Surface Pro 4 Review
The Surface Pro 4 is the seventh version of Microsoft's detachable tablet-laptop, which has defined the "detachables" category. David Gilbert

Surface Pro 5 rumor reports suggest Microsoft’s next tablet will feature Intel’s new line of Kaby Lake CPUs, and it just so happens that NotebookCheck recently benchmarked an early i7 model.

According to the report, the i7 Kaby Lake generally offers about a 15 to 20 percent increase over its Skylake counterpart. This boost, however, is due to no changes in clock or design. With this round of updates, the focus is purely on optimization. It means Kaby Lake is better able to take advantage of Turbo Boost and “Overboost” to provide noticeably better performance in several different areas.

For prospective owners of the Surface Pro 5, the biggest advantages might very well come when used for gaming or video streaming. One of the hallmark features of the Kaby Lake refresh is the introduction of new HEVC Main10 video encoders. In testing, the CPU managed to stream a 4K video at 60 fps while consuming just 3.2 wants in power. By comparison, the last-gen i7 stuttered playing the same clip and consumed 16.5 watts.

With regard to games, the strides are just as interesting. The benchmarked model touted HD Graphics 620 specs but was able to perform 20 to 30 percent better than Skylake on average. In general, its efficiency was compared to a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce 920M notebook GPU.

What wasn’t mentioned by the source was battery life. Given that optimization is Kaby’s focus we expect to see improvements, but nothing of the sort was documented here.

It’s also worth noting that these tests are probably on the lower end when considering the wide range of Kaby Lake chips due out next year. Not only will quad-core models be introduced, but there will also be variations that support Intel’s trumped-up Iris graphics tech too. With no projected release window for the Surface Pro 5, it’s unknown which build will make it into the retail version. Some speculation suggests a delayed 2017 arrival, which could pave the way for more formidable options.

There has been no official indications about a Surface Pro 5 or the specs it will support. Considering Microsoft’s rock-solid partnership with Intel and the projected arrival window, Kaby Lake merely seems like the most sensible option. We’ve made a list of five equally expected Surface Pro 5 additions that can be read here.

What will Kaby Lake bring to the Surface Pro 5? Are you excited about the spec bump? Tell us in the comments section!