Articles

Intel Skylake Core i7-6700K IPC & Overclocking Review

Author:Kyle Bennett

Date: Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Today we finally get to share with you our Intel Skylake experiences. As we like to, we are going to focus on Instructions Per Clock / IPC and overclocking this new CPU architecture. We hope to give our readers a definitive answer to whether or not it is time to make the jump to a new desktop PC platform.

Intel, Gamers, and Overclockers

Intel's messaging for its new Skylake Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K processors is very interesting. On the second slide below you will see that Intel is stating that "PC GAMING IS DRIVING THE PLATFORM." That platform of course is desktop computers and I don't think that any of us would have issues fully agreeing with that statement. To be frank, there is very little reason for today's powerful CPUs and GPUs beyond high end gaming and content creation applications. It is great to see Intel call this out plainly. The slide then goes on to state that "INTEL IS COMMITTED TO PC GAMING AND OVERCLOCKING."

It was not too long ago that "overclocking" was a word that would not even be whispered by an Intel employee. The first time I ever saw Intel recognize overclocking publicly was in 2001 at CeBIT in Germany and it happened to be on a stage with HardOCP. I was there doing a phase change overclocking demonstration at the ABIT booth, and a vice president with Intel (I forget his name or what he was VP of) actually came on stage and discussed overclocking and how he enjoyed the communities' overclocking endeavors. It was kind of a big moment (halfway down the page). Not only did Intel recognize overclocking, but it actually seemed to support it, but things cooled a bit after that in terms of message.

The best part of the entire workshop was the fact that some PR guys from Intel were actually PROMOTING overclocking and putting up P4 stickers everywhere. Are they feeling the hot breath of AMD in their neck? Is Intel supporting overclocking? Wouldn’t that be great .

While obviously Intel has been officially supporting overclocking since it introduced unlocked "K" SKU processors, I have not seen it be this vocal and specific about its support of overclocking. In the second slide below, Intel professes to have supported overclocking since 2003 with the Pentium 4, but I would suggest it was more of a "not stopping it" approach rather than supporting or promoting it. That however is an argument for the HardForum.

We have had some very harsh words for Intel in the past when its messaging has simply been way off point. We have even gone as far as to call it "horse shit." But to me there seems to be no BS this time, or HS rather. The one real question this begs is, "How long will Intel keep this message?" Even ODMs in the desktop ecosystem are not very optimistic about Intel desktop processor releases beyond this one. Hopefully Intel's messaging with Skylake does not fit into the "one and done" category.

Skylake is Here

Something else we are seeing new compared to previous Intel CPU launches is that today we are reviewing a "retail" processor rather than an engineering sample or "ES" processor normally marked "confidential." We reached out to Intel for comment and this is what it had to say:

The engineering samples and the production/retail processors are the same silicon. It was just a matter of availability and this time it just worked out to provide retail product.

One thing that we always have to take into mind when reviewing ES samples whether or not those are actually representative of the processors that will be seen for sale in the retail channel. I for one am happy to see a retail processor here on the test bench. If nothing else it simply removes some level of doubt about "golden samples" being seeded.