[Update]Intel Skylake Core i7-6700K Review Published Online – CPU and Gaming Performance Detailed


Update - The overclocked benchmarks and performance numbers for the Core i7-6700K processor have also been revealed and can be seen at the bottom of the posts.

The first proper review of the Core i7-6700K Skylake processor has been published by DGLee. The review shows the sort of gains we should expect from Skylake in CPU dependent and gaming benchmarks over Haswell based generation of processors. The review published goes in to a lot of details regarding the Skylake architecture and performance gains so hold on to your seat belts and get ready for a ride through several Core i7-6700K Skylake benchmarks.

Image Credits: DGLee

Intel Skylake Core i7-6700K Review Shows CPU and Gaming Performance Improvements

Launching today, the Intel Core i7-6700K is going to be the flagship processor of the Intel Skylake-S family that will initially feature the unlocked processors that include the Core i7-6700K and the Core i5-6600K. The Intel Core i7-6700K is a quad core processor with multi-threading that comes with a base clock speed of 4.0 GHz and boost clock of 4.2 GHz across all four cores. While 200 MHz slower than the Core i7-4790K, the architectural improvements made on Skylake will make up for the frequency difference. The Intel Core i7-6700K processor comes with 8 MB of L3 cache and supports DDR4-2133 MHz and DDR3L-1600 MHz (Native) while overclocked memory is fully supported since the chip is an unlocked model that is built for overclocking. Talking about OC, the Core i7-6700K has the ability to push clock speeds of up to 5.2 GHz on air cooling which will attract several enthusiasts to flock back to overclocking. Other specifications include a HD 530 graphics processor that comes with a base clock of 350 MHz and boost clock of 1200 MHz, fully supporting Microsoft's DirectX 12 API. The chip comes with a 91W TDP which is higher than Haswell offerings but due to advanced circuitry, the chip reduced current leakage and makes up in terms of efficiency numbers and overall stability while overclocking.

During the testing, the Skylake Core i7-6700K was tested on an ASUS Maximus VIII board which features the Z170 chipset and LGA 1151 socket, we did detail the ROG Z170 motherboards several weeks ago. For memory, DGLee used KLEVV CRAS DDR4-24000 (4 GB x 2) memory, a STRIX GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics card, Intel's 730 series SSD, Thermolab Trinity cooler and a Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 1500W Power Supply.

The processor was compared against the Broadwell based Core i7-5775C and Haswell based Core i7-4790K The Core i7-4790K which is the flagship Devil’s Canyon processor with a quad core and multi-threaded design. The Core i7-4790K was Intel’s first Haswell based 4 GHz processor plus a boost speed of 4.4 GHz (across all cores) and features 8 MB L3 cache. The processor has a TDP of 88W. The Core i7-5775C on the other hand is part of the Broadwell-K processor family, featuring 4 cores and 8 threads with a fully unlocked design. The processor has clock speeds of 3.3 GHz base and 3.7 GHz boost. It comes in a 65W TDP package and has 6 MB L3 cache. The processor has a price of $377 US (box). The Core i7-6700K will be priced close to the $350 US pricing as revealed in a leak yesterday.

Intel Core i7-6700K vs Core i7-5775C vs Core i7-4790K CPU Benchmarks:

First up, we have on details the CPU benchmarks which start with SISOFT Sandra based tests that calculate the arithmetic integer and floating point scalar computing performance. The overall vector performance of Skylake chips in AVX2 sees a considerable gain while AVX performance is close to Devil's Canyon levels with Integer and floating point performance getting a 30% to 40% improvement. In 3DMark and Firestrike Physics test, the Core i7-6700K takes the lead once again but Core i7-5775C also shows significant gains with clocks set at 3.6 GHz due to the 128 MB L4 eDRAM cache. Rendering performance for Skylake also gets a good increase in performance with gains in Cinebench R15 and POV-Ray benchmarks, indicating a 8-12% IPC increase. In Handbrake's H.256 encoding test, the Skylake chip scored 10% better than the Haswell and Broadwell chips while compression score was on par with Devil's Canyon and just marginally ahead due to higher clock speeds found on the Core i7-4790K. With the tests concluded, Skylake promises a 15% jump in IPC over previous generation processors as indicated by the source.

Intel Core i7-6700K vs Core i7-5775C vs Core i7-4790K Gaming Benchmarks:

Moving on, we have the gaming benchmarks which show Skylake on top of the charts in Synthetic benchmarks tested with 3DMark 11 and 3DMark Firestrike. The strangeness seems to start in the regular gaming titles that show less impressive performance with the Core i7-6700K and the Core i7-4790K leading in all of the titles. It has already been seen through CPU intensive benchmarks that Skylake has 15% IPC gains but games don't seem to take in account the performance increase from the core itself. The source reveals that some similar situations happened years ago when Nehalem launched and Yorkfield based Q9550 outperformed it in games at that time. We recently saw some other reviews which showed Skylake performing well in gaming titles but this review explains that due to platform immaturity, we might not see big gains in games just during at the launch of Skylake processors. Except, with Windows 10, DirectX 12 and better APIs that make use of the faster core performance, Skylake will see a much higher gain. The same holds true for graphics cards such as the high end GeForce GTX 980 Ti and Fury X which while powerful, aren't fully utilized by games and poor gaming ports and can't communicate to the CPU cores much faster. This will change very first in the next few months as the bottleneck from PC software is removed to take full control over PC hardware.

Intel Core i7-6700K Overclocked Performance Benchmarks:

The overclocked performance numbers of the Core i7-6700K have been revealaed by ITHome comparing a stock Core i7-6700K processor against a overclocked Core i7-6700K which was operating at 4.7 GHz. You can see the benchmarks below to get an idea of what kind of difference overclocking makes with Skylake CPUs.

Should You Upgrade To Skylake?

The review answers the question mentioned above in another way but I will try to keep it as simple as possible. An upgrade to Skylake will take a large investment by a gamer and enthusiast. The DDR4 memory, Z170 boards and a new chip already make up for 50-60% of the costs of a system so users who upgraded their PCs in the last two years (Ivy Bridge and Haswell) users might want to wait out a bit more to see whether DirectX 12 adds a noticeable improvement to hardware such as Skylake, Maxwell and GCN 1.2. The same holds true for Sandy Bridge users who I will personally advise to wait and make up their minds by going through reviews and user opinions on the Skylake platform prior to upgrading. Anyone from pre-Sandy Bridge generation platforms are fully advised to go for Skylake as the hardware they buy today will retain support till 2016 (Kaby Lake) and their DDR4 and Z170 boards won't go to waste when Intel launches their next generation processor family.

Intel Skylake-S Processors Box Art:

Intel Skylake Platform Block Diagram:

Intel Skylake Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K Specifications:

 Intel Core i7-6700KIntel Core i5-6600KIntel Core i7-5775CIntel Core i5-5675CIntel Core i7-4790KIntel Core i5-4690K
CodenameSkylake-SSkylake-SBroadwellBroadwellDevil's CanyonDevil's Canyon
CPU Cores4/84/44/84/44/84/4
GraphicsIntel 530Intel 530Iris Pro 6200Iris Pro 6200HD 4600HD 4600
Base Clock4.0 GHz3.5 GHz3.3 GHz3.1 GHz4.0 GHz3.5 GHz
Turbo Boost4.2 GHz3.9 GHz3.7 GHz3.6 GHz4.4 GHz3.9 GHz
L3 Cache8 MB6 MB6 MB4 MB8 MB6 MB
L4 CacheN/AN/A128 MB eDRAM128 MB eDRAMN/AN/A
Unlocked DesignYesYesYesYesYesYes
Launch Price$350 US$243 US$377 US$277 US$339 US$242 US

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