Intel Skylake review: Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K review
  • Gaming Graphics
  • Price
  • Power
  • Overclocking



Excellent overall performance
Noticeable upgrade over Haswell
Big jump in graphics performance
Slightly more power efficient than Haswell
Excellent overclocking options


Needs a new motherboard and memory
Expensive if you don't need the overclocking
Graphics still not good enough for serious gaming

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Intel skylake performance review: Finally ! After Broadwell launched stealthily with months of delays on LGA 1150, the Skylake processors arrive with their share of novelties. Spearheading the range, it is the Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K being launched initially. On the menu of this new “tock” found over the Haswell 14nm passage, improved side CPU architecture as iGPU and a new LGA 1151 platform associated Z170 Express chipset.


Reverse paper launch! Intel skylake performance review

Before you get down to business, we want to do for once a little aside on behind the scenes. The launch of a new product is pretty run-in computer, including CPU and GPU side. Usually manufacturers provide upstream technical documentation and marketing in the press, as well as test samples, allowing it to give its opinion on products as they become available. A habit that is really for the benefit of the manufacturer if the product is good, although some think the key is to talk to them, be it good or bad. It happens obviously not always so, and it may be necessary to obtain the information or material via other means, whether before or after the launch, which does not in this case to give notice before availability. There are some years when the competition was fiercer builders were going to make “paper launch”: the product and its specifications were announced, sometimes with test samples, but had to wait a few weeks for availability shop. for Intel launch process so rather unusual. While we received a Core i7-6700K at the last minute (last Friday), no technical documentation available to date. The architecture Skylake will be unveiled to the press at IDF that takes place in two weeks, with an embargo until September. The launch of the Core i7-6700K, Core i5-6600K and Z170 Express has indeed been advanced compared to the rest of the range, so as to be synchronized with the Gamescom show dedicated to video games, gaming and overclocking being target announced by Intel for these products. A target for which the technical details seem accessories … from Intel. We do not really agree with this approach and despite the very short time available to us we tried to do the best despite the circumstances to give you the maximum information as possible today. We will try in the coming weeks to bridge the dark dots left by Intel.Enough chatter, let’s concrete! Intel skylake performance review

Intel skylake performance review
Intel skylake performance review

A transition to 14nm more complicated than expected: Intel skylake performance review

From the first rumors about Broadwell, Intel’s 14nm found himself surrounded by many questions. For the first time, the manufacturer plans to launch a new generation of processors not only to the mobile platform , leaving aside the desktop platforms. What lay at the time many questions about a possible lack of interest of the manufacturer for these platforms in favor of a strategy focusing on mobility.Looking back today, we can see that in practice the first delay rumors the 14nm were quickly followed in 2013 where Broadwell had started sliding slowly on roadmaps. In October 2013, Intel officially spoke of a delay of a quarter blaming the 14nm production difficulties, but ensured that this would have no impact on the next generation, Skylake. A surprising communication as Skylake uses the same 14nm process considered late Intel skylake performance review

Three months behind Intel by the end of 2013, the red line that we added on the graph rather showed a six-month delay at the time
A communication in late 2013 suggested between the lines that the delay would be more than six months, then finally mid-2014 nine while allowing us think that the builder was going to sacrifice its margins for absolutely launch a 14nm products in 2014 and meet the . promises to investorsconfirmation will arrive soon: Intel launched late 2014 an ephemeral Core million, including the stepping has been announced end of life even before its release . Only beginning in 2015 we have seen happen the first “real” dual heart Broadwell , while it is only the end of the second quarter thatthe quad core models have landed. The coming years will show whether Intel deliberately chose to limit the scope of Broadwell, not by a lack of interest desktop platforms, but rather by the realization that its 14nm process would not be able to deliver in 2014 – and volume – all markets. Conventional launches beginning in fact generally the desktop models with quad core, and therefore more complex diseases to occur when yields are low. In the meantime the manufacturer has decided to take the margin as announced mid-July set aside the rate of Tick-Tock and the arrival of a third product in 2016 with 14nm Kaby Lake on which we do not know for the moment not much, except that he arrived on the roadmaps is due to the difficulty of rise in production of 10 nm. Cannonlake, 10nm Skylake declination only happen during the second half of 2017 (instead of 2016). Stay in the middle of these previous delays and future architecture Skylake launched today is on time since launched about 26 months after Haswell! Intel skylake performance review



LGA 1151 and Z170 Express

LGA 1151 and Z170 Express

After a little more than two years of loyal service, the LGA 1150 passes control to LGA 1151. Visually nothing really changes, the alignment keys are slightly offset to prevent the insertion of an incompatible processor, and the system fixing remains unchanged from the LGA 1156/1155/1150. If the passage of the LGA 1155 LGA 1150 was among other reasons by the integration of the voltage regulator in the CPU … Intel LGA 1151 will revert to an external controller! To recall, on the Haswell motherboard provides the processor 2 voltages via the socket against 6 previously: VDDQ which is directly re-used for feeding the DDR3 VCCIN and which passes through an integrated voltage regulator to be converted into 5 distinct voltages. Intel put forward at the time a simplification of the design of platforms and control by its power processor.

We are witnessing on LGA 1151 in a backward since in addition to VDDQ the motherboard must provide 3 additional voltages via a voltage regulator that is externally again: VCORE for x86 cores and cache LLC, which is derived VRing for the interconnection ring bus, VGT for iGPU and VSA for System Agent (memory controller, DMI, PCI-E). We tried to learn from Intel’s reasons for turning back, which we explained that this choice was made to offer more possibilities in terms of heat dissipation on mobile devices which is quite vague. Is is simply out of the CPU and its packaging losses from voltage regulation, even if it is only a few tenths of watts? A motherboard manufacturer has also indicated that we IVR was not good for the CA and an external regulator was needed in the case of iGPU GT4e. Again this is quite vague and we hope to learn more at IDF, it is certain that this change de facto prevents any compatibility with the previous platform, although Intel has shown us in the past not to have need that kind of excuse. Intel skylake performance review

But the LGA 1151 also brings a lot of new chipset with the side Z170 Express inaugurates a new generation of chipsets. First point, the link with the CPU goes to the DMI DMI 3.0 instead of 2.0 introduced in 2011. The rates are doubled to 4 GB / s in each direction, a necessity given the cumulative rates of interfaces available within the property that chipset we only use them rarely simultaneously. If the number of SATA 6Gbps remains limited to 6 against Intel increases the number of USB 3.0 ports from 6 to 10! Caution in both cases, Intel has reduced the controllers of the old standards. The SATA controller is no longer supports IDE and AHCI works only while the USB 3.0 controller does not work in EHCI but xHCI. Knowing that the Windows 7 installer does not support xHCI, it is not possible to install Windows 7 from a USB stick unless integrating xHCI drivers within the ISO beforehand (as explained here by example .

). Finally, no fewer than 20 lines PCIe Gen3 that can be managed by the Z170, against 8 PCIe Gen lines 2. These lines can be used for embedded chips to the motherboard, for PCIe and SATA interfaces Express x2 or x4 or x2 M.2 for SSDs. Of course even if the DMI bus has been expanded, it is insufficient for any use simultaneously since this link is equivalent to the rate of 4 lines PCIe Gen3! Intel skylake performance review

In all cases the motherboard manufacturers can not integrate all these possibilities at the same time as Intel continues to keep the concept of I / O Port Flexibility introduced with the Z87. The combined number of PCIe lines, USB 3.0 and SATA ports can well exceed 26 (against 18 of Z87) and as needed a line may be used for either of these interfaces. These developments Z170 Express is a good thing, although ideally we would have liked in parallel the number of lines PCIe Gen3 managed by an LGA 1151 CPU increases slightly, for example by passing 16 to 20 which would allow the management a harbor M.2 x4 without monopolizing the DMI link to the chipset.



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