Naturally, Intel claims its new sixth-generation Core laptop processors are its best ever. The 14nm process used means a physically smaller package which should mean even thinner and smaller computer designs. DDR4 memory is supported and more instructions can be processed per clock and at higher frequencies.
Iris-class integrated graphics will be available as part of the 15W U-series Core processors for the first time, promising faster graphics performance. All Skylake integrated graphics chips should be able to play 4K video at 60fps and work with up to three separate 4K displays connected simultaneously with built-in support for the H.265/HEVC codec.
Battery life should apparently be longer, even when compared to the already power efficient Haswell and Broadwell processors, thanks to a number of new technologies. Speed Shift ramps up performance to quickly complete demanding tasks and then shuts everything down once it’s done to save as much power as possible. Duty Cycle Control reduces power leakage during very low power usage scenarios.
Intel isn’t just emphasising the usual benefits of faster performance and longer battery life with its Skylake laptop processors. Chipset-level support for tablet-style sensors such as accelerometers should allow manufacturers to produce more sophisticated hybrids and laptops without increasing the cost.
Intel is also continuing to push Thunderbolt 3 which is not only faster than previous versions of Thunderbolt but also now share the USB-C connector. Skylake will also support Wi-Gig for wirelessly connecting peripherals such as port replicators and will also have support for the second generation of RealSense cameras which are needed to work with Windows Hello authentication in Windows 10.
There are even alleged security benefits, with the new Software Guard Extensions providing trusted memory regions which should protect against privileged software attacks while the Memory Protection Extensions should prevent buffer overflow attacks.
While laptops, tablets and hybrids equipped with the new sixth generation Core processors should start arriving in force in time for Christmas, computers equipped with the new Xeon as well as vPro-enabled variants of the new Core M chips won’t be widely available until early 2016.
05/08/15: Intel has finally revealed its first next-gen Skylake CPUs.After months of scuttlebutt, rumour and speculation, Intel has taken the wraps off the Core i7-6700K and the Core i5-6600, along with the new Z170 chipset.As part of the ‘K’ series, both processors are fully unlocked for precision overclocking, a move calculated to appeal to the hardcore PC gaming crowd.
This is also why Intel chose to launch the new chips at Gamescom 2015. As a dedicated gaming expo, Gamescom is the biggest annual event for this particular demographic, with many early adopters willing to spend hundreds of pounds on the latest components.Overclocking is a principal feature of the new chips, with full Base Clock Tuning down to 1MHz increments, as well as finer-grained controls for memory overclocking, both of which are only available with the Z170 chipset.
Skylake also offers benefits for those that don’t want to mess about with overclocking with Intel performance advantages of up to 30 per cent on a three-year-old PC, 20 per cent on a two-year-old PC, and 10 per cent on a one-year-old PC.
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In addition, Skylake is the first mainstream Intel microarchitecture to support quad-channel DDR4 memory as standard, while also being backwards-compatible with DDR3L.The new chips are aimed at PC gamers who want to coax the fastest possible performance from their machines. The Core i7-6700K has two cores, as well as two virtual cores via HyperThreading, and an 8MB cache, with a base clock speed of 4GHz and a maximum turbo speed of 4.2GHz. It’s also got a mammoth TDP of 91W.
The Core i5-6600K is a little more sedate in comparison but still looks like something of a beast, with two cores, a 6MB cache and a base speed of 3.5GHz, rising to 3.9GHz with turbocharging. The TDP, however, stays the same at 91W.The new chipset has received some upgrades too. The Z170 now supports up to 10 USB 3.0 ports, as well as PCIe Express 3.0 1x16, 2x8, or 1x8 and 2x4.
15/07/15: The first batch of benchmarks for Intel's forthcoming Skylake processors have reportedly surfaced online.Chinese site TechBang published the results as part of what purports to be the first full review of a Skylake CPU - in this case, the Core i7-6700K.
At 12.9in, the screen bigger than the 12in MacBook Air and 12.3in Surface Pro 4. It’s also a little over 3in bigger than the iPad Air 2, yet you get almost twice the real estate (78 percent, to be exact). The short edge is in essence as long as the long edge on an Air or Air 2, so it’s like having two 9.7in iPads side by side. That’s great for multitasking, but it’s also great for just about everything including websites, viewing and editing photos and video, playing games and generally all the things you already use a tablet for.
It comes into its own with apps optimised for the iPad Pro, especially those with take advantage of the high resolution of 2732x2048. Many iPad apps are understandably optimised for the 2048x1536 resolution of every other current iPad, so are scaled up on the iPad Pro. It has the same 4:3 aspect ratio, of course.
TechBang supposedly tested the Skylake chip on an ECS Claymore motherboard with a Z170 chipset, with 16GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 graphics card. It was compared with a Core i7-4790K on an MSI Z97A Gaming 6 board, with the same SSD and GFX card, but only 8GB of RAM. The review was quickly pulled, but the benchmark stats were saved by enterprising minds first. The results are below and claim to show an average 6.9 per cent performance increase over the older processor, with a maximum boost of just over 29 per cent.
As with any leaked pre-release information, these benchmarks must be taken with a gratuitous pinch of salt, as they could potentially be skewed, unrepresentative, or at worst wholly fabricated. This particular processor is thought to be one of the models showcased at Gamescom next month, as the 'K' designation indicates the unlocked multipliers that allow overclocking and thus performance boosting for PC gaming enthusiasts.09/07/15: Skylake, Intel's next generation processors, look set to debut this August.In true Moore's Law fashion, before the company's latest Broadwell CPU has even hit the mainstream, there are already rumours of its successor being unveiled.
PC World reports that a source close to the company's rollout plans has stated that the first chips unveiled will be high-end gaming processors, capable of overclocking.These will reportedly be announced either on or before 7 August, during the 5 August to 9 August period that the Gamescom gaming expo will be running in Germany. This news points to an event at the conference, either by Intel or a partner, that will heavily feature the chips.
The company is also slated to reveal a battery of new technical details at its Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, which runs from 18-20 August.A heavy focus of the event will be Skylake's effect on the Windows 10 operating system as the chips will supposedly give users an enhanced experience.15/05/15: A product roadmap has been leaked to WCCF Tech that shows the launch schedule of a number of next-generation processors from Intel.
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As already known, Broadwell is set to launch in June with five SKUs. In the third quarter, Skylake, which is the chip company's 6th gen core processor and supports 100-series motherboards. The report said this feature several Core i7 and Core i5 processors on the LGA platform. This is set to ship in the third quarter of this year.Cannon Lake chips are set to launch in the second quarter of 2016. These 10nm processors will feature an updated and power efficient design.Broadwell-E, aimed at high-end desktops, will come out in the first quarter of 2016 and will be supported by the current X99 chipset-based motherboards that feature the LGA 2011-3 socket.
Broadwell and Skylake are the 5th and 6th generations respectively of Intel’s CPU family. They also represent Intel’s ‘tick, tock’ release model.