Intel officially details Skylake processors

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It’s nowhere near a closely guarded industry secret, but proper, official details regarding the next batch of Intel processors have finally been officially revealed. The CPU chip giant quietly launched their Broadwell range for desktops today – but nothing says “wait a little longer” louder than an immediate confirmation of faster, better processors coming later this year.

Broadwell was more a die shrink than an actual performance step forward, which is probably why Intel is leaving it out in the cold and pushing far more for Skylake near the end of this year. The 14nm chips will have a suspected performance difference to both Broadwell and Haswell, coming in a total of ten different variants. The two that you should really be looking at fall in the Enthusiast bracket – and they’re quite enticing.

The first is the Core i7-6700K. It’s a typical quad-core processor with 8 threads, 8MB of L3 cache and a core clock speed of 4.0GHz (boosting up to 4.2GHz). With a Core i7 you also get Hyperthreading, which is great for a lot of video encoding programs but not so much for games. That’s why the Core i5s have been far more popular in the past, and that’s no different here.

The core i5-6600K is also a quad-core, with 6MB of L3 cache and a core clock of 3.5GHz (boosting up to 3.9GHz). It doesn’t have hyper threading, but will probably cost a pretty penny less as a result. Both chips support DDR3 and DDR4 memory, and will have unlocked multipliers thanks to the little “K” suffix at the end of both model numbers. That makes overclocking possible – and it’s a great way to get some performance out of your chip near the end of its life (or even right at the start).

If overclocking isn’t your thing, you could grab the mainstream chips Intel is also releasing. The i7-6700 hits a clock speed of 3.4GHz and a boost clock of 4.0GHz, while the i5-6600 comes in at 3.3GHz and 3.9GHz respectively. Don’t expect those numbers to go higher though, since the multiplier is completely locked down – and there’s not much you can do about it.

The entire Skylake range is expected to launch around Q3 this year, so there’s still a fair amount of time to see just how much more performance they’ll bring to the table. I’m still personally running with my (perfect) Sandy Bridge i7, and still haven’t seen a reason to upgrade. I’m quietly hoping Skylake will change that.

Last Updated: May 5, 2015

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