Published in PC Hardware

Kaby Lake-G platform arises from the dead

by on28 March 2024

Chipzilla's zombie chip invoked for mini-PC motherboard

Kaby Lake-G, the Intel CPU that incorporated an AMD GPU directly into the CPU package, was declared dead in 2019, yet this hasn't deterred a a plucky company's bringing it back from the dead and plonked it into a mini PC motherboard.

This cheeky move has turned heads on AliExpress, the Aladdin's cave for all things tech. Crafted by Topton, this board's bristling with eight Ethernet ports, a duo of DDR4 SODIMM slots, M.2 slots for your speedy NVMe SSD and Wi-Fi card, a SATA port, and the star of the show, the Intel Core i7-8705G.

Launched back in 2017, Kaby Lake-G's not exactly the belle of the ball anymore, especially with the likes of Intel's Tiger Lake and Alder Lake strutting their stuff, not to mention AMD's Ryzen 7040 series APUs giving them a run for their money.

But Kaby Lake-G was a bit of a trailblazer, being the first to marry an AMD RX Vega GPU with HBM2 memory right onto the CPU package. Intel and AMD, archrivals since the '90s, joining forces? It was like seeing two sworn enemies shake hands—all to throw a spanner in Nvidia's works!

Kaby Lake-G was a dab hand at being the first to use Intel's EMIB to tie the Vega GPU to the HBM2. Fast forward, and you can spot Kaby Lake-G's legacy in Intel's latest whizz-kids like Ponte Vecchio and Meteor Lake. But back in 2017, it was all about PCIe holding the fort.

Kaby Lake-G's curtain call came too soon despite its snazzy design and beefy graphics. It only had a cameo in the HP Spectre x360, the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1, and Intel's Hades Canyon NUC in 2018. Just three gadgets to its name were curtains for Kaby Lake-G.

GPU driver support was as rare as hen's teeth. AMD made the GPU, but Intel was doling out the drivers like they were rationed during the war – leaving users twiddling their thumbs for updates.

In 2019, Intel gave Kaby Lake-G the old heave-ho, making it one of their shortest-lived products. It's a right puzzle that any chips are still knocking about, let alone 500 for Topton's i7-8705G motherboards.

Now, the base model, sans RAM or storage, will set you back €267 (that's about $289 converted to euros using the current exchange). But without those eight Ethernet ports, it'd be a duff deal. Splashing your cash on a processor that got the chop less than two years after its debut?

Last modified on 29 March 2024
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