake architecture.

These CPUs are complemented with AMD’s Vega M GH and Vega M GL GPUs, the former being more powerful than the latter, and have 4GB of second-generation high bandwidth memory (HBM2) to draw upon.

The Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge on the chips is claimed to be the key to getting the CPU and GPU to play nice, as well as reduce the footprint of the silicon to one that smaller than having a standard CPU paired with a discrete graphics card.

The five chips are as follows, starting with the most powerful: Core i7-8809G, Core i7-8709G, Core i7-8706G, Core i7-8705G, and Core i5-8305G.

At CES 2018, touted benchmarks show the chips keeping pace with a computer using a Core i7-7700HQ and Nvidia’s Max-Q version of its mid-range GeForce 1080 GPU.

In both dedicated benchmarking tools and demanding games like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the Intel-AMD love-child outpaced the more traditional CPU and GPU setup, though it’s worth noting that the test favours the new eighth-generation architecture and the Core i7-7700HQ is based on last generation Intel tech so it’s perhaps not the fairest comparison.

Nevertheless, for a 2-in-1 chip to out even keep up with a traditional CPU and GPU setup is impressive.

But what will these chips be used for we hear you cry? Well, they’re to be plonked in Dell and HP laptops and 2-in-one devices, slated to be revealed at CES.

And Intel took the covers off its “most powerful” NUC (next unit compute) compact computer to date, which makes uses of the new Kaby Lake-G chips to have a machine that sits in a person’s hand but can still power virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

So basically, these new chips are paving the way for more compact laptops, desktops, and all-in-one PCs that have more graphical grunt than one would expect but don’t hoover up power or cough out heat like more traditional dedicated GPUs.

The real test will be exactly how computer makers put these chips to work and ensure they get the most power and efficiency out of them, but we’re grateful to see a little bit of innovation creep back into Intel’s chip line up, which until now has just being tick-tocking along without much aplomb. µ

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