Intel Core i7-6700K Processor - Our First 14nm Skylake CPU Review!Intel today launched the 6th Generation Intel Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K processors along with the Intel Z170 at Gamescom in Germany. Intel released these two new 14nm ‘Skylake’ unlocked K-Sku processors at Gamescom to show that Intel remains dedicated to PC gaming. Intel believes that this is the ideal gaming platform, offering the best all-around gaming experience. The ideal desktop gaming platform right now, according to Intel, would be a 6th Gen Core processor with a Z170 based board and an Intel 750 Series NVMe SSD to top it off. Many of the Intel Z170 boards will feature SuperSpeed+ USB 3.1, Thunderbolt 3.0 and DDR4 memory and up to three M.2 PCIe SSD slots, so you are talking about the most feature rich mainstream PC platform to ever be released. Chances are if you consider yourself an enthusiast you’ve been waiting for the Intel Z170 boards with the new LGA1151 socket and DDR4 memory support to come out before you upgraded. There is a large number of Intel Sandy Bridge owners out there that haven’t felt the need to update, but that will likely change now that this new platform has been released and they see the performance numbers. Intel is launching these two new Skylake processors and the Z170 PCH for the desktop market, but didn’t fully brief us on the new Skylake architecture as they wanted to save those details for unveiling at the Intel Developer Conference that takes place later this month on August 17th in San Francisco, California. This is a little unique as usually we get white papers and gobs of details ahead of Intel releasing a new processor architecture. What we do know is that this generation of processors has been in the works for six years and Intel has unleashed these two desktop overclocking-friendly, K-Sku processors first, with the full lineup of desktop and mobile iterations launching at a later date. The full top to bottom release of the rest of the 6th Gen Intel Core Processors and supporting chipsets will be announced sometime in Q3 2015. We also know that our Intel engineering friends and the board makers are much more excited about Skylake coming to market than Broadwell. In fact, you’ll likely be able to purchase a 6th Gen Intel Core i7-6700K before you can buy a 5th Gen Intel Core i7-5775C retail boxed processor, so that just goes to show how weird the move to the 14nm process node has been for Intel.
- Intel Core i7-6700K – $350 – 4 physical cores with 8 total threads, a base clock speed of 4.0GHz and 4.2GHz Turbo, 8MB of L3 cache, and Intel HD Graphics 530
- Intel Core i5-6600K – $243 – 4 physical cores with 4 total threads, a base clock speed of 3.5GHz and 3.9GHz Turbo, 6MB of L3 cache, and Intel HD Graphics 530
ASUS Z170 Deluxe MotherboardTo review the Intel Core i7-6700K we will be using the ASUS Z170 Deluxe motherboard. This motherboard is regarded as one of the best Intel Z170 chipset and is one of the few that is said to be capable of running DDR4 memory kits at 3600MHz and beyond on launch day. While ASUS doesn't put a ton of flash on their mainstream board packaging, the ASUS Z170 Deluxe packaging has plenty of information right on the front of the box. Outside of the obvious chipset and socket change, the ASUS Z170 Deluxe is boasting a total of 6 USB 3.1 ports. That's a key point that is high lighted on the front of the packaging. Along the bottom edge of the box for the ASUS Z170 Deluxe, there is a number of features listed, including but not limited to NVIDIA SLI, AMD CrossFire, dts surround sound, and of course support for the latest Windows 10 operating system. ASUS introduced the current color scheme with the Intel X99 platform, ASUS has further refined the white and black scheme for the ASUS Z170 Deluxe. Overall it's a slick looking piece of hardware, but looks will only take you so far if you can't perform. Knowing and using a number of ASUS motherboards over the years, there's a good chance that the ASUS Z170 Deluxe will have the performance to back up it's looks. At first glance the ASUS Z170 Deluxe layout looks to be pretty typical and what one should expect to see. Here is the block diagram for the ASUS Z170 Deluxe motherboard that shows how everything is connected to the Skylake-S CPU and the Z170 Chipset! The I/O panel on the ASUS Z170 Deluxe has no shortage of USB ports as there are 16 on this board (Six USB 3.1 on the back, Four USB 3.0 internal, Four USB 2.0 internal and one there are also one USB 3.0 & 2.0 port on the back panel) Of the six SuperSpeed+ USB 3.1 ports are back there, five are USB 3.1 Type-A ports and one is a USB 3.1 Type-C port. You won't find any PS/2 port for a keyboard or mouse on this board, but you have DisplayPort/HDMI video outputs along with two Gigabit Ethernet (Intel I219-V and Intel I211-AT), WiFi Go! (802.11AC with Bluetooth 4.0), six 3.5mm audio jacks (Realtek ALC1150 with Crystal Sound 3) and the optical SPDIF out. The ASUS Z170 Deluxe features an impressive 16 + 4 phase digital power design, you can see the various chokes hiding under the edge of the heatsink assembly. The first 16 phases are for the Intel Skylake-S CPU while the '+ 4' are for the iGPU. Powering the DRAM is a two phase digital power design with the ASUS DRAM Power Utility. The ASUS Z170 Deluxe motherboard is rumored to be among the few that will support DDR4 memory speeds in excess of 3600MHz from day 1! Officially though, the ASUS Z170 is rated for as high as 3466MHz (O.C.). Off to the right of the DDR4 DIMM slots, there is a pair of 4pin fan headers (white) as well as another pair (black) just to the left of the memory latches (one above the DIMMs one below). Just to the left of the motherboard screw hole, you can see the MemOK! button, this will help to sort out any memory compatibility issue you may run into. Fortunately, ASUS has a pretty solid track record of memory compatibility. To the left of the 24-pin motherboard power is the first of two internal SuperSpeed USB 3.0 headers. The ASUS Z170 Deluxe has three PCIe X16 slots and is capable of running 3-way NVIDIA SLI or 3-way AMD rossFireX multi-GPU configurations. If one GPU is installed the primary x16 slot runs at x16, but with two installed the primary and secondary slot both run at x8 speeds. The third PCIe x16 slot runs off the Z170 PCH and is default set to run at x2 mode although it h as the ability to run at x4 mode if you wanted to enable that in the UEFI. If you enable that you'll disable SATA 5/6 as that is that is what those lanes are being shared with. A properly setup triple video card setup will run at x8/x8/x4 and you'll disable two of the eight SATA III ports to enable this. There are four PCIe 2.0 x1 slots also located on the board for accessory devices that run off a PCIe bridge chip that also runs the boards 802.11ac wireless card that is ultimately connected to the Z170 PCH as well. The ASUS Z170 deluxe has a total of eight SATA III ports which are all controlled by the Intel X99 chipset. Six are regular SATA ports and two make up part of the SATA Express port. All of the SATA ports are native to the Intel Z170 chipset. The ASUS Z170 Deluxe has one M.2 socket 3 with M Key located directly on the board and it supports supports type 2242/2260/2280/22110 drives and both SATA III (6G) as well as PCIe 3.0 x4 SSDs. This is one of the few Z170 boards on the market today that support 110mm length M.2 solutions that are expected to become more popular in the months and years ahead with the introduction of higher capacity drives. ASUS Supports NVMe U.2 devices with an add-in module and the included ASUS Hyper M.2 Mini PCIe x4 add-in card. We hope to have a review on this board shortly, but we just wanted to give you a quick overview of the board that we'll be doing testing on. Let's take a closer look at the overall test system and move along to the benchmarks!
Intel Z170 Test System For SkylakeBefore we look at the numbers, let's take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. These platforms are aimed at mainstream users and all feature integrated graphics, so it will be interesting to see how the systems compare. We will use an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti reference card for discrete gaming performance tests. Intel Z170 Test Platform: The Intel Z170 platform that we used to test the Intel 1151 processors was running the ASUS Z170 Deluxe motherboard with BIOS 0603 that came out on 07/30/2015. The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 2666 MHz DDR4 dual channel memory kit was set to XMP 2.0 memory profile settings, which is 1.20v with 15-15-15-36 1T memory timings. The Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD uses 19nm NAND and was using M311 firmware. Intel Z97 Test Platform: The Intel Z97 platform that we used to test the Intel 1150 processors was running the ASUS Z97-A motherboard with BIOS 2401 that came out on 04/24/2015. The Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB 2133MHz memory kit was set to XMP 1.3 memory profile settings, which is 1.65v with 9-11-11-31 1T memory timings. The Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD uses 19nm NAND and was using M311 firmware.
|Intel LGA1150 Test Platform|
Intel Pentium G3258
|ASUS Z97-A||Click Here|
|8GB Dominator 2133MHz||Click Here|
|Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD||Click Here|
|Corsair H105||Click Here|
|Corsair K95||Click Here|
|Corsair M95||Click Here|
|Corsair AX860i||Click Here|
|Windows 8.1 64-Bit||Click Here|
Intel Core i7-6700K Processor Overclocking
Out of the retail box and installed into any Z170 motherboard the Intel Core i7-6700K is capable of hitting 4.2 GHz by default thanks to the Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 as shown above.
We overclocked the Intel Core i7-6700K processor by simply increasing the multiplier and raising the core voltage on the processor when needed. By just raising the multiplier we were able to get to 4.6 GHz at 1.350V on the core before the system would crash in very CPU intensive benchmarks or tasks. For example our 1080p Handbrake encode would lock up at 90-95% at 4.7 GHz at 1.5V, which is the highest we felt comfortable taking this processor as temperatures would reach 98C even with the Corsair H105 water cooler installed.
With the Intel Core i7-6700K processor running 4.6GHz we were able to score 1013 on the CPU test in Cinebench. We got a score of 931 stock, so this is a nice 8.8% performance gain from this 600MHz clock frequency boost over the base clock that equates to a 15% overclock. All of the performance charts in the review show the Intel Core i7-6700K at both stock and overclocked (4.6GHz), so please reference those in the pages ahead to see how the chip performs in a wider variety of benchmarks.
With the Intel Core i7-6700K running at 4.6 GHz with 1.35V to the core we hit 83C on the Corsair Hydro Series H105 CPU Water Cooler that we were using on the test bench.
After talking to Intel and ASUS about our overclock they urged us to overclock with a discrete video card in our system as that should help remove some of the things running on the CPU to allow for higher frequency gains to be had. We found that we could get 4.7 GHz stable with a discrete video card in the system, but needed to set the core voltage to 1.45V.
In Handbrake we were able finish our 1080p workload on the Intel Core i7-6700K 8.9% faster with this overclock than at stock speeds, so it looks like you can get just shy of a 10% performance gain by overclocking this particular processor. No two processors are identical though, so just use these results as a rough estimate of what to expect.
Running the Intel Core i7-6700K processor at 4.7 GHz was nice, but when running a heavy CPU load the temperatures were in the low 90C range and peaked at 96C. This is a little warmer than we'd want to run a 24/7 overclock on a water cooled system, but shows that an All-In-One water cooler like the Corsair Hydro H105 is able to keep Intel's new flagship cool and get you in the 4.6 to 4.7 GHz range without experiencing any throttling.
Let's see how the Intel Core i7-6700K Skylake processor performs at both stock speeds and at 4.6GHz!
SiSoftware Sandra 2015 SP2
The Sisoft Sandra 2015 SP2 benchmark utility measures pretty much all of your system components, but we'll be using it to focus on memory and CPU performance! As you can see from our memory testing chart above all the processors with dual channel memory kits perform roughly the same since we are using the same Corsair 2133MHz DDR3 memory kit. For the new Intel Core i7-6700K Processor and the Z170 platform we used a Corsair kit of DDR4 memory running at 2666MHz with CL15 timings and a 1T command rate. You can clearly see the improvements gained from the new memory controller combined with DDR4 memory. Memory bandwidth on the 6700K was 32 GB/s at default clock speeds and then 32.5 GB/s when overclocked to 4.6GHz. We didn't expect any change on the memory bandwidth when we overclocked this processor as we just raised the multiplier and didn't touch the base clock or memory divider to alter the effective memory clock frequency. UPDATE 08/06/2015: Check out our DDR4 memory scaling article on Z170 as we look at performance from DDR4-2133 all the way up to DDR4-3866 on this identical platform! The Intel Core i7-5775C scored 353.82 MPixels/s in stock form and that jumped up by 8.1% to 382.31 MPixels/s when overclocked to 4.6 GHz on all cores. With the processor overclocked it was able to perform faster than a stock Intel Core i7-5960X and this was the only benchmark that we ran where the overclocked 6700K was able to beat the mighty 5960X! Results: The Intel Core i7-6700K scored 10.0 GB/s for this AES benchmark test, which is really good and that score improved to 10.33 GB/s when the 6700K was overclocked. Results: In the Sandra 2015 SP2 CPU Arithmetic Benchmark the Intel Core i7-6700K Skylake processor scored 140.88 GOPS in stock form and when overclocked we were able to get 155.62 GOPS. This is an improvement of 10.5% due to the overclock. It looks like the Intel Core i7-6700K is off to a strong start!
x264 HD Encoding
Euler3d CFD BenchmarkNext up is the STARS Euler3d CFD benchmark. The benchmark is intended to provide information about the relative speed of different processor, operating system, and compiler combinations for a multi-threaded, floating point, computationally intensive CFD code. The benchmark test case is the AGARD 445.6 aeroelastic test wing. The wing uses a NACA 65A004 airfoil section and has a panel aspect ratio of 1.65, a taper ratio of 0.66, and a 45 degree quarter-chord sweep angle. This AGARD wing was tested at the NASA Langley Research Center in the 16-foot Transonic Dynamics Tunnel and is a standard aeroelastic test case used for validation of unsteady, compressible CFD codes.
HandbrakeHandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows. It is popular today as it allows you to transcode multiple input video formats to h.264 output format and is highly multithreaded.
PCMark 8We ran the PCMark 8 Home benchmark, which includes workloads that reflect common tasks for a typical home user. These workloads have low computational requirements making PCMark 8 Home suitable for testing the performance of low-cost tablets, notebooks and desktops. Home includes workloads for web browsing, writing, gaming, photo editing, and video chat. The results are combined to give a PCMark 8 Home score for your system. PCMark 8 Home Accelerated Test Results:
|Web Browsing - JunglePin||0.315s||0.353s||0.351s||0.310s||0.310s||0.305s||0.310s|
|Web Browsing - Amazonia||0.134s||0.139s||0.139s||0.134s||0.134s||0.133s||0.134s|
|Photo Editing V2||0.704s||0.331s||0.304s||0.350s||.321s||0.128s||0.236s|
|Video Chat Playback||30 fps||30 fps||30 fps||30 fps||30 fps||30 fps||30 fps|
|Video Chat Encoding||133.3ms||49.7ms||37.7ms||48.0ms||43.0ms||37.0ms||42.0ms|
|Casual Gaming||23.0 fps||34.8 fps||35.1 fps||35.9 fps||36.4 fps||67.1 fps||51.5 fps|
POV-Ray 3.7Processor Performance on Pov-Ray 3.7: The Persistence of Vision Ray-Tracer was developed from DKBTrace 2.12 (written by David K. Buck and Aaron A. Collins) by a bunch of people (called the POV-Team) in their spare time. It is a high-quality, totally free tool for creating stunning three-dimensional graphics. It is available in official versions for Windows, Mac OS/Mac OS X and i86 Linux. The POV-Ray package includes detailed instructions on using the ray-tracer and creating scenes. Many stunning scenes are included with POV-Ray so you can start creating images immediately when you get the package. These scenes can be modified so you do not have to start from scratch. In addition to the pre-defined scenes, a large library of pre-defined shapes and materials is provided. You can include these shapes and materials in your own scenes by just including the library file name at the top of your scene file and by using the shape or material name in your scene. Since this is free software feel free to download this version and try it out on your own. The most significant change from the end-user point of view between versions 3.6 and 3.7 is the addition of SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) support, which, in a nutshell, allows the renderer to run on as many CPU's as you have installed on your computer. This will be particularly useful for those users who intend on purchasing a dual-core CPU or who already have a two (or more) processor machine. On a two-CPU system the rendering speed in some scenes almost doubles. For our benchmarking we used version 3.7 RC5, which is the most recent version available. The benchmark used all available cores to their fullest extent to complete the render.
Once rendering on the object we selected was completed, we took the elapsed time from the dialog box, which indicates the exact time it took for the benchmark to finish the benchmark and a score in PPS. We are using the final CPU score for our benchmarks and a higher value indicates faster system performance.
MAXON; CINEBENCH R15:MAXON CINEBENCH Release 15 is an advanced hardware testing suite that assesses a computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on the same powerful technology as MAXON's award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more. The new version of CINEBENCH includes the ability to more accurately test the industry’s latest hardware, including systems with up to 64 processor threads, and the testing environment better reflects the expectations of today’s production demands. A more streamlined interface makes testing systems and reading results incredibly straightforward. Again, higher Frames/Second and point score equal better performance.
Cinebench R15 was able to put a 100% load across all the cores on all of the processors, which makes this a great benchmark to look at multi-core platforms. Benchmark Results: When it comes to OpenGL graphics performance the Intel Core i7-5775C Broadwell processor with Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 dominated the other processors in the OpenGL Benchmark by a mile. The 5775C has 128MB of eDRAM and it really does help the graphics performance. The Intel Core i7-6700K with Intel HD Graphics 530 is no slouch though as we got 54 FPS and that is faster than the AMD A10-7870K Kaveri Refresh processor that just came out this summer. It's also a big improvement over Haswell that was back in the 36-38 FPS range. For those that are wondering why we don't have Intel Core i7 2700K results, it is because the Intel HD 3000 graphics on that processor are not supported by the OpenGL benchmark. Benchmark Results: The sixth generation Intel Core i7-6700K processor scored 931 points when using all of the available cores and had a score of 183 on just one. With the Intel Core i7-6700K Skylake processor overclocked the multi processor test score went up to 1013 and the single processor score jumped up to 199! This put the multi-CPU performance of the 6700K just below the 4960X!
TrueCryptTrueCrypt is sort of discontinued, but it was once a widely available freeware utility used for on-the-fly encryption (OTFE). It can create a virtual encrypted disk within a file or encrypt a partition or (under Microsoft Windows except Windows 8 with GPT) the entire storage device (pre-boot authentication). On 28 May 2014, the TrueCrypt website announced that the project was no longer maintained and recommended users to find alternate solutions. Since that announcement was made Thomas Bruderer and Joseph Doekbrijder have stepped forward with plans to revive the project through the truecrypt.ch site, which is offering downloads of TrueCrypt 7.1a – which can encrypt and decrypt data, and was the latest version prior to 7.2. We are using the benchmark built-in TrueCrypt 7.1a with default settings to figure out the mean AES speed for each of the processors being tested with a 50MB buffer size. Benchmark Results: The Intel Core i7-6700K does well on the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) benchmark test and scored 5.2 GB/s in stock form and 5.7 GB/s when overclocked up to 4.6GHz. Despite being having a 200MHz lower Turbo Clock speed we found the 6700K has the same level of performance as the Intel Core i7-4790K at stock speeds.
3DMark 2013 w/ Integrated Graphics
Futuremark 3DMark has three primary benchmark tests that you can run and which test you should be running depends on the system that you are benchmarking on.
- Ice Storm - For mobile devices and entry-level PCs
- Cloud Gate - For notebooks and home PCs
- Fire Strike - For gaming PCs (extreme mode for those with multiple GPUs)
Metro Last Light w/ Integrated Graphics
Metro: Last Light is a first-person shooter video game developed by Ukrainian studio 4A Games and published by Deep Silver. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world and features action-oriented gameplay with a combination of survival horror elements. It uses the 4A Game engine and was released in May 2013. Metro: Last Light was benchmarked with low image quality settings with the SSAA set to off, Tesselation disabled and and 4x AF. We used the game titles built-in benchmark (seen above) and ran it 3 times at each screen resolution to ensure accurate results. Benchmark Results: In Metro: Last Light at Metro Last Light at 1920x1080 with low image quality settings the Intel Core i7-6700K was 56.7% faster than the Intel Core i7-4790K with respect to the average frame rate. Overclocking the processor helped improve the average FPS by a single frame, but you can easily improve that by overclocking the GPU clock, which is something we didn't do in this review.
Metro Last Light w/ GeForce GTX 780 Ti
Metro: Last Light is a first-person shooter video game developed by Ukrainian studio 4A Games and published by Deep Silver. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world and features action-oriented gameplay with a combination of survival horror elements. It uses the 4A Game engine and was released in May 2013. Metro: Last Light was benchmarked with very high image quality settings with the SSAA set to off, Tesselation on normal and 4x AF. We used the game titles built-in benchmark (seen above) and ran it 3 times at each screen resolution to ensure accurate results. Benchmark Results: In Metro: Last Light with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti discrete desktop graphics card installed in the system we found a rather small difference between the Intel Core i7-4770K, 4790K, 5775C and 6700K processors over the past three CPU generations from Intel.
Intel Core i7-6700K CPU Temperature TestingIntel no longer comments on the Thermal Interface Material (TIM) material that they use on processors, but we are confident in saying that it would be safe to assume the Intel Core i7-6700K processors use Next-Generation Polymer Thermal Interface Material (NGPTIM). The lid isn't soldered down like it once was, but at least Intel is using their best TIM on this processor! We used the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility v220.127.116.11 to monitor the temperatures on our Z170 test system with the Corsair H105 water cooler along with Gelid Extreme Thermal Compound. The Intel Core i7-6700K processor sitting on the desktop had a package temperature of 26C and the voltage was set to 0.7580V. This is a great idle temperature as the room temperature was 24C. When we ran a run of Handbrake and found that the processor temperature topped out at 65C and the voltage jumped up to 1.2240V during this workload. The recovery time after the workload finished was the fastest we've ever seen as we literally went from running at 63-64C for a period of 10 minutes down to 30C in just a couple seconds. The one oddity that we noticed is that Core 2 was running 10-14C hotter than the other cores when the processor was under load and it was also 1-3C hotter at idle. In stock form the Intel Core i7-6700K has different Voltages for each core and they are dynamic. When you overclock or manually set the voltage you override that parameter and all the cores are set to the same voltage. Even after manually setting the voltage to 1.35V on the core we were still seeing a 11-17C temperature difference between the core 2 and the others. We'll have to ask Intel if there is any reason to that!
Power ConsumptionPower efficiency remains important to PC users and Intel and AMD have both made great strides to improve power efficiency. There are nearly a dozen processors in our power chart, but keep in mind some of the TDP's of the processors:
- Intel Pentium G3258 - 53 Watts
- AMD A10-7800 - 65W
- Intel Core i7-5775C - 65W
- Intel Core i7-3770K - 77W
- Intel Core i7-4770K - 84W
- Intel Core i7-4970K - 88W
- Intel Core i7-6700K - 91W
- Intel Core i7-2700K - 95W
Final Thoughts and ConclusionsEnthusiasts have been waiting for Intel 6th Generation Core Skylake processors for years and it's hard to believe that it is finally here. There are a number of people out there with Sandy Bridge or older platforms that are getting the upgrade itch and have been waiting for the LGA1151 platform to come out with DDR4 memory support before upgrading all of their hardware. It also happens to be the perfect time to update as Windows 10 is out now and DirectX 12 should help bring noticeable improvements for game titles for years to come. We need to wait for DX12 game titles to come out before we can see just how big the differences are. Chances are also good if you are running a Sandy Bridge system that you aren't running an SSD and using a traditional hard drive. If you are still hanging onto an old system and went from that to an Intel Skylake processor with the Z170 chipset along with an SSD and Windows 10 you'll be seeing a dramatic difference in performance. Our benchmark tests showed our performance in Handbrake with a 1080p clip improved by 45% when we went from the Intel Core i7-2700K (3.5GHz base) to the Core i7-6700K (4.0GHz base), so when you start seeing performance changes like that you'll get some people wanting to update finally! UPDATE 08/06/2015: Check out our DDR4 memory scaling article on Z170 as we look at performance from DDR4-2133 all the way up to DDR4-3866 on this test platform! Weeks ago we started to hear rumors that you can get 5GHz with air cooling on Skylake and we were excited to hear that overclocking was back! Closer to launch we were told by the board makers that about 50% of the processors they got were 100% stable at 4.6-4.7GHz and that a handful of samples were capable of being overclocked to 4.8GHz with full stability. We feel that we got an average 6700K CPU as we were able to get 4600MHz stable with 1.35V on integrated graphics and hit a wall and could get 4700MHz stable even with an aggressive core voltage of 1.5V. With a discrete video card added to the system we were able to get the overclock up to 4700MHz with 1.45V. The beefy Corsair H105 did a great job keeping the 6700K temperatures under control, but at 4700MHz with 1.45V we were getting close to the 100C throttle temperature and we wouldn't want our load temps to be above 90C at load for a 24/7 overclock. You can overclock the cache, but there is a very limited performance gain from that. So, the Intel Skylake K-Sku processor looks like it has pretty good overclocking results, but expect something in the 4.6-4.7GHz range! When it comes to gaming performance we saw nice performance gains over Haswell and wanted to include more gaming benchmarks for you. We installed several newer game titles like Grand Theft Auto V and ran into some issues straight away. For example GTAV with the latest Intel Skylake GPU drivers wouldn't run (10.18.15.4248) and would crash seconds after starting the game. Intel has been really beefing up their graphics core and gaming on the Intel integrated graphics has never been better, but it's becoming evident that they need to make improvements on the drivers and to ensure they are able to support game titles on launch day. Intel has been releasing quarterly graphics drivers for a number of years now, but quarterly drivers might prove to be not often enough. At the end of the day the Intel Core i7-6700K Skylake processor and the Intel Z170 chipset appear to be pretty solid and the performance on most CPU intensive tasks. Gamers looking for huge gaming performance difference might find it disappointing that the discrete gaming performance on Haswell, Broadwell and Skylake is basically identical, but it's been like that for 3+ generations now. If you were looking to build a new mainstream PC today and wanted to go with latest platform to ensure the best future compatibility with upcoming devices this is certainly the platform to build on. The Intel Core i7-6700K at a suggested retail price of $350 also won't break the bank and the Intel Z170 motherboards should be priced around the same as Z97 when they were first introduced. We'll have more Skylake coverage in the days to come and hope to hear all the architecture details later this month at IDF 2015! It's very unusual for Intel to launch a processor and not give any specifics on the architecture or even just the number of Execution Units on the graphics processor!
Legit Bottom Line: The Intel Core i7-6700K Skylake processor is a very capable processor that has respectable performance at stock speeds and was able to overclock up to 4.7GHz and turn in some rather impressive benchmark numbers!