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Skylake: Intel's Core i7-6700K And i5-6600K

Conclusion

It’s difficult to draw conclusions about hardware still shrouded in mystery. Although there’s plenty we know about Skylake based on Intel’s official disclosures, information leaked elsewhere and the diagnostic tools we use in the lab, this launch just doesn’t feel complete without the background we’d expect to accompany a new architecture. Fortunately, we have the fundamentals: we know how Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K perform, we know how much they cost, we have a good sense of their strengths and we’ve seen the platforms they’ll drop into.

Arguably, motherboards are the most exciting part of the story (when was the last time you heard that?). The changes introduced by Intel’s Z170 chipset pave the way for an era of PCI Express-based storage, blasting through the throughput and latency limitations imposed by SATA 6Gb/s and AHCI. Of course, it’s nice to see greater proliferation of USB 3.1 controllers, DDR4 support and granular BCLK overclocking as well.

The Core i7-6700K has a lower Turbo Boost ceiling than Core i7-4790K. But its superior IPC translates to better performance in most single- and multi-threaded workloads. Under the heaviest tasks it typically only trails six- and eight-core Haswell-E parts. Of course, the benefit of Intel’s mainstream platforms is their more modern feature sets. So do you want all of the features I just listed off, or do you need lots of processor-based PCIe and more cores?

Intel will go into more depth on Skylake during IDF later this month, and I don’t see any reason to rush into a purchase before then (provided processors surface for sale right off the bat, that is). Should everything we learn support the data we generated today, then I think it’s safe to say Skylake will become the first architecture to really get enthusiasts excited since Sandy Bridge—and not even entirely because of the processors themselves.

MORE: Best Gaming CPUs For The Money
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Igor Wallossek is a Senior Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware Germany, covering CPUs and Graphics.

Chris Angelini is a Technical Editor at Tom's Hardware. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

Follow Tom's Hardware on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

  • rantoc
    Yawn... its easy to see that intel have to little competition, they have stagnated in the cpu performance department!
    Reply
  • daniel266
    Can we have comparisons of rendering software using win 8.1 and win 10 ??
    Reply
  • cats_Paw
    Still 4 cores.... Im sticking to my Q6600.
    Reply
  • Vlad Rose
    What the heck Intel? So, you provide great integrated graphics into Broadwell, then nerf it for Skylake? I guess you had to find a way to help sell your 'paper launch' of Broadwell. I really hope Xen makes you guys wake up; although it more than likely won't.
    Reply
  • Bartendalot
    At least Skylake HEDT should be powerful. Unless DX12 pulls a rabbit out of a hat, this doesn't look promising for anyone who has Sandy or higher.
    Reply
  • stairmand
    Still 4 cores.... Im sticking to my Q6600.

    Then you really are missing out, 4 cores or not a current i5 (let alone an i7) will simply destroy the old Q6600 C2Q. It was great in the day but it's very old hat now and the lack of features on the board worse still.
    Reply
  • salgado18
    Still 4 cores.... Im sticking to my Q6600.
    You do know that your Q6600 is astronomically slower than Skylake in every single department, right? By your logic, the Phenom II X6 is better than the i7 6700K.

    I think you should consider upgrading. You won't regret, promise.
    Reply
  • salgado18
    What the heck Intel? So, you provide great integrated graphics into Broadwell, then nerf it for Skylake? I guess you had to find a way to help sell your 'paper launch' of Broadwell. I really hope Xen makes you guys wake up; although it more than likely won't.
    Do you mean Shen, from LoL? Or Zen? XD

    I believe the cost of the integrated memory chips would make these processors too expensive and niche to be viable products.
    Reply
  • Lmah
    Good upgrade for 1st Gen i5/i7 users. Though I think they targeted it at the 2nd Gen i5/i7 users, doesn't seem like a huge improvement for them though.
    Reply
  • vertexx
    Why no discrete graphics tests?
    Reply