Where are all the Kaby Lake-G laptops? Nvidia's GeForce Partner Program may be to blame
Intel's Coffee Lake-H platform was unveiled earlier this month and it was accompanied by a deluge of laptops ready to ship with the new hexa-core processors. Three of these laptops have already made it to our labs including the Asus Zephyrus M GM501, Gigabyte Aero 15X, and Aorus X9 DT with Core i7-8750H and Core i9-8950HK CPU options. In contrast, Intel's Kaby Lake-G platform was unveiled in January and there are barely any laptops available with the Intel-AMD CPUs even after almost half a year later. What is going on?
We've spoken to three independent and reliable sources close to Notebookcheck and they have all suggested the same reasoning - Nvidia is strongly responsible for keeping Kaby Lake-G from proliferating. Factor in the loud rumors about the anti-competitive terms of Nvidia's GPP, the rumors of HP and Dell keeping their distance from the program, and AMD's own VP acknowledging the leaks and they all strongly point to Nvidia putting a tight lid on the Kaby Lake-G platform.
To date, there have only been 4 major products announced with Kaby Lake-G: The Dell XPS 15 9575, 2018 HP Spectre x360 15, Intel Hades Canyon NUC, and the Chuwi HiGame mini PC. Two of these are not even laptops, the HP and Chuwi systems are not yet shipping, and the NUC is solely an Intel product. This leaves HP and Dell as the only two notable manufacturers with overt Kaby Lake-G plans who also happen to be allegedly backing away from Nvidia GPP. Other major manufacturers like MSI, Zotac, Gigabyte, Asus, Lenovo, Acer, and others have been oddly silent about the processor series. For a product born from an inconceivable partnership between two of the largest PC rivals in history, Kaby Lake-G should have received more attention or at least comments from OEMs everywhere.
The lack of Kaby Lake-G laptops is a shame because the Core i5-8705G and Core i7-8809G are essentially on par with the Core i7-7700HQ and Core i7-7820HK, respectively, in raw CPU power while the Vega M GL and Vega M GH GPUs are comparable to the GTX 1050 and GTX 1060 Max-Q, respectively. A thin gaming notebook designed around Kaby Lake-G would have catered well to budget-mainstream gamers as an alternative option to the usual Nvidia-powered laptop. In fact, the XPS 15 9575 is the first Kaby Lake-G laptop we've tested and it actually runs noticeably cooler and quieter than the GTX 1050-powered XPS 15 9560 while being thinner and nearly as fast.
First impressions of the few Kaby Laky-G products currently shipping are quite promising. Whether or not the platform will take off, however, could be at the mercy of Nvidia and its GPP members.