What to Make of the Leaked Skylake Performance Scores
INTEL’s new CPU lineup is getting closer and closer by the day, but some performance numbers have released to give us a early glimpse of what to expect performance wise. The Core i7 6700K will be the successor to the i7 4790K and it looks like the gains are following the trend we’ve been seeing from INTEL as of late. The gains on the CPU side of the architecture are pretty nominal with some of the more impressive gains coming form the built in graphics architecture. For PC enthusiasts, this isn’t good news considering built-in graphics isn’t a selling point for high-end systems, but there are a couple of considerations to ponder in determining how good Skylake will end up.
The first important thing to realize is the i7 6700K is targeting multi-threaded applications more so than previous generations. This may not be a huge thing to many of us outside of the server market, but if things like DirectX 12 make good use of multi-threading in games, then the 6700K could be a more tempting offer to upgrade to. The other important factor is overclocking. This will be the first standard consumer chip (by standard consumer, I’m basically saying CPUs that aren’t Xeons or included in the X79 and X99 chipsets) that doesn’t include a stock heatsink. It looks like INTEL is marketing this chip more specifically to overclocking enthusiasts and as such, knows that after market cooling is a must. Since the new architecture design isn’t offering huge performance gains in every area, hopefully we’ll see some higher overclocks than we’ve seen in the past. Overall though, if this chip doesn’t at least impress reviewers in overclocking, it’s going to be a bit of a disappointment considering it uses slightly more power than Devil’s Canyon while only offering modest gains.
It’s when we get to the new Z170 chipset that Skylake starts looking more interesting. INTEL is upgrading the PCIe lanes that communicate with storage devices to 3.0. This will no doubt give better performance and more slots for newer solid state devices. In fact, we’ve already seen some of this with new boards that have multiple M.2 and SATA Express ports. We’ll also see support for the new DDR4 memory standard and it seems that INTEL has managed to increase the memory bandwidth, but this could be related to the DDR4 itself. Either way, while Skylake may not offer much in and of itself, it may offer much more when related to performance improvements with the rest of the system as a whole. Will these improvements be enough to merit an upgrade? It’s still too hard to tell.
Honestly, I was hoping that with a new architecture design, we’d see better performance gains from Skylake. The high refresh rate of Blue architecture is getting dulled down by the fact that nothing seems all that impressive. When NVIDIA released Maxwell in the form of the GTX 980 and 970, that was the kind of release that turned everything upside down with the amount of performance and efficiency gains made. On the other hand, if you’re like me and you haven’t upgraded since 2012 when you grabbed an FX-8350, you know you have a lot to gain by moving to INTEL. The only question then is to upgrade now, or wait a bit longer when AMD releases Zen? Deciding to upgrade on a 3-5 year schedule can be beneficial for those on budgets, but waiting for the market to have stiff competition is usually the best bet. Either way, in a few more weeks we’ll have a better picture of what’s going on when the reviews begin to surface.