Intel Core i7-6700K Skylake-K CPU Review With ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming

Hassan Mujtaba
Posted Sep 21, 2015
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In 2015, for the first time in history, Intel had two major launches and one of those is going to be covered today by us. In 2013, Intel had launched their Haswell microarchitecture on the 22nm process node which had served the market up till late 2014. Everyone had anticipated Intel’s 14nm node to arrive in the market by 2H 2014 but production issues meant that we won’t see mass production of 14nm chips commence until late 2014. Due to production issues, Intel had to shift the majority of their 14nm chips to 2015 and consumers were stuck with the Haswell chips for a good two years. Intel did launch a specific SKU family, codenamed Core M (Broadwell-Y) in 2014 but the majority of the lineup was pushed to 2015. With the Tick-Tock cycle disrupted, Intel had to re-focus and made changes to their Tick-Tock roadmap and developed a 2.5 year cadence which revolves around a single Tick and two Tocks in the coming years.

Intel's Tock Tock Strategy

Architecture

Process

Tick/Tock

Release

Conroe65nmTock2006
Penryn45nmTick2007
Nehalem45nmTock2008
Westmere32nmTick2010
Sandy Bridge32nmTock2011
Ivy Bridge22nmTick2012
Haswell22nmTock2013
Broadwell14nmTick2014
Skylake14nmTock2015

Come 2015 and we see an abundance of Broadwell chips launching at CES 2015 with more chips to follow in mid of 2015. Intel released their Broadwell-K desktop parts in June 2015 with two chips, the Core i7-5775C and Core i5-5675C. Both processors were based on the Broadwell architecture with a 5.5% IPC improvement and built on the 14nm process node. The Broadwell desktop processors were faster than the Devil’s Canyon chips (Haswell Refresh) while featuring lower clock speeds, had an unlocked multiplier to allow overclocking and also featured Iris Pro graphics with embedded DRAM (128 MB L4 cache). The Iris Pro graphics chip was a nice but costly addition to the processors and resulted in a slight increase to the price of the processors compared to the previous generation parts. And while the processors retained compatibility with the existing Z97 series of motherboards with LGA 1150 socket, it made little sense to upgrade to these chips if users were already using a good Haswell processor.

Intel Skylake Microarchitecture_Skylake

In 2015, Intel had another major launch planned for 5th August. This was related to their Skylake architecture which was going to debut on Gamescom 2015. While Intel previously focused on mobility launches first, this was the first time in several years where Intel had emphasized more on the desktop parts with a fully unlocked family of Skylake processors planned for launch along with their Z170 series platform. The Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K are the top most chips in the Skylake-K family. Users had been eyeing on Skylake since a while now to see whether Intel pushes performance dramatically over the previous generation so that they can push for upgrades from their older processors. The wait is over and Intel had finally taken off the wraps from the Skylake architecture and processor family. Today, we test the Core i7-6700K processor to find out whether it is a worthy upgrade over Haswell and more importantly, over Sandy Bridge where most of the PC user base will be upgrading from.

Featuring improved performance, better power efficiency and faster graphics cores, the Skylake processors are the first mainstream family from any chip maker to be fully compatible with DDR4 memory while future processors are on the road and will integrate faster eDRAM based cache that will significantly boost/enhance performance while reducing latency so that applications work and load faster. Several key technologies are part of the Intel Skylake family that include faster memory, storage solutions, more PCI-E lanes, support for future NvME based SSDs and even Octane (3D XPoint) SSDs. The article we are compiling today will give you a brief insight on what Skylake is and what architectural changes were incorporated to make Skylake faster and more efficient than its predecessor.

Intel’s latest System-on-Chip (SoC) microarchitecture, code name Skylake. It is built on Intel’s leading 14nm process technology. This “tock” microarchitecture was completely redesigned to bring new IPs and integrations, great performance and reduced power consumption. via Intel

Before we move in to the performance reviews, we need to know what is Skylake all about and what kind of  architecture focused enhancements are built inside it. The analysis will revolve around the CPU architecture details followed by the GPU architectur, the several Hardware P-states and finally an insight into the new platform features that will be featured on Skylake desktop and mobility processors.

Contents:
Next: Intel Skylake CPU Architecture Analysis
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