So Skylake is officially here, now the question you are probably asking yourself is should I upgrade? I think that if you are anything that pre-dates Haswell it is really a no-brainer. Now if you are running Haswell on a Z87 or Z97 motherboard the question becomes a little more difficult as the Core i7-4770K and Core i7-4790K have been solid since they were released. In most of our tests the Core i7-6700K beat or was very close in performance with the Core i7-4790K. Keep in mind that the Core i7-4790K has a higher boost frequency so the Core i7-6700K is performing the same or better at a lower frequency.
Since Skylake is a brand new architecture that means that all the motherboard manufacturers are releasing new exciting motherboards based on the Z170 chipset. This makes it a really exciting time for PC enthusiasts and gives you a lot of choice. Z170 motherboards are loaded with many features you just won’t find on Z87 / Z97 motherboards like USB 3.1, multiple M.2 slots, and much more. This is because the Z170 chipset has 40% more high-speed I/O lanes compared to Intel’s 9 series chipset. So again if you are thinking about upgrading this gives another push towards Skylake over Haswell. You do have to keep in mind that most Z170 motherboards will support DDR4, so you will need to get DDR4 for this platform. So that will be an added cost, but as we see DDR4 become more mainstream the cost of memory kits will be going down.
This is a “K” series processor and that means that it is fully overclocked. Intel has really improved overclocking options with Skylake as well. You have full base clock (BCLK) tuning in 1 MHz increments and also new levels of memory overclocking with finer grain tuning. With our limited time with the processor we were able to achieve a stable overclock of 4.7 GHz, which is a 700 MHz overclock from the chips base frequency of 4.0 GHz. This is also 100 MHz better than what we were able to achieve with the Core i7-4790K. As we always say as the architecture improves expect overclocking to improve.
This processor will retail for $350 and even could be lower at online retailers.
At the end of the day Skylake and the Z170 platform bring with it a nice performance boost, better power efficiency, more high-speed I/O lanes, and better overclocking options. If you are thinking about upgrading now is the time!
– Improved performance over Haswell
– Better power efficiency
– More overclocking options than Haswell
– More stable overclocking than Haswell
– 40% more high-speed I/O lanes
– Support for DD4 and DDR3
– None that I found