Asus today announced updates to most of its major laptop, 2-in-1, and desktop product lines, incorporating Intel’s latest Kaby Lake processor for better performance, battery life, and efficiency gains. The product refresh, revealed today at CES 2017, includes new Asus ZenBook models, a new Transformer Pro 2-in-1, and three new versions of its Zen AiO all-in-one desktop. Also included in the update is Asus’ GT51CH gaming desktop, which now comes with the seventh-generation Intel chip.
Intel Kaby Lake offers only incremental upgrades over the previous generation
Kaby Lake is a second “tock” in Intel’s “tick-tock” chip strategy — it’s essentially a modified version of the Skylake architecture, which itself was an optimization of the 14nm Broadwell design. That means this generation of Intel chip will only offer incremental upgrades and not the kind of sizable leap one might typically associate with a brand-new generation of processor. That doesn’t mean Kaby Lake won’t offer noticeable boosts. Intel says the chip can achieve double-digit percentage point increases in web performance and application speed. Kaby Lake is also 10 times more efficient than the company’s first-generation Core processor, whereas Skylake was about eight times more efficient.
In other words, these upgrades — while incremental — are still necessary and welcome steps in the evolution of the PC ecosystem. It means that when you buy one of these new Asus devices, you’re getting the most up-to-date components, at least until Intel takes the wraps off its eight-generation Cannonlake architecture.
There are some differences between models in this Asus refresh worth noting. The ZenBook UX510 features better Nvidia graphics than the UX330, and it comes with a 4K display that is 2.3 inches larger than the 13.3-inch display on the 330. The ZenBook Flip, on the other hand, is the only 2-in-1 model in the ZenBook series that’s receiving Intel’s new processor.
Here’s the full list of Asus product updates featuring Kaby Lake, excluding the GT51CH gaming desktop, which has yet to receive pricing or availability details:
- ZenBook UX330 laptop starting at $749 (available now)
- ZenBook UX310 laptop starting at $699 (available now)
- ZenBook UX510 laptop starting at $999 (available now)
- ZenBook Flip UX360UA 2-in-1 starting at $899 (available May 2017)
- Transformer Pro T304 2-in-1 starting at $999 (available May 2017)
- Zen AiO Pro Z240IE all-in-one desktop starting at $1,799 (available May 2017)
- Zen AiO ZN270IE all-in-one desktop starting at $999 (available May 2017)
- Zen AiO ZN241IC all-in-one desktop starting at $999 (available May 2017)
Update: 6:46PM ET, 1/3: Clarified Kaby Lake’s position in Intel’s tick-tock chip release strategy.