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

How We Tested

A switch to LGA 1151 meant we had to start our search for a reference platform all over again. We're already utilizing a full complement of MSI motherboards, so we asked the company to show us what it had planned for Z170...and were impressed. The Z170A Gaming M7 is a beastly piece of hardware, both on its specification sheet and aesthetically.

To be sure, MSI takes full advantage of the platform it's working with. Sixteen lanes of PCIe from the host processor are configurable in x16 or x8/x8 links. The PCH's flexible I/O is set up to accommodate as many as two M.2 slots, two SATA Express connectors (or four SATA 6Gb/s ports), two additional 6Gb/s connectors, six USB 3.0 ports, an additional two 10Gb USB 3.1 ports attached to a two-lane PCIe link, and a host of x1 and x4 expansion slots.

As mentioned, Corsair and G.Skill both sent in memory kits designed to push the capabilities of Skylake's memory controller. It's truly notable that both vendors had no trouble hitting 3200 MT/s (that's already 1066 MT/s beyond the official 2133 MT/s specification) before Intel's architecture even launched. Moreover, we got Corsair's 3600 MT/s kit to 3466 MT/s before it tripped up. Expect companies like MSI to shore up compatibility as quickly as possible.

Most of the benchmarks from today's story were run by Tom's Hardware Germany, using the same hardware that goes into generating our 2015 CPU Charts. In addition to desktop performance analysis, we also go into depth on power consumption, thermals and alacrity in workstation-oriented applications.

Test Systems
AMD MotherboardsMSI 970 GamingMSI A88XM GamingMSI K9A2 Platinum V2MSI AM1
Intel MotherboardsMSI Z170A Gaming M7MSI Z99S XPOWER ACMSI Z97A Gaming 6MSI Z97 Gaming 7MSI Z87 XPowerMSI X79 BIG BANG-XPOWER IIMSI Z77 GD55MSI Z68A GD65 (G3)
System MemoryCorsair DDR4-3200 Vengeance LPX (at 2133 MT/s for stock benchmarks)Corsair DDR3-2133 Dominator PlatinumCorsair DDR4-2400 Dominator PlatinumTranscend DDR3L-1600 (Broadwell)
Power SupplySeaSonic Platinum 860W
Test BenchLian Li PC-T80 Bench-Table
Operating SystemWindows 8.1 Professional x64 and Windows 10
Discrete GraphicsPalit GeForce GTX 980 OC
Measurement Equipment2 x HAMEG HMO 3054, 500MHz multi-channel oscilloscope with storage function4 x HAMEG HZO50 current probe (1mA - 30A, 100kHz, DC)4 x HAMEG HZ355 (10:1 probes, 500MHz)1 x HAMEG HMC8012 digital multimeter with storage function1 x Optris PI450 80Hz infrared camera and PI Connect
  • 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