It's time to replace your computer. Maybe it was purchased when John Howard was prime minister, or you ruined it was a spilled drink, or maybe you just have some money to burn and you'd like to blow it on Intel's new Kaby Lake microarchitecture. Whatever the reason, you're ready to upgrade your computer, and you're going to be left with a big choice. Do you spend the extra cash for the categorically faster i7 processor, or do you pinch a few pennies and go with the i5?
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Kaby Lake, Intel's latest processor family, wasn't supposed to exist. Earlier this year Intel announced the end of its well-known tick-tock release schedule, whereby it trots out a new processor every September. The tick is the shrinking and improvements of the current microarchitecture, while the tock is a whole new architecture. Instead last year's "tock", Skylake, was going to hang around a while, with no new "tick" in sight.
When it's not churning out smartphones and giant tablets and uh, giant container ships, the company also does healthy business manufacturing microprocessors. It does such a good job, in fact, that chip-making rival Qualcomm will be using Samsung's foundaries for its next big thing.
Intel's new Skylake processors fit inside practically any computer. Soon, you'll be able to get one inside a PC-on-a-stick. But it turns out that Core M computers can get even smaller still. Intel says it's already testing the new processors inside smartphones too.