It’s processor Christmas! Today Intel released the two leading desktop processors of its new 14nm Skylake architecture, the i7-6500K (clocked at 4.0 GHz) and the i5-6600K (clocked at 3.5 GHz). Both are quad-core CPUs that, as the “K” denotes, are unlocked and ready to be overclocked. Intel’s aiming to appeal to gamers and early adopters by releasing the unlocked chips first, beginning August 5th, with the rest of the processor family following in Q3 of this year.
Skylake represents the “tock” in Intel’s tick-tock upgrade cycle, and its move to 14nm production means improved power efficiency and transistor density. Production-wise, it’s not a huge change from Broadwell, Intel’s first 14nm CPU that’s quietly reaching digital shelves right about now. But Skylake’s got some new features that make it a more significant release for gamers: a new chipset with DDR4 support, more PCIe lanes, and faster clockspeeds.
If you’re expecting Skylake to be a dramatic increase in performance over the past few processor iterations—Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, and Haswell—you may be disappointed, because Skylake seems to be turning in Intel’s typical 5-10 percent performance bump year-over-year. But Skylake’s new Z170 chipset brings with it some much-needed increases in available bandwidth for storage devices, multiple graphics cards, etc. It’s time to move on to blazing fast PCIe-based M.2 SSDs, and faster RAM.
The i7-6700K will run $350, while the i5-6600K will cost $243. Both should be available now, or very soon.
Want to know more about the chips themselves and how they perform? Head on over here to find our analysis.