Intel unleashes first Skylake CPUs aimed at the ideal target market

More chips are due later this year but the first two are for the most performance-hungry of buyers.


As predicted, Intel has introduced the first two chips of its Skylake family, a whole new microarchitecture that will offer a mild to modest performance bump, depending on how you use it. And Intel knew just who to target with these two chips: gamers, the ones most willing to upgrade for any performance edge they can get.

The 6th generation Core processors are the i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K processors, with better overall performance, particularly around the graphics processor, along with better overclocking capabilities, DDR4 support and a new chipset, the Z170 chipset. The i7-6700K will sell for $350 in lots of 1,000 and the Core i5-6600K will fetch $243.

The Core i7-6700K is a 4.0GHz quad-core processor with multi-threading, 8MB of L3 cache and support for both DDR4-2133MHz and DDR3L-1600MHz. That "L" on the DDR3 is important to note: DDR3L is low-power DDR3, consuming just 1.3 volts instead of the usual 1.5 volts. As such, you can't reuse your old standard DDR3 if you upgrade a home-built PC.

Because the clock multiplier is not locked, the 6700K is designed for overclocking and it reportedly can hit 5.2GHz on air cooling. The native GPU fully supports the DirectX 12 API introduced with Windows 10.

The Core i5-6600K is a 3.5GHz quad-core processor but does not have the multi-threading. It also supports the DDR4-2133MHz and DDR3-1600MHz memory as the 6700K.

In addition to the DDR4 support, Intel's new Z170 chipset features support for the NVMe Express standard, a high-speed interface for SSDs used by Intel’s SSD 750 series that have earned raves for their fast performance. It also comes with 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes and a new four-lane DMI 3.0 interface. The DMI 3.0 spec increases the speed between CPU and chipset from 5.0 gigatransfers per second to 8.0 GT/s.

In addition to the chips, there are more than 50 new motherboards. Anandtech has a good rundown on the new products. Many more Skylake chips are due this year, some reportedly coming out at the Intel Developer Forum next month. This will include mobile chips and mid-range chips.

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