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Kaby Lake (Core i7-7500U) Review: Skylake on Steroids

Till Schönborn (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 09/12/2016

Surprisingly powerful. Not a new architecture and not a new process – but Intel's gently optimized Kaby Lake generation still manages a significant frequency and performance jump. We tested the new Core i7-7500U. Update 09/12/2016: New benchmarks of the Core i5-7200U.

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Intel's CPU development follows the so called Tick-Tock model since the last P4 generation. Every year, we would see either a smaller manufacturing process (Tick) or a new micro architecture (Tock). This concept worked very well for many years – the CPU giant was able to increase the gap to the rivals with often small, but steady performance and efficiency increases.

Due to the increasing complexity and costs of a new manufacturing process, Intel now has to change the plan: Instead of two, there will be three CPU designs with the same process from now on – Tick-Tock becomes "Process -> Architecture -> Optimization". Looking at the current 14 nm generation, Broadwell and Skylake represent the first two steps, while the new Kaby Lake platform is the culmination of the series.

But what can Kaby Lake offer compared to the predecessors? For quite a while, it is the first time that both the CPU and GPU design are basically unchanged, so we do not expect increased per-MHz performance. The manufacturer still promises noticeably more performance as a result of higher clocks or better Turbo Boost utilization at the same consumption, respectively. Only the video unit was redesigned, and it now supports the codecs VP9 as well as HEVC-Main10 with a 10-bit color depth and it is also supposed to be even more efficient. We also get HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 support for the first time, but these features will be reserved for the new chip revision we will see at the end of the year. The first batches are still limited to HDCP 1.4 and can therefore not output Netflix in 4K, for example.

SKUs

Even though there are already some unofficial details about the upcoming quad-cores, Intel only announced 6 ULV models from the U- (15 Watts) and Y-series (4.5 Watts) today. New: Only the Core m3-7Y30 is officially called Core "m", while the two faster models 7Y54 and 7Y75 are now listed as i5 and i7 chips, respectively – not really a customer-friendly decision since the TDP rating is important for the performance of the processor. This means a Core i3 with a 15-Watt TDP can actually be faster than a Core i7 rated at 4.5 Watts.

SKU Cores/Threads Base clock Turbo 1C/2C GPU TDP
Kaby Lake
i7-7500U 2/4 2.7 GHz 3.5/3.5 GHz HD Graphics 620 (300 - 1050 MHz) 15 Watts
i5-7200U 2/4 2.5 GHz 3.1/3.1(?) GHz HD Graphics 620 (300 - 1000 MHz) 15 Watts
i3-7100U 2/4 2.4 GHz HD Graphics 620 (300 - 1000 MHz) 15 Watts
i7-7Y75 2/4 1.3 GHz 3.6/? GHz HD Graphics 615 (300 - 1050 MHz) 4.5 Watts
i5-7Y54 2/4 1.2 GHz 3.2/? GHz HD Graphics 615 (300 - 950 MHz) 4.5 Watts
m3-7Y30 2/4 1.0 GHz 2.6/? GHz HD Graphics 615 (300 - 900 MHz) 4.5 Watts
Skylake
i7-6500U 2/4 2.5 GHz 3.1/3.0 GHz HD Graphics 520 (300 - 1050 MHz) 15 Watts
i5-6200U 2/4 2.3 GHz 2.8/2.7 GHz HD Graphics 520 (300 - 1000 MHz) 15 Watts
i3-6100U 2/4 2.3 GHz HD Graphics 520 (300 - 1000 MHz) 15 Watts
m7-6Y75 2/4 1.2 GHz 3.1/2.9 GHz HD Graphics 515 (300 - 1000 MHz) 4.5 Watts
m5-6Y54 2/4 1.1 GHz 2.7/2.4 GHz HD Graphics 515 (300 - 900 MHz) 4.5 Watts
m3-6Y30 2/4 0.9 GHz 2.2/2.0 GHz HD Graphics 515 (300 - 850 MHz) 4.5 Watts

The Test Model

We want to thank MSI for the supply of the test model, the new CX72-7QL. The bulky 17-inch system is a slightly slimmed-down version of the GE72 and we already know it from the review of the Nvidia GeForce 940MX. The following chassis pictures were taken from this article. The notebook is equipped with the following components:

Benchmarks

CPU Performance

Intel Core i7-7500U "Kaby Lake"
Intel Core i7-7500U "Kaby Lake"

Compared to the direct predecessor Core i7-6500U (2.5 GHz base, 3.1 GHz for one core, 3.0 GHz for two cores), the clocks of the Core i7-7500U (2.7 GHz base, 3.5 GHz for one core, 3.5 GHz for two cores) were increased by around 10-15 percent and therefore even surpass the Skylake top model Core i7-6600U (2.6 GHz base, 3.4 GHz for one core, 3.2 GHz for two cores).

As always, the maximum clocks are just one aspect – the processor can only maintain the specified maximum values if it does not surpass the TDP. Looking at the Core i7-7500U, this is only the case for single-threading applications, where we can see the maximum 3.5 GHz all the time. The clocks will drop from initial 3.5 GHz to 3.2-3.3 GHz after 30 seconds in multi-core scenarios. All in all, we get a respectable 15 percent advantage over a Core i7-6500U in both scenarios. Even a Core i7-6600U with an increased TDP limit of 25 Watts (ThinkPad T460s) cannot keep up with the new CPU.

Update 09/12/2016: The less powerful Core i5-7200U (2.5 GHz base clock, 3.1 GHz Turbo for one and two cores) also leaves a great impression in our benchmarks. The performance is just above the previous high-end model Core i7-6500U and only a bit slower than the i7-6600U. The maximum Turbo Boost is maintained in all single and multi-core benchmarks.

Our test sample of the i5-7200U seems to be a pretty bad example, because the chip already consumed around 16 Watts at 3.1 GHz in Cinebench R15 Multi. In theory, the CPU should have to throttle its clock by around 100 MHz, but this does not happen since Acer increased the TDP limit to 25 Watts for the test model E15 E5-575G-549D (review will follow soon). Without this, the performance would probably be 2-3 % lower.

Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
Intel Core i7-7500U
1.68 Points ∼100%
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
1.67 Points ∼99% -1%
Intel Core i7-6600U
1.57 Points ∼93% -7%
Intel Core i5-6300HQ
1.49 Points ∼89% -11%
Intel Core i5-7200U
1.48 Points ∼88% -12%
Intel Core i7-6500U
1.45 Points ∼86% -14%
Intel Core i5-6300U
1.41 Points ∼84% -16%
Intel Core i5-6200U
1.33 Points ∼79% -21%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
7.42 Points ∼100% +84%
Intel Core i5-6300HQ
5.42 Points ∼73% +34%
Intel Core i7-7500U
4.03 Points ∼54%
Intel Core i7-6600U
3.83 Points ∼52% -5%
Intel Core i5-7200U
3.7 Points ∼50% -8%
Intel Core i7-6500U
3.55 Points ∼48% -12%
Intel Core i5-6300U
3.42 Points ∼46% -15%
Intel Core i5-6200U
3.19 Points ∼43% -21%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
147 Points ∼100% +1%
Intel Core i7-7500U
145 Points ∼99%
Intel Core i7-6600U
141 Points ∼96% -3%
Intel Core i5-6300HQ
136 Points ∼93% -6%
Intel Core i5-7200U
129 Points ∼88% -11%
Intel Core i7-6500U
124 Points ∼84% -14%
Intel Core i5-6300U
122 Points ∼83% -16%
Intel Core i5-6200U
115 Points ∼78% -21%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
662 Points ∼100% +82%
Intel Core i5-6300HQ
468 Points ∼71% +29%
Intel Core i7-7500U
363 Points ∼55%
Intel Core i7-6600U
347 Points ∼52% -4%
Intel Core i5-7200U
331 Points ∼50% -9%
Intel Core i7-6500U
319 Points ∼48% -12%
Intel Core i5-6300U
305 Points ∼46% -16%
Intel Core i5-6200U
288 Points ∼44% -21%
X264 HD Benchmark 4.0
Pass 2
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
41.83 fps ∼100% +75%
Intel Core i5-6300HQ
31.29 fps ∼75% +31%
Intel Core i7-7500U
23.95 fps ∼57%
Intel Core i7-6600U
22.62 fps ∼54% -6%
Intel Core i5-7200U
21.68 fps ∼52% -9%
Intel Core i7-6500U
20.95 fps ∼50% -13%
Intel Core i5-6300U
20.38 fps ∼49% -15%
Intel Core i5-6200U
19.04 fps ∼46% -21%
Pass 1
Intel Core i5-6300HQ
153.03 fps ∼100% +15%
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
147.4 fps ∼96% +11%
Intel Core i7-7500U
133.16 fps ∼87%
Intel Core i7-6600U
120.37 fps ∼79% -10%
Intel Core i5-7200U
112.11 fps ∼73% -16%
Intel Core i7-6500U
107.55 fps ∼70% -19%
Intel Core i5-6300U
107.49 fps ∼70% -19%
Intel Core i5-6200U
101.29 fps ∼66% -24%
TrueCrypt
Serpent Mean 100MB
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
0.393 GB/s ∼100% +77%
Intel Core i5-6300HQ
0.249 GB/s ∼63% +12%
Intel Core i7-7500U
0.222 GB/s ∼56%
Intel Core i7-6600U
0.201 GB/s ∼51% -9%
Intel Core i5-7200U
0.196 GB/s ∼50% -12%
Intel Core i7-6500U
0.191 GB/s ∼49% -14%
Intel Core i5-6300U
0.182 GB/s ∼46% -18%
Intel Core i5-6200U
0.171 GB/s ∼44% -23%
Twofish Mean 100MB
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
0.664 GB/s ∼100% +77%
Intel Core i5-6300HQ
0.418 GB/s ∼63% +11%
Intel Core i7-7500U
0.375 GB/s ∼56%
Intel Core i7-6600U
0.343 GB/s ∼52% -9%
Intel Core i5-7200U
0.332 GB/s ∼50% -11%
Intel Core i7-6500U
0.321 GB/s ∼48% -14%
Intel Core i5-6300U
0.311 GB/s ∼47% -17%
Intel Core i5-6200U
0.288 GB/s ∼43% -23%
AES Mean 100MB
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
3.5 GB/s ∼100% +59%
Intel Core i5-6300HQ
2.5 GB/s ∼71% +14%
Intel Core i7-7500U
2.2 GB/s ∼63%
Intel Core i7-6600U
2 GB/s ∼57% -9%
Intel Core i5-7200U
1.9 GB/s ∼54% -14%
Intel Core i7-6500U
1.8 GB/s ∼51% -18%
Intel Core i5-6200U
1.7 GB/s ∼49% -23%
Intel Core i5-6300U
1.6 GB/s ∼46% -27%
WinRAR - Result
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
3695 KB/s ∼100% +23%
Intel Core i7-7500U
3011 KB/s ∼81%
Intel Core i5-6300HQ
2861 KB/s ∼77% -5%
Intel Core i7-6600U
2635 KB/s ∼71% -12%
Intel Core i5-7200U
2418 KB/s ∼65% -20%
Intel Core i7-6500U
2355 KB/s ∼64% -22%
Intel Core i5-6200U
2041 KB/s ∼55% -32%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - ---
Intel Core i5-6300U
670.775 Seconds * ∼100% -23%
Intel Core i7-6500U
658.355 Seconds * ∼98% -20%
Intel Core i5-7200U
643.2 Seconds * ∼96% -18%
Intel Core i5-6300HQ
630.932 Seconds * ∼94% -15%
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
585.797 Seconds * ∼87% -7%
Intel Core i7-6600U
571.685 Seconds * ∼85% -4%
Intel Core i7-7500U
547.208 Seconds * ∼82%
3DMark 06 - CPU - ---
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
7063 Points ∼100% +44%
Intel Core i5-6300HQ
5766 Points ∼82% +17%
Intel Core i7-7500U
4921 Points ∼70%
Intel Core i7-6600U
4560 Points ∼65% -7%
Intel Core i7-6500U
4227 Points ∼60% -14%
Intel Core i5-7200U
4225 Points ∼60% -14%
Intel Core i5-6300U
4050 Points ∼57% -18%
Intel Core i5-6200U
3828 Points ∼54% -22%
Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
11923 Points ∼100% +52%
Intel Core i5-6300HQ
9520 Points ∼80% +22%
Intel Core i7-7500U
7835 Points ∼66%
Intel Core i7-6600U
7082 Points ∼59% -10%
Intel Core i5-7200U
6370 Points ∼53% -19%
Intel Core i7-6500U
6092 Points ∼51% -22%
32 Bit Single-Core Score
Intel Core i7-7500U
3706 Points ∼100%
Intel Core i7-6600U
3384 Points ∼91% -9%
Intel Core i5-6300HQ
3301 Points ∼89% -11%
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
3194 Points ∼86% -14%
Intel Core i5-7200U
2888 Points ∼78% -22%
Intel Core i7-6500U
2816 Points ∼76% -24%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Intel Core i5-6200U (Edge 25)
1285.7 ms * ∼100% -34%
Intel Core i5-7200U (Edge 25)
1139.5 ms * ∼89% -18%
Intel Core i5-6300HQ (Edge 20)
1129.9 ms * ∼88% -17%
Intel Core i7-6500U (Edge 20)
1103.9 ms * ∼86% -15%
Intel Core i7-6600U (Chrome 49)
1030.1 ms * ∼80% -7%
Intel Core i7-6700HQ (Edge 20)
994.3 ms * ∼77% -3%
Intel Core i7-7500U (Edge 25)
961.9 ms * ∼75%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Intel Core i7-6700HQ (Edge 20)
37996 Points ∼100% +1%
Intel Core i7-7500U (Edge 25)
37473 Points ∼99%
Intel Core i7-6600U (Chrome 49)
33639 Points ∼89% -10%
Intel Core i5-7200U (Edge 25)
32242 Points ∼85% -14%
Intel Core i5-6300HQ (Edge 20)
31710 Points ∼83% -15%
Intel Core i7-6500U (Edge 20)
29745 Points ∼78% -21%
Intel Core i5-6200U (Edge 25)
28320 Points ∼75% -24%

Legend

 
MSI CX72-7QL Intel Core i7-7500U, Intel HD Graphics 620,
 
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE Intel Core i7-6600U, Intel HD Graphics 520, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
 
Lenovo ThinkPad E560-20EWS00000 Intel Core i7-6500U, AMD Radeon R7 M370, Samsung CM871 MZ7LF192HCGS
 
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5 Intel Core i5-6300U, NVIDIA Maxwell GPU Surface Book (940M, GDDR5), Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
 
HP ProBook 640 G2-T9X60ET Intel Core i5-6200U, Intel HD Graphics 520, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
 
Acer Aspire V Nitro VN7-792G-55SF Intel Core i5-6300HQ, NVIDIA GeForce 945M, Toshiba MQ02ABD100H
 
Lenovo ThinkPad T460p-20FXS05500 Intel Core i7-6700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN512HCHP
 
Acer Aspire E5-575G-549D Intel Core i5-7200U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, Toshiba MQ01ABD100

* ... smaller is better

Performance consistency under sustained CPU load

We want to have a closer look at the Turbo Boost behavior as well as the according power consumption compared to the Skylake generation. Even though the single-thread performance is about 3 percent higher compared to the Core i7-6600U, the Kaby Lake chip is almost 20 % more frugal (CPU Package Power).

Cinebench R15 shows similar efficiency improvements between 15-25 percent in the multi-thread benchmark. As mentioned above, the Core i7-7500U cannot maintain its maximum clock with a TDP limit of 15 Watts, but 3.3-3.2 GHz are still much higher than a comparable Skylake model, which would hit the 15-Watt limit at 2.8 GHz. The listed Core i7-6600U inside the ThinkPad T460s can only maintain 3.2 GHz thanks to an increased TDP limit, but also consumes much more power.

Start after 30 seconds after 5 minutes

Core i7-7500U

Cinebench R15 (Single)

3.5 GHz (9.5 Watts) 3.5 GHz (9.5 Watts) 3.5 GHz (9.5 Watts)

Cinebench R15 (Multi)

3.5 GHz (18.2 Watts) 3.2 - 3.3 GHz (14.9 Watts) 3.2 - 3.3 GHz (14.9 Watts)

Prime95

3.5 GHz (20.6 Watts) 3.0 - 3.1 GHz (14.9 Watts) 3.0 - 3.1 GHz (14.9 Watts)

Core i7-6600U (25 Watts)

Cinebench R15 (Single)

3.4 GHz (11.8 Watts) 3.4 GHz (11.8 Watts) 3.4 GHz (11.8 Watts)

Cinebench R15 (Multi)

3.2 GHz (19.3 Watts) 3.2 GHz (19.3 Watts) 3.2 GHz (19.3 Watts)

Prime95

3.2 GHz (21.7 Watts) 3.2 GHz (21.7 Watts) 3.2 GHz (21.7 Watts)

Discussion

GPU Performance

perfect utilization of the GPU Turbo
perfect utilization of the GPU Turbo

The MSI CX72-7QL is equipped with 16 GB of the fast DDR4-2133 memory in a dual-channel configuration, which is a great way to utilize the maximum performance of the HD Graphics 620. Even though the HD Graphics 520 successor is still equipped with just 24 Execution units (EUs) and the clocks did not change, either (i7-6500U/i7-7500U: up to 1050 MHz), Intel was able to improve the performance considerably: The gaming performance is 20-30 percent higher on average, so the performance gains are even higher than the synthetic benchmarks indicated. One reason for the comparatively good results is once again the excellent Turbo Boost utilization: Depending on the game, the GPU runs at core clocks between 1000-1050 MHz.

All in all, the HD Graphics 620 is roughly on par with a dedicated Nvidia GeForce 920M or AMD Radeon R7 M440. Upcoming Kaby Lake chips with the more powerful Iris Graphics GPU (GT3e, 48 EUs, eDRAM) should even beat the GeForce 940M(X).

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
2322 Points ∼100% +39%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
2101 Points ∼90% +26%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
1668 Points ∼72%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Dual-Channel)
1416 Points ∼61% -15%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel)
1341 Points ∼58% -20%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel) (Dual-Channel)
1318 Points ∼57% -21%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6500U; Dual-Channel)
1274 Points ∼55% -24%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Single-Channel)
1264 Points ∼54% -24%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6500U; Single-Channel)
1197 Points ∼52% -28%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Single-Channel)
1124 Points ∼48% -33%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
1479 Points ∼100% +31%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
1128 Points ∼76%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Dual-Channel)
935 Points ∼63% -17%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel) (Dual-Channel)
861 Points ∼58% -24%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6500U; Dual-Channel)
814 Points ∼55% -28%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6500U; Single-Channel)
776 Points ∼52% -31%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Single-Channel)
744 Points ∼50% -34%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Single-Channel)
620 Points ∼42% -45%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
11893 Points ∼100% +27%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
11531 Points ∼97% +24%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
9332 Points ∼78%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel) (Dual-Channel)
7904 Points ∼66% -15%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel)
7745 Points ∼65% -17%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Dual-Channel)
7505 Points ∼63% -20%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6500U; Single-Channel)
6759 Points ∼57% -28%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6500U; Dual-Channel)
6674 Points ∼56% -28%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Single-Channel)
5963 Points ∼50% -36%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Single-Channel)
5819 Points ∼49% -38%
LuxMark v2.0 64Bit
Room GPUs-only
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
309 Samples/s ∼100%
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
306 Samples/s ∼99% -1%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Dual-Channel)
224 Samples/s ∼72% -28%
Sala GPUs-only
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
702 Samples/s ∼100% +9%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
645 Samples/s ∼92%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Dual-Channel)
529 Samples/s ∼75% -18%
Sims 4
1920x1080 High Preset
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
29.5 fps ∼100%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel) (Dual-Channel)
25.3 fps ∼86% -14%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Dual-Channel)
21.8 fps ∼74% -26%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Single-Channel)
16.6 fps ∼56% -44%
1366x768 Medium Preset
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
63 fps ∼100%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel) (Dual-Channel)
49.4 fps ∼78% -22%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Dual-Channel)
46.7 fps ∼74% -26%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Single-Channel)
40.5 fps ∼64% -36%
1024x768 Low Preset
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
186.8 fps ∼100%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Dual-Channel)
182.6 fps ∼98% -2%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel) (Dual-Channel)
176.8 fps ∼95% -5%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Single-Channel)
164.8 fps ∼88% -12%
BioShock Infinite
1366x768 High Preset
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
39 fps ∼100% +26%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
35.7 fps ∼92% +16%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
30.9 fps ∼79%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Dual-Channel)
24.5 fps ∼63% -21%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6500U; Dual-Channel)
22.2 fps ∼57% -28%
1366x768 Medium Preset
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
46 fps ∼100% +26%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
42.2 fps ∼92% +15%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
36.6 fps ∼80%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Dual-Channel)
29.8 fps ∼65% -19%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6500U; Dual-Channel)
26 fps ∼57% -29%
1280x720 Very Low Preset
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
82 fps ∼100% +21%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
69.1 fps ∼84% +2%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
67.8 fps ∼83%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Dual-Channel)
55.7 fps ∼68% -18%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6500U; Dual-Channel)
48.3 fps ∼59% -29%
Diablo III
1366x768 High AA:on
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
64.1 fps ∼100%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel) (Dual-Channel)
50.5 fps ∼79% -21%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Single-Channel)
36.1 fps ∼56% -44%
1366x768 Medium / low
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
72.2 fps ∼100%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel) (Dual-Channel)
60.6 fps ∼84% -16%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Single-Channel)
45.1 fps ∼62% -38%
1024x768 Low / off
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
105.9 fps ∼100%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel) (Dual-Channel)
94.2 fps ∼89% -11%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Single-Channel)
68.2 fps ∼64% -36%
Crysis 3
1366x768 High Preset AA:FX AF:16x
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
20 (min: 16) fps ∼100% +36%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
19.6 fps ∼98% +33%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
14.7 fps ∼74%
1366x768 Medium Preset AF:16x
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
32.2 (min: 26) fps ∼100% +39%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
27.6 fps ∼86% +19%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
23.1 fps ∼72%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6500U; Single-Channel)
13.5 fps ∼42% -42%
1024x768 Low Preset
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
53.7 (min: 46) fps ∼100% +41%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
38.2 fps ∼71%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
37.6 fps ∼70% -2%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6500U; Single-Channel)
20.4 fps ∼38% -47%
Metro: Last Light
1366x768 High (DX11) AF:16x
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
22.8 fps ∼100% +30%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
21.9 fps ∼96% +25%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
17.5 fps ∼77%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel)
14.4 fps ∼63% -18%
1366x768 Medium (DX10) AF:4x
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
38 fps ∼100% +33%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
28.6 fps ∼75%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel)
22.6 fps ∼59% -21%
1024x768 Low (DX10) AF:4x
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
48.4 fps ∼100% +38%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
35.2 fps ∼73%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel)
28.7 fps ∼59% -18%
Dirt Rally
1920x1080 High Preset
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
17.2 (min: 13) fps ∼100% +11%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
15.5 fps ∼90%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
14.3 fps ∼83% -8%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Single-Channel)
12.5 fps ∼73% -19%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel) (Dual-Channel)
12.5 fps ∼73% -19%
1366x768 Medium Preset
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
37.1 (min: 28) fps ∼100% +5%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
35.5 fps ∼96%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
30.4 fps ∼82% -14%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel) (Dual-Channel)
25.7 fps ∼69% -28%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Single-Channel)
19.9 fps ∼54% -44%
1024x768 Ultra Low Preset
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
177 (min: 156) fps ∼100% +27%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
139.9 fps ∼79%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
119.2 fps ∼67% -15%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel) (Dual-Channel)
113.3 fps ∼64% -19%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Single-Channel)
70.6 fps ∼40% -50%
Battlefield 4
1366x768 High Preset
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
31.3 (min: 29) fps ∼100% +29%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
24.3 fps ∼78%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Dual-Channel)
18.8 fps ∼60% -23%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel)
18.6 fps ∼59% -23%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6500U; Dual-Channel)
17.1 fps ∼55% -30%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
11.4 fps ∼36% -53%
1366x768 Medium Preset
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
45.1 (min: 39) fps ∼100% +25%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
36.1 fps ∼80%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Dual-Channel)
29.6 fps ∼66% -18%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel)
28.2 fps ∼63% -22%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6500U; Dual-Channel)
26.7 fps ∼59% -26%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
18.4 fps ∼41% -49%
1024x768 Low Preset
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
65 (min: 59) fps ∼100% +22%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
53.3 fps ∼82%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Dual-Channel)
40.4 fps ∼62% -24%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel)
39.8 fps ∼61% -25%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6500U; Dual-Channel)
35.4 fps ∼54% -34%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
29.8 fps ∼46% -44%
The Witcher 3
1920x1080 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
fps
1366x768 Medium Graphics & Postprocessing
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
12.8 (min: 8) fps ∼100% +22%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
12 fps ∼94% +14%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
10.5 fps ∼82%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel)
8.1 fps ∼63% -23%
1024x768 Low Graphics & Postprocessing
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
19.7 (min: 12) fps ∼100% +25%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
17.8 fps ∼90% +13%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
15.8 fps ∼80%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel)
12 fps ∼61% -24%
World of Warships
1920x1080 High Preset AF:8x
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
34.6 (min: 22) fps ∼100% +33%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
26 fps ∼75%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel) (Dual-Channel)
22 fps ∼64% -15%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Single-Channel)
15.9 fps ∼46% -39%
1366x768 Medium Preset AF:Trilinear
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
75 (min: 36) fps ∼100% +37%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
54.6 fps ∼73%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel) (Dual-Channel)
47 fps ∼63% -14%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Single-Channel)
32.1 fps ∼43% -41%
1366x768 Low Preset AF:Trilinear
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
120 (min: 63) fps ∼100% +48%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
81.3 fps ∼68%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Dual-Channel) (Dual-Channel)
69.2 fps ∼58% -15%
HD Graphics 520 (i5-6200U; Single-Channel)
45.2 fps ∼38% -44%
Star Wars Battlefront
1920x1080 High Preset AA:FX
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
10.2 fps ∼100%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
0 fps ∼0% -100%
1366x768 Medium Preset AA:FX
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
22.9 fps ∼100% +1%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
22.7 fps ∼99%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Single-Channel)
15 fps ∼66% -34%
1024x768 Low Preset
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
40.3 fps ∼100%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
40.2 fps ∼100% 0%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Single-Channel)
26 fps ∼65% -35%
Just Cause 3
1920x1080 High / On AA:FX AF:8x
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
15.5 (min: 12) fps ∼100% +44%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
10.8 fps ∼70%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6500U; Dual-Channel)
6.2 fps ∼40% -43%
1366x768 Medium / Off AF:4x
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
28.6 (min: 23) fps ∼100% +29%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
22.2 fps ∼78%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6500U; Dual-Channel)
16.7 fps ∼58% -25%
1024x768 Low / Off AF:2x
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
35.9 (min: 24) fps ∼100% +24%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
29 fps ∼81%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6500U; Dual-Channel)
21.6 fps ∼60% -26%
Rise of the Tomb Raider
1920x1080 High Preset AA:FX AF:4x
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
6.6 fps ∼100%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Dual-Channel)
5.3 fps ∼80% -20%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
0 fps ∼0% -100%
1366x768 Medium Preset AF:2x
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
15.3 (min: 13) fps ∼100% +26%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
12.1 fps ∼79%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Dual-Channel)
9.6 fps ∼63% -21%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
0 fps ∼0% -100%
1024x768 Lowest Preset
Iris Graphics 540 (i5-6260U; Dual-Channel)
23.7 (min: 21) fps ∼100% +25%
Iris Graphics 540 (i7-6560U; Dual-Channel)
21.5 fps ∼91% +14%
HD Graphics 620 (i7-7500U; Dual-Channel)
18.9 fps ∼80%
HD Graphics 520 (i7-6600U; Dual-Channel)
14.1 fps ∼59% -25%

Legend

 
MSI CX72-7QL Intel Core i7-7500U, Intel HD Graphics 620,
 
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE Intel Core i7-6600U, Intel HD Graphics 520, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
 
Acer Aspire V3-372-50LK Intel Core i5-6200U, Intel HD Graphics 520, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
 
HP ProBook 430 G3 P5T00ES Intel Core i5-6200U, Intel HD Graphics 520, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
 
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260 20FD001XGE Intel Core i7-6500U, Intel HD Graphics 520, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
 
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470 Intel Core i7-6600U, Intel HD Graphics 520, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
 
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N Intel Core i7-6500U, Intel HD Graphics 520, Lite-On CV1-8B256
 
Lenovo IdeaPad 710S-13ISK Intel Core i7-6560U, Intel Iris Graphics 540, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
 
Intel NUC6i5SYH Intel Core i5-6260U, Intel Iris Graphics 540, Samsung SSD XP941 MZHPU256HCGL
 
HP ProBook 430 G3 P5T00ES Intel Core i5-6200U, Intel HD Graphics 520, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
low med. high ultra
Diablo III (2012) 105.972.264.137.8fps
Counter-Strike: GO (2012) 166.3112.870.542.7fps
Crysis 3 (2013) 38.223.114.75.4fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 67.836.630.99.5fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 35.228.617.58.2fps
Battlefield 4 (2013) 53.336.124.37.9fps
Sims 4 (2014) 186.86329.521.8fps
Dirt Rally (2015) 139.935.515.512.5fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 15.810.5fps
World of Warships (2015) 81.354.62619.1fps
FIFA 16 (2015) 78.450.929.3fps
Star Wars Battlefront (2015) 40.322.710.2fps
Assassin's Creed Syndicate (2015) 5.4fps
Rainbow Six Siege (2015) 41.925.814.311.5fps
Just Cause 3 (2015) 2922.210.8fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 18.912.16.6fps
XCOM 2 (2016) 19.87.65.2fps
Far Cry Primal (2016) 20108fps
Hitman 2016 (2016) 14.519.711.7fps
Overwatch (2016) 55.940.217.8fps
Mirror's Edge Catalyst (2016) 28.8177.1fps

Performance consistency under sustained CPU/GPU load

ULV processors can usually exceed their TDP limit for a short time, in the case of modern Intel chips usually for about 30 seconds. The Core i7-7500U makes use of that as well and can consume more than 20 Watts for a short while during gaming. This "Overboost" period is often finished after a couple of clicks in the menu and the loading time, so the frame rate will not drop further during longer gaming sessions. The 3DMark Fire Strike Test also confirms an almost perfect Frame Rate Stability of 98.9 percent for our test model.

steady 3D performance
steady 3D performance

HEVC and VP9 Playback

The Skylake hardware was already able to decode H-265/HEVC videos at a low power consumption, but it did not support the Main10 standard for contents with a 10-bit color depth. Kaby Lake changes that: Our demanding 4K trailer (HEVC Main10, 50 Mbps, 60 fps) is handled smoothly by the i7-7500U at an average power consumption of just 3.2 Watts (CPU Package Power), while the video stuttered noticeably on the i7-6600U despite a consumption of 16.5 Watts.

Neither of the two chips has problems with a simpler 8-bit 4K video (HEVC, 6 Mbps, 60 fps), but Kaby Lake (3.4 Watts) is still more frugal than its predecessor (4.1 Watts).

Kaby Lake DXVA-Checker
Kaby Lake DXVA-Checker
Kaby Lake, HEVC: 3.4 Watts (smooth)
Kaby Lake, HEVC: 3.4 Watts (smooth)
Kaby Lake, HEVC Main10: 3.2 Watts (smooth)
Kaby Lake, HEVC Main10: 3.2 Watts (smooth)
Skylake DXVA-Checker
Skylake DXVA-Checker
Skylake, HEVC: 4.1 Watts (smooth)
Skylake, HEVC: 4.1 Watts (smooth)
Skylake, HEVC Main10: 16.5 Watts (stutters)
Skylake, HEVC Main10: 16.5 Watts (stutters)

The added VP9 support is particularly interesting for 4K videos on YouTube, because the videos use this codec by default in Google's Chrome browser. It unfortunately looks like the hardware acceleration does not really work yet: The average CPU load slightly drops from 66 (i7-6600U) to 54 percent (i7-7500U) and therefore also the power consumption (11.0 instead of 16.6 Watts), but it is still not very efficient. We probably need a driver or browser update to activate full hardware support.

Kaby Lake, VP9: 11.0 Watts (smooth)
Kaby Lake, VP9: 11.0 Watts (smooth)
Skylake, VP9: 16.6 Watts (smooth)
Skylake, VP9: 16.6 Watts (smooth)

Verdict

Intel's Kaby Lake generation admittedly looks pretty boring at first. There is no new manufacturing process, no new microarchitecture – all this reminds us a bit of the Haswell refresh back in 2014, which did not really introduce any noteworthy advantages. 

Kaby Lake on the other hand is more than just a simple rebranding of the Skylake chips. Even though the 14-nm process was basically not changed, the manufacturer was able to optimize it considerably. The results are surprisingly high clocks or a much lower consumption at the same clocks, respectively. Depending on the frequency range, we can see efficiency improvements somewhere between 15 and 25 percent; it remains to be seen whether the lower clocked Core-m/Y-series might be even better. We are also eager to see the quad-core ULV models. They are planned for 2017 and should introduce the biggest performance gains in the 15-Watt segment we have seen for years.

And last but not least, we also want to praise the reworked video decoder, which does not only support new codecs like HEVC Main10, but is also much more efficient than before. In combination with other efficiency improvements, Kaby Lake notebooks should manage even longer battery runtimes compared to their Skylake predecessors.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Kaby Lake (Core i7-7500U) Review: Skylake on Steroids
Till Schönborn, 2016-09-12 (Update: 2016-09-12)