Not Upgrading to Skylake could be Worth the Wait
Some people out there don’t understand what waiting to upgrade means. The rest of us know that once we sink a few hundred dollars into a nice upgrade, we aren’t putting anything new in our computers for a while, possibly even years. Skylake has been a great release with the return to good overclocking and some amazing chipset features on the Z170 boards, but if you’re still on the fence about whether to upgrade or not, there could be one good reason to hold out for just another year.
In case you haven’t noticed, memory is in a state of flux. You may be thinking that DDR4 isn’t that big of a deal, and you’d sort of be right. Where memory is making huge improvements is in graphics cards, storage and caches in CPUs. The ability to 3D stack memory chips on top of one another is revolutionizing the way typical computing handles various memory work loads by exponentially increasing bandwidth. In the case of Skylake, the architecture is doing a great job, but the CPU cache is made up of the same ole’ same ole’. Broadwell didn’t get as much attention as Skylake because on an enthusiast level, it was pretty difficult to overclock. However, Broadwell introduced us to 128 MB of eDram in the L4 cache. If the number doesn’t blow you away on it’s own (128 MB of L4 cache!!!), the fact that the i7 5775C outperforms the 6770K in gaming performance should be enough to get your attention and I’m not talking about the integrated graphics. So how does this fit into holding out on your next upgrade?
If you’re like me, you have to carefully plan and budget your upgrades to try and get the best you possibly can for a ways to come, while trying not to fall too far behind as well. Skylake gives you exceptional compute and overclocking power at the slight expense of gaming performance, while Broadwell does the exact opposite. However, AMD’s Zen is looking like it will incorporate some form of HBM into it’s cache system and INTEL is very likely to release a new chip that will introduce eDram to its Skylake architecture. My guess is we are going to see a huge gaming boost in 2016 with these changes that will be well worth the wait.
With only a year or less to go, waiting a tad longer for the perfect upgrade doesn’t seem like a long shot. We can only speculate, but it feels like next year is going to be a big year for hardware improvements, with 2015 acting as a bit of spring board to get us into the good stuff. i wish I had a crystal ball, but what I can say is that this is enough for me to keep holding out. Honestly, the biggest issue I see with waiting for next year is HBM2. With AMD and NVIDIA introducing the new memory in their GPUs, we may find out there’s just too much hardware to upgrade our rigs than our wallets can handle!