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Close to the Metal Ep. 15: 7th-Gen Intel Core and holiday laptops

Intel debuted the 7th-generation Core, codenamed Kaby Lake, on August 30. Now, just over a month later, we’re seeing the first versions of it appear in cutting-edge laptops, like the Dell XPS 13 and…others, which we can’t yet name.

Though it hasn’t claimed major enhancements, we did notice some benefits from the chip. It does offer a performance improvement over the previous edition. Put simply, the new processors are indeed a bit faster than the old ones. And while the improvement isn’t shocking, it is large enough that you’d notice — in the most demanding applications.

It also appears that Intel’s New Media Engine may offer the promised improvement to battery life…when viewing video. But what about battery life in normal use?

Even if you want to buy it, the 7th-generation Intel Core processor isn’t coming to most laptops before the end of the year. In fact, some important versions of the processor – like quad-core mobile chips and the entire desktop line – won’t appear until at least January.

That leaves consumers with a tough choice. You can purchase a laptop now, which very likely will have a 6th-generation Core processor. Or you can wait until after the holidays, and try to grab one with the latest hardware. But is the wait worthwhile? Will you really notice the difference? And might you be able to grab a deal on the older, outgoing hardware?

We’ll talk about all that, and more, on this episode of Close to the Metal.

Close to the Metal is a podcast from Digital Trends that focuses on the geekier side of life. It tackles the topics PC enthusiasts argue over in language everyone can understand. Please subscribe, share, and send your questions to podcast@digitaltrends.com. We broadcast the show live on YouTube every Wednesday at 1pm EST/10am PST.