This week is a very exciting one if you are a PC enthusiast! Skylake is officially here and to start off Intel is launching their enthusiasts parts first which include the Core i7-6700K and the Core i5-6600K. The 6th Generation Skylake processors are the “tock” to Intel’s “tick” and “tock” release schedule. A “tock” represents a new architecture and a “tick” represents a process refinement. If you missed it Broadwell was based on the 14nm process, but with Skylake we have a brand new architecture. With Skylake Intel is focusing on bringing better CPU and GPU performance with reduced power consumption. Today we will be taking a look at the flagship Core i7-6700K processor which has a base frequency of 4.0 GHz and boosts up to 4.2 GHz! Let’s see what this processor and the Skylake platform is all about!
Here is a closer look at the details of both processors that are launching today.
We can see that both chips have a TDP of 91W. The recommended price of the Core i7-6700K is $350 while the Core i5-6600K is $243.
Skylake & Z170 Chipset Overview
With Skylake Intel really wanted to focus on enthusiasts, overclockers and gamers. I think that many people appreciated what Intel did with Devil’s Canyon and Intel recognized that. So what can you expect from Skylake? Intel says you should see up to 30% better performance than a 3-year old PC, up to 20% better performance than a 2-year old PC, and up to 10% better performance than a 1-year old PC. On top of that this is the first mainstream platform to support DDR4 memory. We had DDR4 with Haswell-E, but of course that is enthusiast level.
For all of the overclockers out there Intel has improved the overclocking capabilities with Skylake. To start you have full-range Base Clock (BCLK) overclocking in 1 MHz increments. Before we only had ratio overclocking (100/125/166 MHz). There are also new levels of memory overclocking with finer grain tuning. And of course both the Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K being “K” series processors are fully unlocked.
With Skylake and the Z170 chipset we are going to see a whole slew of new motherboards. Intel is making use of the LGA1151 socket so you can’t throw these processors in your current Z97 or Z87 motherboard. Let’s take a look at the Z170 chipset.
If we compare to the Z97 chipset we have more usable PCI-Express 3.0 lanes and more USB 3.0 ports. While Skylake brings with it support for DDR4 memory the Z170 chipset actually supports DDR3 memory as well. So you will see motherboards with DDR4 and some with DDR3. This makes it a very interesting time for choosing a new motherboard.
Intel is changing around the look of their retail packaging. It is interesting to say the least.
Intel sent us a processor directly, so no retail packaging. Here are some quick shots of the front and back of the processor before we threw it in our motherboard.