Intel has launched its latest mobile processors: six new chips designed for Ultrabooks and other thin-and-light systems. Three 15W U-series chips are codenamed Whiskey Lake, and another three 5W Y-series parts are codenamed Amber Lake.
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The CPU parts of these new processors are the same Kaby Lake Refresh parts as Intel launched a year ago—just with slightly tweaked clock speeds.
The differences lie in the on-package chipset. The U-series and Y-series processors integrate the chipset onto the processor package: the CPU is connected to the chipset by an interface that’s comparable to a PCIe 3.0 x4 connection. The chipsets provide USB, audio, network, SATA, and other connectivity.
The new chipset has two important upgrades relative to the older processors: first, an integrated Wi-Fi controller supporting 160MHz 802.11ac connections, for notional connection speeds in excess of 1 gigabit per second. OEMs need to add another chip (called a companion RF chip) to the motherboard to complete the Wi-Fi implementation. This should reduce the cost to OEMs and see greater adoption of Intel’s wireless chipsets.
Second, the integrated USB controller has been upgraded to support two USB 3.1 generation 2 ports; the previous chipset only supported generation 1. The difference between generations is speed: generation 1 operates at 5 gigabits per second and generation 2 at 10 gigabits per second.
The chipset also includes an integrated gigabit Ethernet controller (which again needs to be paired with a second component on the motherboard) and audio controller.
Given the minor processor refresh, we’d expect to see OEMs producing similarly minor system refreshes over the next few weeks.