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Sep 03 2015

Intel Launches 48 Skylake Processors


Following unofficial revelations in various media outlets, the world's largest chipmaker decided to benefit from the buzz and introduced the 6th generation of Core™ processors previously known as "Skylake." The company's marketing department now has coined what it believes to be a better, more colorful term – and simply calls it "Intel's best processor ever."

As always with new processor models, OEMs and customers have to decide whether this claim holds water or not. According to Intel's fact sheet (PDF), the lineup comprises a total of 48 new models that are expected to suit 13 device categories and run at seven TDP levels:

  • Five 4.5W Intel Core Y-series processors for small-screen 2 in 1 detachables and 2 in 1 convertibles
  • Ten 15W and four 28W Intel Core U-series processors for 2 in 1 convertibles and ultra-thin clamshells
  • Six 45W Intel Core H-series processors for thin clamshells and large-screen notebooks
  • One 45W Intel Core H-series unlocked mobile K SKU for enthusiast notebooks
  • Ten 65W and eight 35W Intel Core S-series processors for gaming towers, stationary All-in-Ones, and mini PCs
  • Two Intel Xeon® processors for mobile workstations that also belong in the 45W class

Now if you count, you will find that this list only includes 46 CPUs – but add to these the two flagship models Core™ i7-6700K and Core™ i5-6600K launched in early August and targeted at "overclockers and gaming enthusiasts" (both of which eat up 91W), and you'll arrive at 48.

In recent years, Intel usually found a way to squeeze ever more performance from processors with ever smaller TDPs. The sixth-gen Core™ family (die pictured above) continues down the same path. According to the official announcement, the 14nm Skylakes deliver "up to two and a half times better performance (...) and graphics that are 30 times better for seamless and smooth gaming and video experiences" when compared to 5-year-old gear. Moreover, they wake up faster, and mobile editions "can be half as thin and half the weight" while providing three times the battery life – meaning, for instance, enough for a full eight hours of Full HD video playback. In the words of Kirk Skaugen, Intel Senior VP and chief of its Client Computing Group, sixth-gen Intel Core-based systems will be "more responsive than ever" and enable "amazing new PC experiences" such as face recognition or interaction via voice instead of keystrokes and mouse clicks. The lineup also includes a variety of fresh Core™ M processors specifically designed for tablets as well as a number of industry firsts for mobile designs, among these the mobile "K" SKU that is unlocked to enable overclocking, a quad-core Core™ i5 processor that offers up to 60% better mobile multitasking, and the Xeons for mobile workstations.

Aside from these main enhancements, sixth-gen Intel Core™ processors will feature several new functionalities and/or improve support for existing advanced technologies, for example Thunderbolt™ 3 for USB Type-C, Wireless Display, and multi-factor authentication for enhanced security. Likewise, Intel promises to upgrade processor graphics and management capabilities (Iris, vPro), and add a set of 25 embedded processors for IoT devices.

Intel will be showing a larger part of the new processor family at the IFA trade fair in Berlin from September 4 to September 9. More models are due over the upcoming months, continuing well into 2016.


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