INTEL HAS ANNOUNCED the first wave of processors based on the 14nm Skylake architecture, naming them the '6th-generation Core' family.
Intel's latest chipset is the first mainstream Intel desktop platform to support DDR4 memory, and is claimed to deliver 30 percent better performance than a three-year-old PC based on Ivy Bridge architecture, 20 percent better performance than a two-year-old PC (Haswell), and 10 percent better performance than a one-year-old PC (Broadwell).
Skylake is the successor to the chipmaker's Broadwell architecture, and was first put on the radar at Intel's Developer Forum last year when the firm previewed the chip, touted to deliver significant increases in performance, battery life and power efficiency.
Processors based on the Skylake architecture have a new chip design, despite being fabbed on the same 14nm process as Broadwell, making Skylake a 'tock' iteration in Intel's 'tick-tock' chip architecture cadence.
Arriving on the market today, the new quad-core chip designs are the Skylake-K variants of Intel's latest generation of processors, comprising the Core i7-6700K and the Core i5-6600K.
These SKUs are aimed at gamers and computing enthusiasts, and Intel said that the rest of the product family, which will make up the bulk of Skylake processors, will arrive later this year.
The Core i7-6700K has a base clock speed of 4GHz and a max Turbo speed of 4.2GHz, supporting eight threads. The Core i5-6600K has a base clock speed of 3.5GHz and a max Turbo speed of 3.9GHz, supporting four threads.
The chips also support DDR4 memory at up to 2133MHz, or DDR3 at 1600MHz in two memory channels, with two DIMMS per channel. These can be fitted with up to 64GB of DDR4 memory.
The driving force behind releasing these two chips first is the gaming market, Intel said, as customers will see a noticeable performance improvement.
The chips cost $350 (£224) for the Core i7-6700K and $243 (£156) for the Core i5-6600K.
Intel also introduced a new chipset, the Z170, and a new LGA 1151 motherboard socket. The firm said that this will offer up to 40 percent more I/O interfaces, including storage attached to the PCI Express bus that is now supported by Intel's Rapid Storage Technology.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced last month that the firm's shift from one transistor size to another is stretching from two to 2.5 years, putting Moore's Law into question.
Moore's Law is the prediction made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that computing power would double every two years. The law turned 50 earlier this year, and Intel said that the best is yet to come, and that the law will become more relevant in the next two decades as everyday objects become smaller, smarter and connected.
Intel has adhered to this in the past, using a 'tick-tock' strategy when launching new processors. The 'tick' refers to a shrinking of the manufacturing process, while the 'tock' is an improvement of the design and architecture at the same size.
However, Krzanich casted doubt over this during Intel's earnings call in June, saying that manufacturing processes haven't advanced at the same rate as in the past.
"The [tick-tock] strategy created better products for our customers and a competitive advantage for Intel," said Krazanich.
"It also disproved the death of Moore's Law predictions many times over. The last two technology transitions have signalled that our cadence today is closer to 2.5 years than two."
He added that to address this, Intel plans to introduce a third 14nm product, codenamed Kabylake, in the second half of 2016 built on the foundations of the Skylake micro-architecture but with performance enhancements.
The firm will then launch its first 10nm product, codenamed Cannonlake, in the second half of 2017. µ
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