Intel has just unveiled the new series of processors for gamers and enthusiasts at the Gamescon the largest extravaganza for gamers.
The processors are based on the new Intel architecture “Skylake” and are successor to the Intel Broadwell or more aptly said the Intel Haswell series of processors. In the article I will try to simplify the complex nature of architecture and bring out the essence for Gamers whether it makes sense to spend money on the new series of processor or they are good with the old series of Intel processors.
The second bigger question is What if you are building a new Gaming PC should you buy the new Intel Skylake processors or you should take advantage of price bargain and get the Haswell series which undoubtedly is quite fast.
Now the question is should we look at upgrading the processor if currently you have Intel Sandy Bridge, Intel Ivy League or Intel Haswell/ Haswell-E or the Broadwell series of processor. Also we may look at PC’s running on the AMD FX 8000 series does it make sense to jump the ship and get the new unlocked K series Intel Core i7 6700K or the Core i5 6600K.
Unlocked simply means that these new processors have the potential to overclock using a compatible motherboard.
What are the Compatible motherboards for the new series of processor, can your Z97 or Z87 work with the new Skylake processor. The answer is no your old motherboard will not work with the Skylake series of processor you will have to get the Z170 motherboard which all manufacturers like Asus, MSI, Gigabyte , Asrock and others will be launching shortly and we expect around 60 models starting from $85(Rs. 7,000) to $ (380) Rs. 30,000 to hit the markets soon.
Should I Upgrade to Intel Skylake Core i7 6700K or i5 6600K
Let’s have a little background of the technology and technical Specs for the Intel Core i7 6700K and Core i5 6600K Skylake processors.
Technical Specs Intel Core i7 6600K and Core i5 6600k
|Intel i7 Lineup||Intel Core i5 Line UP|
|Price||Rs. 24,000 ($340)||Rs. 27,000($350)||(16,000) $242|
Base CPU Freq.
|3.5 GHz||4.0 GHz||3.4 GHz||3.5 GHz|
|Turbo CPU Freq.||3.9 GHz||4.2 GHz||3.8 GHz|
|HD 4600||HD 530||HD 4600||HD 530|
The new Skylake processors are clocked slightly higher compared to the haswell processors, both in case of the Core i7 6700K and Core i5 6600K.
The TDP for both the new processors Core I7 and Core i5 have a higher TDP of 91 Watts compared to the 84 watts of the Haswell series. The socket required is LGA 1151 for the new Skylake series.
The new Intel processor are manufactured using the 14NM processor which started with the Broadwell series while the Ivy Bridge and the Haswell had the 22nm lithography. The smaller dye size ensures more computing units on the single chipset.
We expected Intel to move to 10NM with Skylake or atleast the upcoming Kaby Lake series expected in late 2016. But it is likely that Intel will continue with the 14 NM process for more time.
Moore’s Law – The Moore’s law which has been true for more than 50 years is now under pressure as the cycle for upgrade which was 18 to 24 months is now stretching to 24- 30 months. That simply means the performance differential between new series of processors Vs old is not too much.
No Stock Cooler – Intel has decided not to ship Stock coolers with these two new processors, it may be a cost cutting measure but it makes sense as gamers don’t use the low quality intel stock cooler either way and are waste for most of them. You will be able to use your existing coolers on these processors as the size of die and socket is same like the LGA 1150/1155/1156.
Compatible Motherboard – The socket that you will need will be LGA 1151 and you will have to get the compatible Z170 motherboard for the Intel Skylake processors, older Z77 , Z87 and Z97 board will not be able to function with the Skylake series. Also if you have the haswell E processor and an X99 motherboard and you wish to switch to Skylake you will need a different board. Though there is no reason to switch from the Haswell E to the Skylake.
Compatible RAM – In case of the Skylake processors and the Z170 motherboards you will have to use the DDR4 RAM or the DDR3L RAM. The normal DDR3 RAM will not work on the motherboard. DDR3L rams are rare and I have not heard much of it and may be very few people use them. There will be need to invest in the DDR4 RAM which is comparatively much expensive in some of Asian countries versus the more commonly sold DDR3.
The performance difference between DDR3 Vs DDR4 is negligible as far as Gaming and FPS is concerned. There is hardly 1-2 frames difference which is nothing in comparison to the extra price that DDR4 commands.
Non K Series Skylake processors – Intel has just released the two top line K series unlocked processors and there will be lower variants for the Core i7 and Core i5 processors which will be bit cheaper and will come later this year, they will not be factory unlocked like the “K” series.
We are through the theory part mostly if you wish to deep dive more can visit Intel site or Anandtech.
Gaming Performance – DDR3 Vs the DDR4 for the Intel SKYLAKE Processors.
Before we conclude that you need to upgrade to the new Intel Skylake Processors or not let’s have a look at some of the gaming benchmarks.
The gain from the DDR3 L or the DDR3 to DDR4 is negligible as far as the FPS performance is concerned. 1-2 frames up and down is not a sizeable gain or loss considering the amount of additional money spent.
|RAM Performance @ 1080P, GTX 770||Shadow of Mordar||Total War Atalia||Grid AutoSport|
|DDR4 Intel Skylake Core I7 6700k||56||20.8||112|
|DDR3 Intel Skylake Core I7 6700k||53||20.5||110|
Let’s Check out how the Intel Core i7 6700K perform Vs the Old War Horse Intel Core i7 4700 K at the stock speeds running along with the nvidia GTX 980 graphics card. All games set to ultra on 1080P with 16 GB of RAM.
|Performance @ 1080P, Ultra, GTX 980,||Shadow of Mordar||Total War Atalia||Grid AutoSport||GTA 5|
|Intel Core i7 6700k DDR4 RAM||99.62||35.3||169||59.2|
|Intel Core i7 4700k DDR3 RAM||99.63||35.4||168||58.7|
Concusion – Upgrade Cost , Benefit for Skylake based Gaming PC
Should I Upgrade to Intel Skylake Core i7 6700K or i5 6600K: There is hardly a gain of 1-2 frames per second for the Core i7 6700K vs the Core i7 4770k, which I don’t think so will justify my cost of upgrading from the Haswell to the Skylake.
Also there is not a significant gain Vs the Ivy bridge Vs Skylake processor gaming performance, at best 3-4 FPS will be gained if we use the Intel Core i7 3770K.
Now the cost of getting a new Motherboard + Additional DDR4 RAM + Intel Core i7 6700k will be close to Rs. 55,000 to Rs. 60,000 or USD 800 or more. In terms of gaming performance it is negligible, you will gain some ground in compressing videos and files but that too will narrow down to few seconds.
Intel Haswell processor are still as fast as they come, even Ivy bridge as per my opinion don’t yet need an upgrade to Skylake.
If you are on Sandy bridge and it is almost 3-5 years since your last upgrade came you can look at upgrading to the Skylake by all means. Also if you are looking forward to upgrade from the AMD 8320 or the 8350 processors or lower it does make sense to upgrade to the Intel Skylake Core i5 6600K or the Intel Skylake Core i7 6700K.
On the other side if you are building a new gaming rig and not upgrading the old one, it is best to get the Skylake. The price difference between Skylake and the Haswell will not be too much once we have supply for Skylake start pouring and it will be better to get the latest Intel processor for a new gaming PC.