Update 10/08/19, 5:40pm PT: Intel issued a statement in regards to its discontinuation of the Kaby Lake-G processors, which we've added to the bottom of the article.
Original article 10/08/19, 5:00am PT:
Intel announced today that it had discontinued its Kaby Lake-G processors. The Kaby Lake-G processors arrived in 2017 with much fanfare and a bit of confusion, largely because the chips used a discrete Radeon RX Vega M graphics processor paired with Intel's Kaby Lake processing cores, marking an odd collaboration between the two longtime rivals.
Intel's product change notice is rather succinct:
"Market demand for the products listed in the "Products Affected/Intel Ordering Codes" table below have shifted to other Intel products. The products identified in this notification will be discontinued and unavailable for additional orders after the "Last Product Discontinuance Order Date" (see "Key Milestones" above)."
The announcement sets January 31, 2020, as the last date for orders, and July 31, 2020, as the date of last shipments. Here are the impacted products, which include all models with Radeon RX Vega M GL/GH graphics:
|Marketing Name||Product Code|
|Intel Core i7-8706G||FH8067703417418|
|Intel Core i7-8705G||FH8067703417515|
|Intel Core i7-8809G||FH8067703417615|
|Intel Core i5-8305G||FH8067703417714|
|Intel Core i7-8709G||FH8067703419113|
|Intel Core i7-8706G||FH8067703417418|
|Intel Core i5-8305G||FH8067703417715|
The idea behind the chips was bold: A seemingly-unholy collaboration between Intel and AMD that would offer enough graphics horsepower to unseat Nvidia's mobile GPU offerings, but Kaby Lake-G processors never gained the expected level of support from OEM's. Precious few laptops adopted the radical new design, which paired an Intel 14nm Intel processor with a discrete AMD Vega graphics chip on a single package by connecting the two components with a PCIe link.
The Kaby Lake-G chips arrived before Intel announced its own expansive Xe Graphics Architecture that will serve both the consumer and enterprise markets. Intel says its own new graphics architecture will span from entry-level mobile devices to the data center, which apparently doesn't leave room for Kaby Lake-G successors.
A few OEMs did launch leading-edge products with the chips, but successive generations of laptops went with Whiskey Lake-U and Coffee Lake-H processors paired with Nvidia graphics cards instead. Asus was among the last to adopt the chips with its ConceptD 5 laptop.
The tepid uptake isn't surprising, especially because Intel's own nascent GPU initiative foretold a swift end of the Kaby Lake-G chips, likely dissuading OEMs from investing in a dead-end platform even though Intel officially maintained the chips were a multi-generational project. Like we outlined with Dell's XPS 15 2-in-1, these chips required custom cooling solutions, which equate to extended development periods and investment, to wring out the utmost performance.
Intel also used the chips in its NUC series, which we tested in the NUC 8 VR, but later dropped Kaby Lake-G models from its roadmap.
|Intel Processors||Core i7-8809G||Core i7-8709G||Core i7-8706G||Core i7-8705G||Core i5-8350G|
|TDP / SDP||100W||100W||65W||65W||65W|
|Core/Threads||4 / 8||4 / 8||4 / 8||4 / 8||4 / 8|
|Base Frequency (GHz)||3.1||3.1||3.1||3.1||2.8|
|Boost Frequency (GHz)||4.2||4.1||4.1||4.1||3.8|
|L3 Cache (MB)||8||8||8||8||6|
|Memory Channels||Dual Channel||Dual Channel||Dual Channel||Dual Channel||Dual Channel|
|Unlocked CPU, GPU, HBM2||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Discrete Graphics||Radeon RX Vega M GH||Radeon RX Vega M GH||Radeon RX Vega M GL||Radeon RX Vega M GL||Radeon RX Vega M GL|
|Intel HD Graphics||630||630||630||630||630|
|Graphics Boost Frequency (MHz)||up to 1100||up to 1100||up to 1100||up to 1100||up to 1100|
|Intel vPro Technology||No||No||Yes||No||No|
Apparently Intel has no plans to bring newer generations of the chip to market. In response to our queries, Intel released the following statement to Tom's Hardware:
"Intel is refocusing its product portfolio. Our 10th Gen Intel Core processors with Iris Plus graphics are built on the new Gen11 graphics architecture that nearly doubled graphics performance. We have more in store from our graphics engine that will bring further enhancements to PCs in the future."
The statement affirms that Intel will lean on its own proprietary graphics solutions moving forward, which makes sense given the deepening competition between the two historical rivals.